Making beaded jewelry is a great way to show off your creative side. Beading is a simple craft that can be extremely rewarding as it allows you to relax and take your mind off the negative aspects of your day. The more you play around with design ideas, the more your skills will improve.
Handmade jewelry can also provide you with a supplemental income once you have improved your skills enough to sell your creations. There are many different types of jewelry beads available at craft stores and boutiques for you to work with, and some are easier for beginners to use than others.
Getting Started with Jewelry Beads
When you first start making beaded jewelry, you will need to gather the basic tools required to create your designs. You should also check out some online tutorials and videos to learn more about common techniques for making jewelry that all beginners should know.
BASIC JEWELRY MAKING TOOLS AND SUPPLIES
While there are many different types of jewelry making tools out there, these are the basic products that you will need to get started making beaded jewelry.
You will need different types of pliers to help make your creations functional. These pliers are essential when you are working with clasps, wires, and jump rings because they allow you to open and close these items with minimal effort.
Pliers you should buy include Round Nose Pliers, Bent Chain Nose Pliers, Nylon Jaw Pliers, Step Jaw Pliers and Loop Closing Pliers.
If you are working with wire or want to make beaded earrings, you will need tools such as a flush cutter, chasing hammer, nylon hammer, and an anvil. These tools can help you form the wire into the exact shape that you need so that matching pieces look the same.
Additional tools that you will want to purchase include a metal ruler, and a cup bur which can help round and remove any burs found at the end of the cut wire.
While jewelry beads are essential, you will also need additional supplies to help you complete your customized jewelry pieces. These supplies include head pins, clasps, ear wires, posts and clutches, and jump rings.
It is a good idea to purchase a storage case with small compartments so that you can keep all these tiny items organized and separated.
The Different Types of Jewelry Beads
Jewelry beads come in many shapes and sizes. They are also available in a rainbow of colors, textures and made from various materials. With so many beads out there to choose from, it can be overwhelming to choose the right type for your first beading project.
The first thing you need to do after you have gathered all the necessary jewelry making tools and supplies is start your bead stash. It is tempting to buy several of every design that you can find, but you don’t want to purchase too many beads at once.
Try to start off with a selection of beads for your first project and then add to your collection from there.
There are several categories that you can place beads in such as their size, shape, color and the material they are made from.
JEWELRY BEAD SIZES
Beads will always be measured in millimeters. Large beads often run between 10 to 14mm. They make excellent trendy or unusual pieces. Smaller beads that range between 3 to 4mm are often used as accent pieces on bracelets, earrings, or necklaces. Beads that are between 6 and 8mm in size are ideal for creating beaded necklaces.
JEWELRY BEAD SHAPES AND CUTS
Your basic shapes for jewelry beads are round, oval, square and rectangle. But you can also find beads that are obscure shapes like coins and rondelle. Faceted beads feature a cut like a diamond that has straight edges forming the shape. You can also find smooth cut beads that are usually rounded and resemble a pearl.
JEWELRY BEAD COLORS
Beads come in an endless amount of colors, patterns, and textures. You can find bright neon beads, pastel colors, classic rainbow colors, neutral tones, metallics and many others.
Natural beads made from wood, stone, crystals, gems, or seashells are a unique choice that can be fun to work with. If you want to go with something simple for your initial project, you should choose neutral-toned beads at first then add more colors to your collection later on.
The Best Beads for Beginners
You can find sets at most craft stores that feature color-coordinated beads with similar patterns and textures. This is a great advantage for new jewelry makers who don’t know where to start.
If you have an idea of what type of beaded jewelry you want to make, choose beads that are easy to work with such as those between 4 to 6mm, since smaller beads can be difficult for beginners to use.
Some of the best beads to try out include glass bead mixes, pearls, wood beads, and metal balls. Experiment with different shapes and sizes to find out which beads you enjoy working with most. And remember to have fun as you discover this exciting new craft.