I have been making rings like mad lately.
I don’t know why I never thought of this before, but what a great way to use up leftover beads: make some funky little cocktail-style rings with them! There are many affordable add-a-bead type ring bases on the market that you can purchase. These are silver-plated with an adjustable base. I love that they work up quickly and the end result is very cool!
It is a lot of fun to see what patterns emerge when you mix and match different beads. Wrapping them tightly in wire to finish them off makes a nice solid design…the shape is somewhat of a mystery until you finish wrapping.
I especially enjoy using different shapes. The end result is even more intriguing than your usual round bead.
Using up the mishmash of chip beads is by far my favourite material. The beads lay together tightly once wrapped & the colours of the stones blend together very well.
In fact the chip bead rings inspired a new limited edition collection I will be unveiling really soon…:)
Check out my orphan bead project: zipper pulls. 🙂
This particular project is combining orphan beads with an excess of nickel lobster clasps. I upgraded to sterling silver lobster clasps sometime ago so I have a wholesale lot of nickel ones sitting around gathering dust.
So applying the same inspirational principle as the key chains and bookmarks, I came up with this zipper pull simply because the metal pull on my girls’ lunch box snapped off.
It gives a nice touch to the usually boring lunch box. I think these would make cute little gifts for jackets, purses & bags, children’s shoes or even as cell phone charms. Since they are on the lobster clasp, you can easily change the pull to another style as the mood desires. I can see my girls having a lot of fun with these when they get older.
Another great way to use up leftover beads is to adorn bookmarks. Bookmark bases come in a variety of shapes & sizes and best of all are readily available at most bead supply stores – many exist on Etsy. Or, you can buy leather cord and make beaded leather book thongs, also an affordable idea.
I like to include a bookmark in a birthday or Christmas card or if I am giving a book as a gift to personalize it even more.
To make them extra special I acquired some inexpensive word charms to make them an inspirational keepsake.
I also find it easier if I have some inexpensive findings on hand, rather than dipping into my main batch of findings for my jewelry work. I am always on the look out for wholesale closeouts & sales so that I can acquire a large lot of findings cheaply.
Here you see pewter bead caps which I acquired at wholesale & on sale. Buy a large amount to get the best price, and then store them away for these type of mini projects. These bead caps are pewter & have a nice weight to them…and only cost a few pennies a piece.
Check out my orphan bead project idea: Hair Accessories
After 12+ years of jewelry making, I have a lot of beads without a home. Meaning, they are leftovers from past projects – from one to a handful – that I just don’t know what to do with. So when I opened my Etsy Shop, I decided to challenge myself to come up with designs using just the orphans & leftovers. 🙂
I am starting a blog series of quick & easy projects that can be done with leftover beads. I hope this helps kick start your creativity and for you beaders, gives you some inspiration as to what to do with those excess supplies.
The main key to these projects is making sure you have an excess of supplies that can be paired with your beads. So I always have on hand inexpensive ring bases, bead caps, hair pins, etc. that can be adorned with beads.
For idea #1, I give you the hairpin/barrette.
Having two little girls – who both were born with a lot of hair – is my inspiration for this project. I started decorating hair pins and barrettes for Sophie when she was 5 months old. She had quite a bit of hair to begin with, and the bangs were growing fast! I found these were a great way to use up the small lots of leftover beads.
I found out one day, that these hair pins also make great bookmarks! I needed to mark my page in a book, and one just happened to be lying around close by. And voila: dual purposed hair pin/bookmark. 🙂
Besides the hair pins I also like to acquire some of the long metal barrettes to bead on:
Other ideas: bead head bands, hair elastics & hair combs. Hair accessories are an affordable supply to keep around for such projects. They are available practically everywhere. I am always picking them up on sale at local department stores or pharmacies. They are even sold these days at you local Dollar Store. 🙂