How to Use Up Leftover Beads

For almost every project I've ever made, I wind up with a small pile or two of leftover beads.  If you find yourself accumulating lots and lots of tiny little plastic bags or boxes that only have a few beads left in them, here are some ideas for you to use them up.

  • 01 of 06

    Make Some Bead Soup

    Almost everybody I know loves bead soup.  What is it?  Bead soup is just a mixture of related (or random) beads, thrown into a large container.  You can make soup by pouring leftover beads into a small jelly jar or a medium sized plastic bag.  When you need a great variety of beads for a project, you can just take a scoop of soup and get beading!  You can also choose to color-coordinate your bead soup - keep one jelly jar for each color: red, blue, orange, green, yellow, black/white and brown!

    Whe...MOREn you make your bead soup, anything goes - toss in pressed glass beads, seed beads, bugle beads or pearls and gemstones.

    Beaded jewelry made from bead soup is easy and fun to make!

  • 02 of 06

    Make a Bead Mix

    I love using Delica beads, but when I get them from a kit, I always end up with just a few beads of each color left over.  One of the things I like to do is similar to making bead soup - I'll combine the leftover Delica beads and make a bead mix. 

    A bead mix is different from bead soup in that it usually only includes seed beads.  Bead mixes are great for bead crocheted ropes and other projects where you need a lot of seed beads in lots of different colors.

  • 03 of 06

    Trade Your Leftover Beads in a Swap

    Something else I like to do with my leftover beads is trade them with my friends.  Sometimes, I'll find myself with just a few gemstone beads or seed beads, and I'll offer them for trade with someone who has another bead that I might need.  You can arrange your own trade through a beading message board online or at your local bead shop.

  • 04 of 06
    Earrings are a great way to use up leftover beads. Since earrings don't usually need a lot of beads to make, you can whip up a great pair in no time with your leftover beads. An added benefit is that beaded earrings make great last-minute gifts for friends and family.
    Continue to 5 of 6 below.
  • 05 of 06
    If you have a friend who wants to learn how to bead, why not put together a beading kit for them and include a few bags or tubes of your leftover beads? Giving your leftover beads away to a friend who wants to get started beading is a great way to get someone else started in beadwork and will help them start their own bead stash! (And you never know - they might return the favor.)
  • 06 of 06

    Other Ideas for Using Leftover Beads

    • Donate them - schools, churches and arts organizations might be able to use a small box or two of beads for their art classes.
    • Have a giveaway - if you have a blog, hold a giveaway and use the beads as a prize
    • Make a bead repair kit - this is an idea that is recommended by Marcia DeCoster.  Put together a small set of beads for each project you make, label it, and keep it in a safe place.  This way, if you have to make repairs to any project, you'll have a set right there that you can use.
    • Use...MORE them to learn a new stitch or technique - use leftover beads to make small samples or swatches of new beading stitches.
    • Fringe - use lots of different beads to make some wild and funky fringe!