Thursday, September 30, 2010

Folk Art Sewing with Beads

I'm absolutely LOVING how these projects have turned out! Last year I ordered two bolts of black burlap for a project and I have ended up with SO much excess! I'll have to be creative and think about black burlap projects for (really) two or three years!

My second graders have recently asked me "is this art? Is that art? How did they get famous making that?" I love questions like this because it allows me to segue right into teaching about Folk Art (namely Southern Folk Art) which I have such appreciation for, you know, with them being self-taught and all!

What you need:

8x8" square pieces black burlap (or any other color, I just had extra (lots of extra!) black

about 3-4 feet colorful yarn per student

random beads, buttons, etc

metal yarn darners with a thin eye


We did this project proceeding a paper weaving project, so the kids were familiar with the "over under over under" portion of sewing. I knotted all the yarn and put the darners on for them (told them the first was a freebie, they needed to thread the needle if it came out!)

I put a ton of beads, buttons, and baubles in trays on each table.

The kids threaded buttons and beads (max 6) and stitched. They had to have 2 plain stitches between each bead thread. This eliminated their need to use 139,856 beads on each project (and it helped to fill in the negative space!)

This project took two days from start to finish. The kids worked really well sharing the beads and not fighting over soccer balls, letters, etc.

And hopefully they learned a little about self-taught artists like Bessie Harvey in the process!

Happy creating


  1. Looks like this might keep an almost 6-year-old entertained on rainy vacation days--thanks!

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