How to Start Beading: The Basics

How to Start Beading: The Basics

The answer to the question “how to start beading?” is multifaceted because beadwork is an entire craft on its own and has several requirements. If you have never worked with beads before, you’re probably thinking about where to purchase them and locate the best jewelry-making supplies. The quality of your jewelry-making supplies will eventually determine the longevity and aesthetics of your beadwork. Whether the beadwork is for DIY jewelry or other craft forms, the essentials of beading remain the same.

Xinar has been helping people determine how to start beading by providing the highest quality beads and findings. Choose from our extensive collections of 925 sterling silver charms, sterling silver beads, gold-filled beads, rose gold-filled beads, and excellent and genuine copper beads.  

Our semiprecious beads and findings are manufactured locally and are proudly sourced in the USA. We believe you don’t have to go far to learn how to start beading. You can already apply what you know with high-quality beads from the US.

Crafting necklaces, charm bracelets, best friend bracelets, and other beautiful costumes and fine jewelry becomes more accessible with the right jewelry tools, jewelry-making techniques, wiring techniques, and beading knowledge.

How To Start Beading Like a Pro: Buying Beads

how to start beading

Q: I’m looking for an excellent location to buy beads. Where is the most ideal?

A: Your best choice is to buy jewelry-making supplies from high-quality stores like Xinar. We at Xinar have always made it a point to answer questions from our customers. So if you need something or cannot find a particular item, all you have to do is click “Contact Us” and send us a message; we would be glad to help you out.

Q: Why are two identical beads of the same size and shape priced so differently in my local beading shop?

A: Two identical beads may have different pricing if one arrived late and the other has been hanging in the store for an extended period. Most of the time, however, the pricing differences are due to the varying hues, finishes, or treatments used to produce the beads.

Although specific colors are more difficult or expensive to create, transparent and plain opaque beads are less expensive. Matte finishes, lusters, and metallic coatings get more expensive as the price increases. Gold beads in the range of 22 to 24 karats are the most expensive.

Q: I’m disappointed when I buy beads for a project since the packing for different beads differs so much. Even though my pattern calls for 200 beads, they are available by gram, tube, or ounce. I’m not sure how I’ll know how many beads I’ll get.

A: Seed beads are typically sold in 1-ounce quantities, by the gram in tubes or small zip bags, or on strands in hanks. Because there is minimal standardization across different forms of packing, being able to calculate the numbers oneself is advantageous.

The Seed Bead Size/Quantity Guide illustrates how many beads of each size measure 1″ when lined up the hole to hole, as well as how many beads are in a gram, an ounce, and an ordinary 12-strand hank.

Note that these figures are estimates. Beads of the same size from different producers in different nations can have varying sizes and shapes, as well as holes that are larger or smaller (which can drastically affect the weight of the bead).

Even beads of the same color and quality from the same manufacturer might vary in size and weight somewhat. Using a calculator, you can typically get a good estimate of how many beads you purchase if the basis for the sale is the weight of the beads. Of course, buying additional beads is always a good idea if you run out of a particular hue or dye lot.

Here at Xinar, the bead quantities are checked twice, and you can specify the exact quantity you need during checkout. There will never be any guessing involved with the quantities, and you get what you pay for. We add value to anything that we do.

How To Make Your Beads

We have a vast selection of beads worldwide, but what if we want to produce our own?

Recycled beads

Make a bead from a vintage Bakelite pin, shoe clip, or another beautiful object. One option is adding wire loops to each end of the pin or clip and stringing them as focal beads on necklaces and charm bracelets.

Lampwork glass beads

Many beaders are drawn to the challenge of working with glass and decide to create their glass beads. Explore this unique art form by enrolling in a class.

Felt beads

Felt beads are generally used to adorn wool roving or wool yarn beads.

Ribbon or fiber beads

Wrap yarn, ribbon, and other fibers around the wire to make a hole, then glue or stitch the ends together to make stunning beads.

Paper beads

To make bead shapes, cut and roll paper, seal with shellac and drill a hole if necessary.

Coin or shell beads

To turn a little solid object into a bead, drill a hole.

Polymer clay beads

To manufacture permanent polymer clay beads, form them out of clay and bake them.

Semiprecious and precious metal beads

To make metal beads or findings, shape PMC into beads or findings and heat them. Alternatively, you can purchase ready-made beads in semiprecious metals from Xinar’s extensive collection.

Beaded beads

To make an unlimited variety of beaded beads, use the off-loom weaving techniques from Chapter 8.

Q: I’m overwhelmed with the bead store. I quickly look around, buy one or two things, then leave. I’m not sure how I’m going to make anything.

A: First, give yourself plenty of time to peruse the bead store. As you stroll around and examine the beads, take a few deep breaths. Then, sit down and read a few books or magazines to see what beaded designs you like. Reading about the techniques and processes used to create a piece will help you decide what you want to learn first. After that, go with what you’re drawn to. It’s entirely up to you.

Second, buying beads before you know what you will do with them is OK if you’re drawn to them. Beginners may be concerned that they are wasting money on beads without a precise aim. If you notice a color or shape that appeals to you, purchase it and bring it home. This starts your bead collection, sometimes known as a “stash.” The beads you like will begin to “friend” each other, and you’ll start to have ideas for how you want to mix them.

Q: What’s the simplest method to get started with beading?

A: Stringing beads on wire or cord is a simple method to get started, and chapter 5 has a lot more information on this sort of beading. Make a bracelet by threading beads on a stretch cord if you’re searching for instant gratification. You don’t even need a clasp because the cord extends to fit around your hand. The style options are limitless.

Q: How do I pick up abilities once I’ve gotten my feet wet?

A: It’s crucial not to get overwhelmed by the variety of beads and techniques available when first learning to bead. Yes, many of them exist, but the easiest way to learn them all is to focus on one at a time. Years will pass while you learn and gradually progress from one skill to the next. Focus your thought and energy to what draws you in and go in the direction you want to go.

I’m guessing there isn’t a single beading specialist who knows and uses every beading technique. There are too many options. So you’re not on your own! We’re all newbies in some way.

Take advantage of the classes your local bead store or adult education program offers. Beading in a group may be enjoyable, and you’ll build confidence and learn by watching the other students’ bead choices and ideas, as well as the teacher’s samples and comments.

Once you’ve taken a class, keep making that item until you’re comfortable with the process from beginning to end. I advise my pupils to keep constructing the bracelet until they become tired! Then, when you’re prepared to move on to the next class, you’ll be able to build on your previous knowledge. You’ll start to feel like a pro after a few classes.

Crafting and Self-Reflections

A journal can help you keep track of the beads, colors, and techniques you utilize in your beading endeavors.

Tape any failed starts or a little sample piece to the page and note what you liked or didn’t like about it. Keeping a notebook can help you recall what you’ve done and what worked well, especially if you intend to market or give away your creations as gifts. These notes will refresh your memory and inspire new project ideas. Instead of beginning from scratch every time, you’ll be building on your previous knowledge.

Q: How do I remember what I’ve learned in beading class? When the teacher explains the directions, I comprehend them, but it’s difficult to recall them later.

A: I recommend that you keep a record of the things you make and the skills you learn if you want to build a solid foundation of beading and jewelry-making knowledge.

Make a list of what you did, the technique’s name, the date, and the beads and colors you used. Include the class handout in a plastic sleeve if you learned the project in a class. If the pattern is from a magazine or book, note the title and page number so you can find it again, or photocopy the instructions and keep them in a plastic sleeve with your notes.

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