Stringing beads is a fun way to reduce stress and explore your creative side. Put a colorful necklace together or create a beautiful matching set with a bracelet and a pair of earrings. Wear your creations, sell them, or wrap them in tissue paper and give them to your friends.
Basic beading is easy, fun, and relatively inexpensive. You will find beading supplies at most craft shops, art supply stores, and discount stores, in addition to the beading boutiques that often specialize in more expensive beads.
Here is a checklist of the basic tools and supplies you will need to begin working on your new hobby:
You will find an abundance of different sizes, shapes and styles to choose from. Start off with a few favorite colors using plastic beads so you can become familiar with color coordination and putting on the finishing touches. This way, mistakes will not be so costly. Work your way toward the finer glass, semiprecious, handpainted, wood and cloisonne beads.
There is a wide variety of clamps, closures and clasps, also called findings. Again, do not be seduced into purchasing the best and the brightest in the beginning. Most products will have the instructions included on the front or back of the package, but if you run into a problem, consult a beading magazine or catalog, which you can find either online or at craft shops.
Depending on your budget and preference, you can use either the standard, flat containers or go up a notch to the drawer compartments that many people use in their workshops for nuts, bolts and screws. Any containers will do, but, while working, you will want your beads to be easily accessible. Storing beads in dark, confined areas makes them more difficult to work with and to color coordinate.
These are an important element in bead making. They are simply beads constructed of a flexible metal, which help keep the clasp attached to the necklace. Crimping beads come in gold and silver and in several different sizes.
Round Tipped Pliers
Invest in a good pair of round tipped pliers. You will need to use them often not only for picking up beads but also to hold the components while working with them. Flat nosed pliers also come in handy. Remember to select a pair that will allow you to crimp.
Trays or Boards
Using a beading tray is not mandatory but it makes it easier to preselect and measure your beads. Most trays are made of plastic and incorporate a measuring device either in inches, millimeters, or both.
Wire, Line or String
Again, depending on budget and preference, there is a wide variety of wire, line and string to choose from. Before purchasing, be sure that it is the correct size to fit the beads you have selected, or vice versa. Some beads have large holes to accommodate thick string while others, such as seed beads, have tiny holes that only thread or wire will fit through. You could even use fishing line to practice on, but beading wire is better it does not have a tendency to curl, shrink and distort the way plastic lines do. You could also use string, rawhide or thread. When beading with string or thread, use a special big eye or curved needle.
Children can also take part in stringing beads. Look for childrens beading supplies at most craft stores, generally alongside the adult supplies. Beading is a great way to teach children coordination skills, and to keep them happy and occupied while you are working on your beading projects. Keep in mind that many of these items should be kept away from babies and small toddlers.
Bead supply warehouses will often send color catalogs by request, listing hundreds of different products, along with accompanying images. Or you may want to subscribe to a beading magazine where you will learn different techniques and methods used by professionals.
Check online or at your local craft store for lots of great, free beading patterns and beading ideas. Once you have mastered the art of beading, you will be making attractive jewelry, and you will naturally gravitate to other beading projects. You may even start to decorate your handbags, create charming wall art, and make lovely bookmarks, sun catchers, key chains or plant holders. There are so many amazing things you can do with beads, you will wonder what ever took you so long to discover them.