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Making Your Own Bead Jewelry

Making your own bead jewelry is a creative hobby that allows you to produce unique pieces for yourself, family and friends. Here is how you can get started.

If you ever asked yourself "couldn't I do that myself?" while you looked through rows of bead bracelets, necklaces or earrings at a trendy boutique, the answer is "yes". Beading is a creative and entertaining hobby that not only will have you produce unique, handmade items of jewelry, but will also be a great source of gift ideas for family and friends.

The first step would be to find a good local bead shop. While there are huge mail order catalogs and websites that will sell you all the supplies, nothing substitutes for the support and advice of experienced sales personnel. Ideally, this store would also offer a number of beginning classes that would help you learn basic techniques. If there is no bead shop in your town, some introductory books such as "The Beader's Companion" will have to do.

"The Beader's Companion" by Judith Durant and Jean Campbell is a small (7" x 5") paperback book with spiral binding that lies flat, so you can keep it on your work surface next to your beading projects. The book starts out by describing various kinds of beads (with illustrations), as well as types of glass and finishes used for beads. This is followed by section on threads/cords and different types of needles. Particularly useful is a chart telling beaders what thread to use with which kind of bead. There are also extensive chapters on various stitches and crochet techniques. Further sections on finishings (clasps, hooks, ear wires, etc.), tools and basic wire techniques round out what almost amounts to a beading course in a book. Even after you mastered the different techniques described in this guide, you will be coming back to it for the various useful charts and tips, such as the bead-sizing chart.

Start with a simple project, such as a bracelet or basic necklace, and do not go overboard with expensive beads and findings (clasps, chain, etc.). You might be impatient to use Swarovski crystal, sterling silver and semi-precious beads, but you can work up to that later. Some stores will even offer packaged starter kits that include a beading board (which helps you with project layout and measurements), some basic tools, beads, wire, findings and a how-to-book.

You should then set up your "beading space" preferably an uncluttered, well-lit area in your home. You might have to invest in a good lamp, maybe one combined with a magnifying lens. Remember, you will be stringing some rather tiny objects! Make sure you have plenty of containers to keep different types and colors of beads separate nothing will spoil your joy of beading like having to hunt for a single bead in a jumbled pile. Beading stores will sell you various storage systems, but you can also experiment with plastic containers meant to hold small hardware or fishing tackle.

WellFeature Articles, now you are ready for your first bead jewelry project. Happy beading!

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Pamela Bruce lives in Austin, TX. She is the owner of Love Beads Unlimited and sells the sterling silver and Swarovski crystal bead jewelry she designs and creates both in her eBay store ( and on her website at, where you can also download the free e-book "A Consumer's Guide to Buying Bead Jewelry Online".

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