Rolled Fabric Bead Making
I have been making paper beads since around October 1996 and through the years never really thought about making beads with fabric. I did come across some people on the internet that were making beads with fabric but it never really interested me until I started making bead sheets with newspaper and tissue paper glued together to make a useable bead sheet. Allthough I liked the results of the tissue paper fused to the newspaper, the beads always ended up looking a little dark and cloudy to me. Not only that, the process had it's drawbacks.
The way I made the bead sheets with tissue paper and newspaper was to use the wasted drips from drying paper beads to fuse them together, I just let the glaze drip onto the newspaper that had tissue paper pieces on top of them. I would lay the whole piece of newspaper (about 9"x11" ) below the bead drying rack, dip my beads and hang them up and let the glaze drip on the paper, then I would lay torn pieces of colorful tissue paper on top of the dripped glaze after I spread out the glaze with my fingers. It was actually kind of a tedious process and messy as well. The result was not always the same. When I would cut the paper into strips and rolled them up, they didn't always roll easily. The layers would sometimes come apart where the glaze didn't completely saturate the papers. There were bare spots. There had to be a better way.
Then I had a Thought!
One day, as I was going through some of my fabric scraps and fat quarters I bought at Wal-Mart, for other projects I never got to, I thought, perhaps, if I cut these pieces of fabric into more managable sized sheets, lets say, 9x12 inches or slightly less, I could lay them under my bead drying rack instead of the tissue paper and newspaper. Much easier and more colorful! Maybe even more fun! I also thought, I am not limited to using just fat quarters and scraps of cotton fabric I have in my stash. I can use any fabric from old clothes that may have stains or tears in them. I haven't tried any other type of fabric except for cotton but I would imagine that any fabric that can absorb the glaze would probably work as long as it is thin enough to fit inside the paper bead rollers I have.
So I tried it and here is what I did!