Teens flip for flops: free tutorial!

This is the time to hit summer sales and stock up on flip flops, you can pick up a pair for a dollar or two! They're so many ways to craft them into something spectacular. I did a web search and found a plethora of ideas: from tying water balloons and fabric strips around the straps to applying rhinestones buttons and beads. I loved the inspiration but the reality is we live in Maine and one soggy downpour would completely destroy fabric or feathered footwear. I also wanted to avoid eating up my DIY workshop budget with toxic glue to attach embellishments. I had both a bucket of wood beads and roll of hemp in my studio and decided to simply try wrapping the hemp around the plastic straps to give the flip flops a natural look. I was thrilled with the results, the hemp 'grabbed' the plastic and stayed in place without needing glue.

The group of 15 teens loved the project, it took seconds to explain: provided well over an hour of entertainment, an opportunity for personal expression, and countless days of wearing enjoyment!


Assorted wood and shell beads, be sure to select beads with large enough holes to accommodate the hemp.

The flat shell beads are Natural Elegance from Blue Moon beads, the patterned wood beads are JoAnn Fabric brand.

Roll of narrow hemp, usually used to make thin macrame jewelry, if you have a group of more than ten people I'd suggest picking up a second roll.

Start by cutting a three yards length of hemp of the roll. Tie one end around the base of the strap and then begin tightly wrapping the hemp up strap, be sure to catch the end in your wraps.

String a bead onto the hemp and slide it down the cord, position it on the top side of the strap. This takes a second to check, it's easy to mistakenly position the beads on the inside especially at the strap base. Make sure you wrap the cord several times around the strap after each bead addition.

When you reach the end of the cord tie it around to the last wrap on the underside of the strap. When you add a new strand make sure to cover both the new and old hemp ends in your wraps.You can always use a darning needle to slip an end under existing wraps.

Once you hit the center of the strap you'll need to make additional wraps on either side of the toe strap.

It takes two to three strands of hemp to get around each flip flop depending on the size of the shoe, beads and tightness of the wraps. Follow the directions above to start or end new strands. Once you start your second flip flop you'll be a pro!

I loved watching how differently each of the flip flops turned out. Many thanks to the creative teens at Curtis Memorial Library that let me photograph their hands in action.

How To: Summer Earrings!

Last week a made a fresh batch of lightweight summer earrings with a great group of teenagers. I chose ornate findings and a simple jump ring assembly.  My hope was that the girls would be successful and enthusiastic about exploring new jewelry techniques. In the past I've had trouble teaching groups how to turn and wrap headpins, I carefully chose this project avoid that problem. Earrings make great inexpensive bead projects for large groups as they use significantly less beads than bracelets and earrings. The girls were thrilled to be working with 'real' materials, and were delighted with their finished pieces. My only regret was that I couldn't scrounge up enough pliers for each girl to have two pairs.

The moms were equally excited about this project and I wouldn't be surprised if some of the earrings ended up in their jewelry boxes. In fact I ran into a librarian already wearing my sample yesterday! Please follow the directions below to whip up a pair to match your summer wardrobe.


Blue Earrings - Laser cut metal earring components with ear wires, Natural Elegance, Blue Moon Beads

Red Earrings - Elongated hoops, Natural Elegance, Blue Moon beads you'll need to purchase the earwires separately and connect them to the hoops.

6mm jump rings

Blue and red seed beads - Global nomad, Blue Moon Beads (these are actually larger than traditional seed beads I think of them as 'e' beads)

2 silver sequins

Optional - Aleene's Metal Jewelry Glue


Chain nose and bent nose pliers

The trick to opening jump rings is to hold a pair of pliers in each hand, then use them to grasp the wire end on either side of the split. Gently open the ring laterally. If you simply spread them apart the ring will loose its shape. Hook the open ring through the finding, then string on an 'e' bead before closing the ring. Use both pliers to click the ring back into place. If the wires don't connect the thin metal finding can slip through the opening. Some of the girls found it helpful to add a drop of Metal Jewelry into the bead and slide the bead over the split. Repeat the process to add a bead ring to each of the openings in the finding. For added shine string a sequin behind the bead on the ring that hangs from the center of the finding.

Repeat the process to create a second earring, slide them on and enjoy!

I'm always grateful to Blue Moon for graciously supplying me with products for my designs, these were left in my stash from working on designs for my book Simply Beaded Bliss. Hopefully these findings or a similar alternate product are still available at your local retailer.

Binder Remix

We're approaching that time of year when the contents of desk and lockers are brought home and dumped into our homes. Think green and take a moment to carefully sort through the debris and salvage what can be reused. If you discover a worn binder this duct tape project might be the ticket to get your teen away from the computer and crafting.

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