Salvaging Beads From Thrift Store Finds

I recently purchased a tank top sweater with beaded fringe around the bottom edge at a local thrift store for $3.75. When I got home and carefully inspected it, I noticed that two strands of the beads were missing. Being the frugal person I am, I decided to remove the beaded fringe and make jewelry from the beads to match the sweater. There were enough beads to create a necklace, bracelet and earrings, and I even had beads leftover for another project. Now I have a cute sweater with matching accessories all for about six bucks and two hours of my time.

By Mom of 1 from Wilkesboro, NC

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April 9, 20080 found this helpful

Hey, that's a great tip! I'll be watching for anything beaded after this, as I've seen beaded sofa pillows, lampshades, sweaters, etc... sold for next to nothing at yard sales because they had slight damage. Don't know why I didn't think to buy them for the beads at the time, DUH... what was I thinking. Thanks for the nifty idea!

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April 9, 20080 found this helpful

That's a great tip! I'm going to pass it along to a beading friend of mine. I will be paying better attention to the beaded items I see at garage sales!

Debbie in IL

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April 9, 20080 found this helpful

By the way, your jewelry creations are quite pretty!

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April 9, 20080 found this helpful

Where did you learn to make the necklace and accessories? Very nice!

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April 9, 20080 found this helpful

I've done that with a pair of slippers that had a lovely pattern in iridescent beads. The slippers were past saving, but I removed the beads so I could use them in another project. I also remove buttons from shirts or pants that are ready for the rag bag.

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April 9, 20080 found this helpful

Look out, Martha Stewart! This girl's got it going on in accessorizing! Awesome lookin' jewelry girl!

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April 9, 20080 found this helpful

The jewelry you made is very pretty!

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April 9, 20080 found this helpful

Beautiful necklace, when I go to thrift stores I look for necklaces or bracelets that have pretty beads in them and I bring them home and take them apart and use the beads with my findings and make something more to my taste. Love the necklace.

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April 10, 20080 found this helpful

You go girl! Absolutely gorgeous. I am a thrift store junky and love you tip. Any way you could post directions?

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October 3, 20090 found this helpful

You can do the same with beads if you find a lampshade you like but it has damage. {I have been buying thrift store/yard sale beaded necklaces for years and redesigning my own things.} Don't forget you can also use the pretty parts of single earrings, etc as the centerpiece for beaded projects.

Use graph paper and draw your design {or you can print from the web, etc onto graph paper} and select your colors; now tape the graph paper around the lampshade and poke holes with a small sewing needle where the beads will go.

If you can freehand that's great, but if you can't...just use some graphite paper or even colored tracing paper that you use for marking darts, etc. on sewing projects {place UNDER your design} and trace your design with a chipstick or orange stick onto the shade, then use your graph paper as a template for the color of the beads and sew them on the shade.

When buying graph paper look for the paper that has 2 different size boxes, you will want to use the smaller boxes for patterns made with seed beads and the larger boxes for "E" or pony beads.

You can do the same thing with a lampshade frame, just string a full line vertically of the bead pattern and then attach it to the frame at the top and if there is a second metal frame going around the middle attach there also; it comes out sort of like stained glass and you can match it to the decor of your room. {these make great special gifts}

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November 26, 20150 found this helpful

I love your tip. I do the same with clothes as well as purse.

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