5 Ways to Share Your Love of Beading

When I moved into my neighborhood seven years ago I knew it was going to take extreme measures to break the ice with my neighbors. At first meeting, it seemed like we had nothing in common. From politics and religion to level of household cleanliness and meal planning it seemed like we lived in different universes. An illustration: Shortly after we’d moved into our house a bunch of the neighbors invited me to a holiday cookie-baking party. I envisioned a gathering long on chatter, music, and vino and short on anything involving flour. What I walked into was extreme busyness, absolute silence, and lots of hot mitts, aprons, and yes, a fine mist of flour hovering in the air. One of them was even wearing a hairnet!

We laugh now about the deer-in-the-headlights look I had on my face when I walked in the door. And I’ll have to say, it’s great fun to still tease them about how intense they were with their mad baking. I’m grateful, because despite our extreme differences we’ve become quite a posse.

How did I finally break the ice? Well, beads of course! After the scary cookie-baking episode, I waited a few months and invited them to my place for a bead party. I set up work stations at my kitchen table. Each station included some beading wire, crimps, and a clasp, and I spread a bunch of my beads out in the center of the table for them to pick from. I quickly taught them how to crimp, then I let them have at it. There’s really nothing like a table full of beads to get people chattering.

Bead parties are just one way to spread the love with beads. Here are four more:

Subscribe: Buy a friend who’s new to beading a subscription to your favorite bead magazine. This way, each issue you can share ideas on how you’re going to tackle the projects, talk about the profiled artists, kibitz about featured products, and plan which bead show you are going to sneak to next. There are lots of great beading magazines out there, but I’ll say I’m partial to Beadwork, since I’m the founding editor. If you’re looking for a rich, in-depth beading magazine with all the bells and whistles, subscribe to Beadwork magazine.

BIP: Bead in Public! You can’t believe how many people I’ve turned onto beading this way. 

Volunteer: Bring in a bucket of cheap plastic and wood beads and pipe cleaners to a local preschool, and let the kids go wild. They’ll build all types of jewelry, but will also surprise you with their comments and questions. For older kids, bring needle and thread and seed beads. Equally cheap, equally satisfying for all.

Give beaded gifts: When you give a beaded gift, you not only thrill the receiver, but feel the love inside, too. Bracelets, necklaces, and earrings are always favorites, but don’t forget home décor! The holidays are coming up, so why not try one of these cute projects from the Beading Daily store?

How do you share your love of beading? Share your stories and tips right here.

Jean Campbell writes about beading and life every Wednesday on Beading Daily. If you have comments or questions for Jean, please post them on the website. Thanks!

Related Posts:


Beading Daily Blog, Beading for Kids
Michelle M.

About Michelle M.

I was the founding editor of Beading Daily (2007-2009) and my now a freelance designer/writer/editor.  My designs have been published in Stringing, Step by Step Beads, Jewelry Gifts for the Holidays, Creative Jewelry, Beadwork, and other magazines. I enjoy stringing, bead embroidery, wirework, metal work, mixed media, beadweaving—pretty much anything that involves beads or jewelry.  I also enjoy exploring new crafts like pottery and felting.  I write a personal blog if you want to see more of my work. 16+ Free Beading Projects: A list of the free projects I created for Beading Daily. Contact Info If you have a question regarding Beading Daily, please contact customer service at beadingdaily@interweave.com or the current editor, Kristal Wick. If you'd like to contact me, you'll find my info on my website:  www.michellemach.com.  You can also follow me on Twitter at:  http://twitter.com/beadsandbooks Pictured here is a pair of earrings I made for the Spring 2010 issue of Stringing in an attempt to get over my fear of designing with the color orange!

11 thoughts on “5 Ways to Share Your Love of Beading

  1. I used to bead on my breaks and lunch at work. It invited comments, questions and even a few sales. I have also invited my banking supervisor to my home for a girls day to teach her how to make her own earrings. It is contagious. I wore a pearl and tourmaline necklace to my high school reunion and it opened up a few conversations with old friends I thought I didn’t have much in common with. Bead lovers are everywhere and we can entice them in to our little world with little effort.

  2. Several years ago I decided to hold “Bead Nights” to make a place available to people who bead. When I owned my bead shop I held Bead Night at my shop, twice a month. When I closed my shop three years ago people were wondering what we would do about Bead Night. For the first year or so we would hold Bead Night at the home of an individual who would volunteer her home where we could meet and bead. Meeting at different houses became rather difficult at times, as some traveled quite a few miles to get there, some preferred it would be just the Bead Night beaders, rather than the hostess and her family, and some simply didn’t have a home large enough to accommodate all of us (sometimes up to 17 – 20 beaders). I contacted the local Community Center and talked with the Director, and he agreed to set aside the first and third Wednesdays for Bead Night, at a very minimal fee per month for each attendee. It works great, and we can accommodate many people, so when visitors want to see what we’re all about they can come and visit. Most of the ones who visit end up being regular participants. We share ideas and techniques, and give our opinions of possibilities when one beader gets stumped on how to design a piece, etc. It is a great time. We share knowledge, our love of beads, and most of all we share our time with each other and we’re hel;ing to keep beading alive by attracting newbies. Some bring snacks to share and we eat, bead, talk, laugh, and love each other. It’s great! Try it, you’ll like it.
    Rollin’ in the beads, Deon DeLange

  3. I have two ideas for you.

    First, if you have a market stall, set aside a small area (perhaps one end of your stall) for kids to make memory wire bracelets. They love it and it gets parents talking.

    Second, donate to community raffles. I have just donated one item I made plus 5 two-for-the-price-of-one vouchers for a workshop. This will cost me very little (except time!) but might introduce several future customers.


  4. From earrings that have lost their mate, to bracelets and necklaces that have broken, don’t fit or have gone out of fashion–it’s fun to have people bring me their cast-aways and to work with them to re-design something new using the beads. People are amazed that their ‘old trash’ can be turned into ‘new treasures’ so easily. (One of my favorite 15-minute make-overs was a single pair of broken chandelier earrings that yielded 4 new, unique pairs of earrings!) I often don’t charge anything because I get such a kick out of people’s reactions. I think these little demos have inspired more than a couple of people to buy some pliers, earwires and headpins of their own and to realize that design is something we can all do!

  5. Hello Jean,

    My name is Hannah I’m the inventor of the game Bead Trade, I’m a huge fan of Beading Daily, I was just on the Donny Deutsch Show the Big Idea 2 weeks ago tonight, they are helping me get the word out their about my beading party game.They are actually sending me to Dallas next week to meet with the largest craft and toy company’s. Katie Hacker was my suprise guest on the show this was such a cool experience for me.It’s so great to have support from the beading industry. I have a new Website that will be going up tomorrow and I added Beading Daily to my site. Your right about breaking the ice with people, when ever I go some where people stop to watch what I’m working on,or ask where I teach beading classes. I’ve always got beads with me where ever I go. I hope everyone gets a chance to play my new Bead Trade Game so they can win a bounty of beads from each other before the holidays or giving Bead Trade as a gift for christmas is also a cool idea. Thanks again Jean and Michelle for all of your cool advise you give all of us beaders. Thanks to Michelle for having me as #7. in her article on June 9th. Just For Fun, 10 Other Uses For Beads. Have a great day. Live, Love, Dream Beads.


  6. You mentioned sharing a magazine subscription with a friend who’s new to beading…can you suggest a magazine or books that would be inspiring to a 10-year-old with a penchant for making all jewelry that’s beaded?

    Whimsy Studio, Tallmadge, OH

  7. Last year for her birthday I have my mother a focal stone bead. she enjoys making necklaces that she wears to work. I thought she would like it but in fact she loved it. I didn’t just give a bead I have her an inspiration. She is the one who let me explore my artistic side and has truly nurtured it. Now we always try and give a focal piece to build a project around its a nice tradition that we can share.

  8. When the library I work for decided to combine the librarians and the circulation staff together at one desk, I decided that we needed to get to know one another better. Even though I was brand new to beading, I offered to everyone come to my house and learn how to make something. We have been doing this for over 3 years. I provide a lot of the supplies depending on the project. We have become very close and call ourselves “The Mad Library Beaders”. In fact, we’re meeting tomorrow night to make a lovely bracelet. I love to bead and make many gifts and raffle items for charities.
    Carolyn in AZ

  9. For boys why not try Fly Tying and Mariners Knots, not sure if thats what they are called but the knots used on boats by sailors. That would be a fun start… girls might enjoy it also. Another option is to try one of the “Craft Of The Month” clubs… they seem to have lots of variety & don’t seem to cost too much. Good Luck!

  10. Back in the 1980s my grandmother made beaded Christmas bells for her grandchildren. Because I recently learned I’m going to be a grandma, my interest her and her many projects is rejuvenated. I started a year-long bell making project and blog to memorialize what a creative woman she was.

    Check it out: http://beadedbells.wordpress.com/