How to Bead Your Own Sandals
Turn Plain Sandals into Fancy with Beads
Completed Beaded Scandal Project
Beaded sandals are all the rage but can be pretty pricey. Why not design and make your own? It is a fairly simple project that saves you a lot of money.
The beaded shoes pictured above cost less than $20 to make and took about two hours. Your cost will depend on the shoes you select.
The rest of the materials and tools are very inexpensive. You might even go shopping in your own closet for dull-looking sandals that could use a pretty update!
If you make jewelry for profit, beaded sandals can be a very profitable expansion of your product line.
Materials for Beaded Sandals
- 1 pair sandals, synthetic uppers are easiest to work with.
- SuppleMax 0.30mm illusion cord
- Your choice of beads and charms, available at Art Beads
- Masking tape
- Flexible measuring tape
- Sharp sewing needle
- Needle nose pliers
- Bead Board
How to Bead Your Sandals
With flexible measuring tape, measure the length of the area you want to bead. If you will have a center piece as in the picture, note where you want it positioned.
My sandal strap is 9 inches and the center glass dangle bead falls exactly in the center, at 4 1/2 inches. This design has two lines of beads (note the double row of 4mm round beads).
Closup of Beadwork
Lay out your design on the bead board, starting from the center as shown. Notice that the design extends to the 4 1/2 inch mark on the right. The design will be reversed and extend to 4 1/2 inches on the left to make a total of 9 inches.
Cut a length of illusion cord equal to two times the length you want plus 2 feet. In my example, the length I beaded is 9 inches. 9 x 2 + 24 inches = 42 inches.
Thread the illusion cord onto the needle; from the top, sew through the sandal strap as close to the sole as you can. Sew back through to the top about 3/16" to one side, exiting as close as possible to the sole.
Pull the cord through so that both lengths are equal. This provides the two strands for the double row design. Double-knot the two lengths together; tape one length to the bottom on the sandal to keep it out of your way while you bead the first row.
Each section of beads in this design is secured in place by sewing through the sandal strap to the back and then back through to the top. For example, string a section of 3-4mm beads; sew the cord through the strap; then sew back up to the top very close to the first hole.
The needle nose pliers are used to help pull the needle through the strap.
The larger beads are individually secured: string a large bead; sew through the strap; sew back through the strap to the top, ready for the next bead(s).
Don't be concerned if the bead or beads don't lie exactly straight. You can adjust and secure them better when you bead the second row.
When you've finished the first row of beads, sew through to the back of the strap; untape the other strand of illusion cord; and tape the end of the cord you just completed to the sole of the sandal to keep it out of the way while you string the second strand.
For the second row, you only need to add the small beads. When you come to a large bead, run the needle through the bead and position the holes that you sew to secure and straighten the bead. When you reach the end, sew through to the back.
Untape the first piece of illusion cord. Double-knot the two strands together.
To hide the ends and prevent them from irritating the wearer's foot, use the needle to run each strand horizontally into the strap between the layers of strap material and exit at the back. Snip the end flush with the strap. If you can feel the end when you run your finger over the area, the wearer will be able to feel it on her foot. Trim closer.
Read more about Beading.