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Recycled Wool Sweater Beads

By: Rebecca E. Parsons

Use an old wool sweater to create this fantastic recycled craft idea! Recycled Wool Sweater Beads from Rebecca Parsons look great as part of a necklace.

Recycled Wool Sweater Beads


  • An old wool sweater
  • Scissors
  • Fabric glue
  • Cotton swabs on a plastic stick (important that they be plastic with a hole through the middle)
  • Wooden chopstick
  • Embroidery floss
  • Clear beading thread
  • Gold thread if desired
  • Beading needle (sharp)
  • Assorted beads
  • Bowl for water


  1. To felt, I washed the sweater in hot water and dried it on high in the dryer.
  2. I cut the sleeve off of the sweater. Following the stripe patterns, I cut strips of the felt.
  3. I then cut the strips into 1″ and 1-1/2″ sections.
  4. For the long beads, I lightly applied fabric glue to the inside of the felt piece.
  5. I quickly rolled the 1-1/2″ felt pieces around a inexpensive plastic cotton swab. I do this for 3 reasons: it gives stability to the bead, allows me to have something to run the wire or thread through, and gives me something to hold on to as I later apply small beads to the felt bead.
  6. I secured them with embroidery floss in a coordinating color. I wrapped and tied the embroidery floss around the beads tightly while the glue dries.

    Recycled Wool Sweater Beads
  7. I squeezed them tightly to make sure the glue was well integrated in the fibers.
  8. For larger beads, I rolled damp 1″ felt piece around a bamboo chopstick.

    Recycled Wool Sweater Beads
  9. I allowed them to dry like this overnight so they wold form the round shape.
  10. For the felt ball beads, I took the trimmings and odd bits and placed them in a bowl of water.

    Recycled Wool Sweater Beads
  11. This is the messy fun part: I squeezed a dime size dollop of glue into my palm and put some of the damp (not dripping wet) felt bit in my palm and coated them.

    Recycled Wool Sweater Beads
  12. I then rolled my palms together in a circular movement squeezing to compress the fibers and shape them into a ball. You can use more glue if you want. Experiment until you find what works for you. It took me a few minutes to create a well-compressed and round bead. So be patient.

    Recycled Wool Sweater Beads
  13. Then I let them dry overnight.

    Recycled Wool Sweater Beads
  14. To my great joy, the beads held together through the night. I could now decorate them.

    Recycled Wool Sweater Beads
  15. I used clear beading thread to sew the long ends of the large beads from the bamboo chopstick together. I also ran the needle through some seed beads while I was stitching the ends together.
  16. I then wrapped gold thread around the long beads because I thought they needed something to make them shine. I wrapped it around the seed beads randomly. I tied and trimmed the ends of the thread leaving the ends of the thread and floss to add texture.

    Recycled Wool Sweater Beads
  17. I also left some of the beads wrapped with floss to make some contrast.

    Recycled Wool Sweater Beads
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That is awesome, I love it, I am looking up recycled crafts to sell at a craft sale in the spring, this will go along with my "recycled Chic" thyme. Plus it will make great use of my scrapes from some of my other projects, thanks so much for sharing.


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