Beading Tutorial: Upcycling Old Sandals with Glass Seed Beads, Leather, and Natural Silk Thread - A Stylish Transformation!

Welcome to my creative journey of transforming old sandals into unique pieces of art! In this blog, I delve into the world of upcycling, where I breathe new life into worn-out sandals using glass seed beads, leather cord, and hand-made silk thread tassels. Join me as we explore the beauty of repurposing, adding a touch of elegance and sustainability to your footwear collection. Get ready to be inspired and learn how to turn simple sandals into stunning fashion statements that reflect your style and creativity.

Remove Embellishments: Start by removing all embellishments from your shoes, leaving only clean leather as the base for your beading project.


Make a beading base for your beads: Pick up the 2.5mm leather cord and glue it to the leather of the sandals. Use E6000 adhesive (allow time to dry) or use super glue.
Nylon beading thread, brown color, size D
Cord, leather, and cotton (dyed), taupe, 2.5mm zigzag-stitched.
#15 Rocailles glass seed beads
Prepare the Thread: Cut a comfortable length of Nylon beading thread, ensuring it is manageable but long enough for your project.
Thread the Needle: Thread one end of the Nylon thread through a beading needle and tie a knot at the other end to secure the beads from slipping off.


Start Beading: Begin by passing the needle through the leather cord to anchor the thread. Add five or six #15 Rocailles glass seed beads onto the needle. Pass the needle back through the leather cord to secure the beads in place. Ensure to maintain even spacing and tension as you bead.
Finishing: Once you have embellished the leather cord to your desired length, secure the thread by weaving it back through previous beads. Tie off the thread securely and trim any excess.

Make a flat silk tassel:

Nylon beading thread, brown color, size D.
Thread, Purely Silk™, gold, size F. Sold per 20-yard card, 2 cards.
Thread, Purely Silk™, light gray, size F. Sold per 20-yard card, 2 cards.
Scrap, leather (dyed), tan, 9-1/4 x 3-1/2 inches.
Lacy’s Stiff Stuff Beading Foundation

Cut a 70x25mm Lacy’s Stiff Stuff Beading Foundation or any other thin fabric. Fold it in half and draw the line 5,7mm from the bottom (this line will be the directional line, where you going to slide your needle through the fabric. Then cut the 70x80mm thick paper or cardboard, slide it inside the Lacy’s stiff beading foundation (till directional line).

a and b: Wind thread around the board in loops going through the beading foundation with the needle, until you reach desired fullness (as you work, you can change thread colors if you wish – start with light gray color silk and on top put the gold color silk). In pictures I’m showing different colors from different projects.
c: Cut through the looped ends.
d: Put some glue on the top of the silk thread and on the beading foundation and fold the top of it the leather strip.

Make a beaded seed bead strip using flat peyote stitch:

Delica glass seed beads #11
Opaque beige (DB2105), Opaque dark brown (DB2142), opaque toast (DB2110), opaque glazed luster linen (DB0261-1).

Make a beaded strip and attach it to the flat tassel’s leather: sew the needle through the leather, sew through the beadwork and weave the thread through the couple beads, sew back through the leather and repeat.
Finish the top beaded strip edge with #15 Rocailles: exiting one #11 Delica edge bead string five rocailles and sew the needle through the leather base and go up through the beaded strip beadwork. Weave the thread through the beads and exit next top edge Delica seed bead and repeat.



After you finish making the flat silk beaded tassel, put some glue on the sandal leather strip and attach the beadwork to the sandals. Make a total of four flat tassels (I used one bigger and one little bit smaller to each sandal).


Final Touches: Cut the sandal straps and attach to both leather ends (glue on it) the 26-inches (2.5mm diameter) leather cords.
Then make a simple silk around 1.5-inch (40mm) tassel or use pre-made ones. Make a beaded strip with #11 Delicas, wrap it around the tassel and finish it working around the top of it in circular peyote stitch.

Next if you wish you can add to the leather cords the beaded round beads. I used for this project 18mm round rubberized acrylic with a large hole and used #15 Rocaille beads.

Then pick up one end of the leather cord (which is attached to the sandal leather strap), slide on it the beaded bead, next add some glue on the top of the tassel and on the end of the leather cord and glue them together. I would suggest sewing them together too. And using the peyote tubular stitch, bead around the top of the tassel and the leather cord.

If you wish you can embellish the tassel with beads (for embellishments I used the Oh! 3mm Ring, rubber, white with 2mm hole and 2.5mm gold plated brass round beads). And repeat to the other side.

By Following these steps, you can transform your old sandals into stunning pieces that showcase your style and creativity. Embrace upcycling to add uniqueness and sustainability to your fashion accessories!