Beading is a fantastic hobby. It is a rewarding activity that young and old alike can enjoy and something that old and young can even enjoy doing together. At its core, beading is simple: you thread beads onto a string, wire, or thread. However, if you have never done this before and want to make something a bit more complicated that a basic, single strand bracelet, the hobby can indeed be relatively intimidating. But, things do not have to be this way; you can start beading some rather impressive jewelry and other pieces very quickly as long as you learn what you need to know and get the right tools and materials.
This is everything that you need to get started beading.
The best way to learn how to bead is to get a teacher. However, this is not possible for everyone. If you do not have access to a teacher, get yourself a book or two.
A very good beading book to start with is Carole Rodgers’ Beading Basics. It will teach you everything you need to get started to include how to use all sorts of equipment and how to do more complex tricks such as making woven chains. It even goes into design principles and color theory.
If you are interested in loom beading, you will need a different set of skills and equipment. To learn about this interesting beading method pick up Alexandra Kidd’s Beginner’s Guide to Beading on a Loom.
Now that you have the learning materials you need to get going, it is time to get your supplies and tools together.
There are thousands of beads for you to choose from. Since you are just starting out, you ought to begin with inexpensive plastic beads so that you can make mistakes without breaking the bank. And, just between you and me, plastic beads look just fine.
One non-plastic bead you may wish to buy at the start of your journey is the soft-metal crimping bead. These crimp down on the thread to help secure all of the other beads and parts of the piece.
Findings, closures, and clasps are how you end your your lines of beads and then clasp or secure them around necks, wrists, and ankles. Again, as a beginner, go with the less expensive clasps.
The best beading string for beginners is flexible wire. It is easy to manipulate and does not stretch or break as easily as monofilaments and other strings do. Once you are comfortable working with flexible wire, you will want to move on to the more thread-like strings.
Large-eyed and curved threading needles are a must when working with threads. They will speed things up and keep you from pulling your hair out.
Beaders need a variety of pliers to hold wire and thread, to crimp beads, to bend wire, and to close tight spaces. As you advance in your hobby, you will need to pick up flat nose pliers, crimping pliers, long nose pliers, and chain nose pliers.
Work on top of this to keep track of all of your beads.
Lay out your designs on this to keep everything measured and in place.
If you are going the loom beading route, you will of course need a bead loom. As a beginner, you should either make your own by stringing thread between two ends or buying a very simple loom.