Even non-artists can be artists with beads


I’ve never been an artistic person. I’ve tried to draw, and it usually ends up looking terrible. I’m not even sure terrible is a descriptive enough word. It’s a good thing abstract art exists so I can pretend it is supposed to look lopsided. I’ve also tried canvas painting. That was the worst yet. So, to reiterate: I am not artistic.

But, one evening as I was cruising Pinterest, I saw a new kind of art using Mardi Gras beads to form different shapes and designs inside of a picture frame.

I figured I’d give it a whirl since it didn’t involve me drawing anything too difficult. I went to the dollar store and loaded up on purple, red, pink, green, blue, gold and orange beads. Since it was the dollar store I could get about 24 necklaces for $3, so score. I picked up my frame at Hobby Lobby, but the dollar store also has frames that will work just fine if you want to keep the cost down. You’ll also need a hot glue gun and a good pair of scissors for this project.

Once you have your materials, take the glass panel out of the frame and replace the backing. Discard the glass into a recycling bin. Then, draw the design you want with a pencil so you’ll have a rough estimate of where to glue the beads. I only drew the outline of the flower on my project and let the beads lead the rest of the way.

Once you have a design drawn, it’s time for your patience to kick in. Strand by strand, glue the beads down onto the picture frame backing. But before you squeeze the glue to the backing, lay the beads down to measure how long each needs to be. Then cut the right length and glue those down. If there’s a tight space that needs to be filled, just take one bead at a time and place them in the empty hole. It’s okay if not all the beads lay flat. When I was finished with mine, I actually went back and scattered beads on top of and in between the other strands to add a bit of dimension.

As you’re making this, the glue will probably get a little stringy. This is OK. If there are random strands of glue on the picture you can always pull them off once it is dry. If you have trouble grabbing the strands, use a toothpick or the tip of a pencil to lift them to pull them off easier.

Because I used an 11-by-9-inch frame, it took about five or six hours from start to finish. Smaller frames would have not taken nearly as long, but the completed product was worth it. It’s the one art project that didn’t end up with me wanting to throw it out the window.