Recently, I was shopping at San Francisco’s General Bead store, where I picked up a ready-to-wear necklace cord made from a delicate woven nylon tube. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it, but for fifty cents, I decided it would be fun to experiment with it.

Back at home, I wondered if I could create a felted bead directly on the cord.  When making felted beads in the past, I have needle felted the fiber into a round ball, soaked it, and then rolled it between my palms to create a sphere. Would the cord prevent me from rolling the felt into a ball? Would the cord collapse if I needle felted the fiber directly into it? I wasn’t sure, but decided to give it a try.

Step 1: I assembled my materials:

Photo of my materials

Step 2: I pulled off about 6 inches of roving:

Photo of pulling off the roving

Step 3: I knotted the roving around the cord:

Photo of knotting the roving around the cord

Step 4: I needle felted the roving into a ball:

Photo of the needle felted ball

Step 5: To finish it, I soaked the ball in water, rubbed on some “Kiss my Face” olive oil soap, and rolled it in my hands. I then put it on a towel to dry. Here is the finished product:

Photo of the finished necklace

Although my teenagers think it looks a bit like a Rudolph nose, I’m happy with the overall result. The cord did not collapse during the felting process, and the bead is a nicely shaped sphere. What an easy, inexpensive project! I can imagine selling these at my holiday boutiques for less than $10, which would be a nice complement to the more expensive items I offer.

For those of you who are interested in making one, I have published the steps in a downloadable pattern.

This necklace, however, is almost too simple. Do you think it would be better with a few more felted beads or perhaps some purchased metallic charms? I look forward to hearing from you!

–Karen

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