Beading for Boys

Attention Beading Men: This post does not refer to you, not one bit.

I asked a knitter friend recently what she thought knitters like to make most for the men in their lives. She said, "Oh, come on. Most knitters would rather spend the time making something for themselves!"

I suspiciously think this sentiment rings true for beaders, too. Oh, beading's got a bigger instant-gratification factor than knitting does, so it’s not always about keeping the goods to ourselves. It's an easy thing to whip up a simple bracelet here for sister, a necklace there for mom, and maybe a pair of earrings for teacher.

But coming up with anything, well, manly? Very tricky. Especially here in the Midwest, where I seem to be surrounded by men who are more concerned with the permeability of their ultra-lined heat-activated snow boots than accessorizing.

Oh, yes, there are some sculptural things I think the men in my life might like to put on a shelf to admire. You know, the really cool, crazily technical, pull-your-hair-out-until-it's-perfect-because-it-takes-30-hours-to-make things? Well, I don't know about you, but I figure those projects stay home with momma.

Of course it depends on the man. For instance, I had a bead party at my brother's cabin in the wilds of Wisconsin last summer. He said he'd like to learn how to bead, too. So I told him to belly his 6' 4", 240-lb body up to the table, and what did he make? A delicate ankle bracelet made of bare beading wire and stone chips–for himself! Looked great with his size 14 feet–I think the thing was about 16" long. It didn’t last through the weekend, though. Waterskiing + large man + ankle bracelet = disaster. At least he knows how to make another if he wants one.

What kind of beaded gifts do men really like? As I point out, I think it depends solely on the man, so it’s hard to generalize. But I can share a few I’ve made and given. Some have been successful, some not so much.

Successful: Keychain made with 16mm leopard jasper rondelles and Bali silver. This was an engagement shower gift for my little brother, John (who, by the way, has not made an ankle bracelet for himself, yet). After seven years he still carries it.

Not so successful: Elastic-strung bracelet with small wood and Greek ceramic beads for a third brother, Jim (there are four of them). He’s even bigger than the ankle bracelet guy, so elastic was a stupid choice. It exploded a day later. He liked the beads, though.

Successful: Carnelian and metal clay rosary for my son's First Communion. He still has it hanging over the door to his room.

Not so successful: Heishi shell and hemp necklace for said son on his sixth birthday. "It’s too itchy!!" Weird kid. It was made with linen.

Successful: Square-stitched bookmark for my nutty professor (a.k.a. husband). He uses it as he plows from book to book.

Not so successful: Walking staff with beaded embellishments. This was created at a macho-girls' camping weekend, where at one point we foraged for sticks, peeled the bark off, shaped them with knives, cured them in the bonfire, and ran around the campsite screaming our heads off. (Yes, the weekend was a great tension reliever. Highly recommended.) When I got home, I carved a groove around the staff, added a peyote-stitched band, and gave it to my husband for Father's Day. I think he knew this was a re-gifting of sorts, so it was left in a corner for a long time until the kids found it very useful for exploding water balloons.

Successful: Brick-stitched coin purse for an old art professor of mine. He incorporated it into a beautiful sterling silver and found-object necklace. Come to think of it, I wish he would have given it back!

I’m sure many of you have ventured into this tricky territory. Share your thoughts on the website. What worked? What didn't? We're all dying to know!

Bead Star Contest Update: The Bead Star FAQ has been updated–check out the answers to new questions about polymer clay, non-jewelry entries, chain maille, and more! Deadline for entries is May 6. See the complete rules for details on how to enter to win great prizes, including having your design featured on a magazine cover.

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!

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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 or the current editor, Kristal Wick. If you'd like to contact me, you'll find my info on my website:  You can also follow me on Twitter at: 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!

6 thoughts on “Beading for Boys

    I think men would appreciate a sculptural picture of a beaded car. Just a guess… 😉 LOL.

    Comment by: The Lone Beader | April 16, 2008

    I think men would appreciate a sculptural picture of a beaded car. Just a guess… 😉

    Comment by: The Lone Beader | April 16, 2008

    My son liked a necklace I made with a hemp like string a cool coin with a center hole and black beads. I had a jewelry show and he came to it wearing the necklace I made him very proudly.

    Comment by: Sharon F | April 16, 2008

    I have made and re-made the same spiral rope bracelet for my husband 4 times! He loves the maroon and midnight blue colors but continually loses them. Though he’s not a jewelry guy – he doesn’t even wear his wedding ring – he says it reminds him that he belongs to me.

    Comment by: Holly K | April 16, 2008

    I tend to stay away from jewelry for men. I beaded the handle of a magnifying glass in 13/0 charlottes for a male friend of mine. He loved it and uses daily.

    Comment by: Lidia C | April 16, 2008

    I made a beaded tigereye necklace for my ex boyfriend, I never saw him wear it. He said he lost it in his car somewhere and couldn’t find it. He did say he liked it and was upset that he could not find it. I also made my nephew a onyx beaded necklace (very manly) for his confirmation. I also never saw him wear it. He constantly wears the heishi shell necklace that all the kids wear. My ex-boyfriend always admired certain pieces of jewelry I made and would say “if I was a woman, I would like to wear that”, which did give me a boost of confidence! I have to agree, it is a very tough territory. My niece also makes jewelry and made her father a friendship bracelet (made of embroidery floss) and he still wears it to this day. I guess you are supposed to wear it until it falls off. My opinion is you just never know what they will like.

    Comment by: Noreen N | April 16, 2008

    THIS WAS VERY FUNNY! I have found that my men (I have a husband, five sons and two grandsons)really dislike jewelry. Only one wears a wedding ring, and it isn’t my husband! He is in cnstruction however and it can get dangerous to wear metal rings while you are working a gig like that. The only success I have had was with a peace symbol necklace one of my sons, who as 14 at the time, designed himself, for himself. I made it. I also had a slight success with a sterling 3 in 3 chain maille bracelet for his older brother, which kept “stretching out”. Even though it is metal, sterling is so stretchy! I kept having to shorten it! I do not recommend an “s” style clasp for a guy’s bracelet. That could have added to the difficulty! thanks for a fun article. jean yates

    Comment by: jean y | April 16, 2008

    I gave a wireworked beaded dragon to a male friend for Christmas a couple of years ago. He keeps it on his alter, right up front.

    Comment by: Linda F | April 16, 2008

    Wood and Steel beads on leather or cotton cord works well.. But it has to be simple, maybe 5 beads in the middle, knots on either side, and a simple clasp (or slipknots) at the back. I’ve made them for men, I’ve had other women make them for men, and I’ve had men make them for themselves. My husband wears his regularly.

    Comment by: Chantel C | April 16, 2008

    I have made my husband a necklace of bone beads and wooden rounds. He wears it constantly. I have to remake it occasionally because the bead wire stretches,he always keeps after me until it is done and he can put it back on.

    Comment by: robin b | April 16, 2008

    I have had quite a few orders for men’s dogs. I do sculptural lampwork and those seem to be a big hit.


    Comment by: marcy l | April 16, 2008

    nothing works, lol. my man even hates so much beads and jewelry in general that he hates seeing me with it. to make you relax, he even hates any jewelry on me or other. so yes, i make warm knit clothes and may add a bead here or there.

    Comment by: | April 16, 2008

    Successful: A lanyard for a male friend. He collects buddha’s and I found a carved jade buddha and incorporated it with onyx, brown stone, and antiqued gold beads. He wears it every day.

    Comment by: Barb G | April 16, 2008

    I have had great success with chain maille, particularly the massively thick (12gauge wire or bigger) stuff. Seems that the chunkier it is the better. Also had great success with a foxtail weave bracelet made from neoprene rings. Not much success with beaded objects, except for the dragon from Beadwork magazine.

    Comment by: dj r | April 16, 2008

    My boys love the leather or cord necklaces with a pewter heart or a guitar pick pendant. These are easy to make and sell well in the local music stores as well. The college buys loce them. I also have make phone charms for guys..Tricky but can be done. Melinda J

    Comment by: Melinda J | April 16, 2008

    I have been trying with “Tribal Mask” type pendants that are carved in bone and then strung on a plain leather thong, to see what I’m talking about try this link ( But so far I’ve had no takers! So I haven’t ventured much into this area. Here in Spain I have noticed quite a lot of young fellas (early 20’s) wearing beaded bracelets, it’s like the rubber wristbands (for various causes) got them used to wearing something, and now that it’s not so trendy they want something else. I have seen plenty of steel jewellery on guys in their late 20’s and early 30’s and it strikes me as a great medium as it’s strong and doesn’t tarnish- anyone know where I could get some Stainless steel beads from?

    Comment by: teresa 1 | April 16, 2008

    One year I made my brother a beaded dangle for his rear view mirror, with a crystal at the end. I think it actually made the jump from the XTerra to the Sequoia.

    Comment by: Amy C | April 16, 2008

    My grandson loved an amethyst necklace I made for myself (it is his birthstone) so I came up with a “manly” version for him. It was hematite with amethyst cubes that were drilled corner-to-corner. He loves it and it’s not at all girly. He has a couple of new cord necklaces that my daughter bought for him and I promeised him when he visits this summer we will make him some new ones. He is 10 and loves to bead with me.

    Comment by: | April 16, 2008

    I have had pretty good luck with a bracelet that I make of stainless steel hexnuts and wingnuts (as the clasp) from the hardware store and leather. The bracelet is quite versatile as I can change the color of the leather or suede cord and the size of the nuts to suite the customer. A wide nut works great for the hard rocker male, a medium nut for the preppy guy, and thin ones for the lady to match. They are inexpensive and quick to make and quite different.

    Comment by: Eliza Z | April 16, 2008

    My 10 year old son is fascinated by spiral stitch and just likes to play with it. He likes using the bead loom to make Pokemon characters from patterns that we found on the web. He can use them as book marks. I found the hemp bracelet with Asian inspired ceramic beads was a hit.

    Comment by: Janet P | April 16, 2008

    Gotta tell you, my brother, who is 50, has been an extremely gifted “arts and crafts” type of guy for most of his years. His wife cares nothing for crafts, but he has quilted gorgeous quilts for my daughter and me, made quilted wallhangings, he’s done tatting and flower-pressing/painting, and right now he is into making mohair fur teddy bears of his own design. Not all guys are all thumbs…. or not interested….! but hand him beads and he shakes his head in disgust.

    Comment by: madness | April 16, 2008

    My physics-professor hubby kidnapped a tailored Swarovski Liz Smith designed bracelet of mine a few years ago to wear to Graceland. I was astonished because he is strictly an all-logic kind of guy. He doesn’t even have much interest in visual arts, much less in anything decorative. Was he going Elvis on me? A few months after that, while in Greece, he bought himself a Greek-key motif sterling bracelet set with a lapiz cabachon. I got the hint. He now has a growing collection of seed-bead type bracelets I make for him. He wears them for any event vaguely deemed dress-up, like going to work. The trick, for him, is to stay with more tailored designs, and lean toward matte finishes and darker values. Now I always know what to give him for a gift: another bracelet for his collection. Apparently (1) it depends on the guy, and (2) a leopard can change his spots when it is least expected.

    Comment by: | April 16, 2008

    I have made several heishi/carved stone elastic thread necklaces for my teenage nephew – so far the only male who has been accepting of my “jewelry”, LOL. However, both Anthony and his high-school friends love what I made him; I have orders for more from the other boys.

    Irene Behrendt

    Comment by: Irene B | April 16, 2008

    Jean Campbell is absolutely FUNNY! I really enjoy her material as I have a great laugh-out-loud time…And learn something in the process…so give her a raise or something will ya???? Marjorie Hopkins

    Comment by: Marjorie H | April 16, 2008

    My boating bead buddies have created cool bracelets and necklaces made of wood and stone beads and secured by a fishing hook holder. The guys on the island like it and request more to be made.

    Comment by: Jen B | April 16, 2008

    I too have had some strange luck with manly gifts. Anything I make for men, I test out using my hubby as my chief tester. If it lasts a week with him, I figure it will last a lifetime for anyone else. While some things I have made him have lasted, most have to be remade several times. Tried belt buckles, he managed to break the beads on the seat belt. Am now working on chain maille. So far, nothing has broken.

    Comment by: Pam P | April 16, 2008

    My husband constantly wears a turquoise bear fetish I put on a silver chain for him. And occasionally a heshi necklace with a carved bone eagle in the center. My youngest son has a real affinity for hematite and usually wears a ring of it. For his birthday I made him a bracelet of magnetic hematite with a lobster clasp and a silver feather at the clasp. He loves it and wears it all the time. In fact he asked for a second one!

    Comment by: Ingrid T | April 16, 2008

    I am a man who just happens to enjoy beading. I’m working on a peyote tapestry right now that will take me most of the year to complete. For myself, I would tend to chokers using natural stones and metals; and mettalic-beaded peyote bracelet (but I would never where one with a big button like the “his ‘n’ hers”.

    Comment by: Jeffrey A | April 16, 2008

    My teen nephews liked buying metal washers and string at the hardware store and learning to macrame surf style chokers. Keychain and cell phone baubles worked for me if the dangles were manly or cool (like skull beads or rain forest beads). Anything too “beady” did not work! –LR

    Comment by: | April 16, 2008

    I have made a few pieces for my hubby. He really liked the peyote stitched bracelet I made with bronze 0/8 seed beads. He even got several orders for me to make some for co-workers. I also wirewrapped a black onyx pendant to hang on a chain. he does wear it occasionally but it mainly stays on his bedside lamp. He is very supportive of my obsession, or as we call it my need to bead. Thanks for the wonderful articles

    Comment by: Sue V | April 16, 2008

    Loved the article!! Quite amusing and yet realistic. Definitely agree that it depends on the guy. My “guys” generally like what I make and comment on the beads and designs. I’ve made them quite a number of necklaces (to their specs) and even a badge holder for hubby, yet they never wear them. I don’t feel so bad tho, my sons have made themselves a few pieces as well and never even wear those. Looking at the bright side, I know that in a pinch, I could easily raid their stuff….recycled beads, anyone? 😉

    Comment by: Jan M | April 16, 2008

    Beading for my husband is pretty much out of the question, he just doesn’t wear jewelry – knitting for him is also a chore, he’s so big it takes twice as long as any other project and getting the right fit is always a challenge. Beading for my son, 19 yrs old, is another matter, he likes to wear jewelry – one thing I have found out when it comes to men, is that they like things to be even, same size beads, no mixing small beads with larger beads, even, even, even and always in manly colors – I use a lot of wood, bone, shell and a little turquoise for most of my manly jewelry. Wire seems to last the longest, with double crimps but it’s a given that clasps will have to be replaced regularly.

    Comment by: Andrea M | April 16, 2008

    I LOVED your sense of humor in the beading for men article!! I have never wasted the time to make my husband anything beaded because a friend of ours (Native American who beads beautifully) made him (1) a belt buckle which he lost, (2) a keychain which he destroyed. I don’t know that anything would be worth the effort as he seems to be pretty hard on beads! But at least he likes it when I buy them!!

    Comment by: Mimi M | April 16, 2008

    One of my sons really likes a simple strand of hematite tube beads–I’ve restrung it for him twice now! And my dh loves a strand of alternating chevron beads and round/nugget shaped silver spacers–I’ve sold a couple of these to guys, too.

    Comment by: Amy G | April 16, 2008

    My little bro is graduating from college in December, so I thought I’d try a chain maille watch for him, but he doesn’t wear jewelry at all that I’m aware of. I guess he’ll just have to deal! =D

    Comment by: julie m | April 16, 2008

    My son likes to make comments about my work, but not to wear it, he is 19. My husband surprised me eith asking for neclaces, he has four now, and wears one every day, he tells me exactly what he wants, so that is easy.

    Comment by: monica f | April 16, 2008

    Last year I made a Euro 4-in-1 bracelet (16g 4mm ID) that I thought my 16 yr old nephew would like. It had started to tarnish by Christmas (I was wearing it). I asked if he would like it. He took it off my arm and put it on. It was too big and he struggled with the S clasp, but I think he’s still wearing it.

    Comment by: Mary Aline J | April 16, 2008

    I beaded a hatband with “puppy paws” all areond it using a diagonal weave and my husband loves it! Lorna C

    Comment by: Lorna C | April 16, 2008

    I beaded a hatband with “puppy paws” all areond it using a diagonal weave and my husband loves it! Lorna C

    Comment by: Lorna C | April 16, 2008

    I made a beaded star charm for his phone. He loves it, as it is what he grabs when he pulls his phone out of his holder. Fortunately, it is pretty sturdy. His “strawberry” beaded phone charm died after too many pulls. =)

    Comment by: Rhonda K | April 16, 2008

    Forgot to say the “he” in my comments is my husband.

    Comment by: Rhonda K | April 16, 2008

    Jean, you’re a hoot, that’s what you are! Comments are great so far. I have six brothers and have beaded many items for wives and girlfriends, but have been waiting for inspiration for the brothers. All these suggestions have helped greatly.

    I’ve made two eyeglass holders for my husband, since he’s got two sets of glasses. One holder I made with a dark polished type of glass bead that has an irridescent finish. The second holder I made with these fun glass camouflage beads about 6mm in size with a bronze spacer that looks like those round ninja weapons, about 4mm in size. He loves them both and wears them all the time, but I think he likes the camouflage/ninja one the best. He is, like most men, very hard on things, and I’ve had to restring the dark irridescent once. I also made him a bookmark from a pewter dragon. Spent all this time spiraling cooper wire and red and orange beads so the design looked like fire out of the dragon’s mouth. He broke it almost immediately. So now he uses the dragon without the fire, darn it to heck. Men are just so hard on things.

    Thanks for all the great suggestions, and for your sense of humor jean.

    Comment by: Rita M | April 16, 2008

    I really love all the stories/comments about this subject. I forgot to say that my nephew has asked me to fix several of his necklaces… Jean, you and your friends sound like my kind of gals. About the screaming around the campfire, I was LOL. This is right up my alley along with my sister and niece. We had a old vacuum smashing party once, but that is off the subject, so enough said.

    Comment by: Noreen N | April 16, 2008

    I beaded the handle of a rubber mallet with #8’s. It hangs proudly on his workbench!

    Comment by: Sheila M | April 16, 2008

    Ladies, I debated whether or not to share this with you, but then thought, oh what the heck. A few Christmases back, I beaded my husband a sex toy. Yep. It was a MUCH bigger hit than the cufflinks I made him. It’s about 18″ of 10mm dark green potato freshwater pearls, knotted on crimson (!) silk, with a big textured silver tibetan bead at either end. I dubbed it “The Tibetan Cobra”. Your imagination will do the rest. The only change I would make to it at this point, though, is I would make it a good bit longer, say 24″. Maybe next birthday present! –A Sheepish Kelli P.

    Comment by: | April 16, 2008

    I’ve helped my dad repair, or repaired them myself, several SS indian bead necklaces that he wears.

    Its interesting, I helped my dad embellish his walking stick. He wrapped it in leather, and we picked out beads to string on the leather ends. He still uses several years later.

    Comment by: Leyla K | April 16, 2008

    My boyfriend is a die-hard UNC basketball fan, so I made him a simple elastic-strung bracelet using Carolina blue beads. He’s been wearing it ever since.

    Comment by: Regina M | April 16, 2008

    It’s just great fun to read you Jean Campbell. Beading for men? I haven’t really tried yet… it thus is extremely interesting to read your post AND the comments. Thank you so much!

    Comment by: | April 16, 2008

    I made turquoise, black onyx and sterling beads in a necklace for my son and he loves it and wears it all the time, I also made him a leather necklace with 3 knots in the middle and a cross hanging from the center knot. I also have made quite a few necklaces for my brother in law and nephews. My son and my nephews all know how to bead. Last mother’s day I took my 2 nephews 11 and 4 and my niece 9 to the bead store they picked all the beads, clasps, etc and came up with their own patterns all did was finish them and my sister their mother loved all of them and wears them all the time! Even a 4 year old boy is capable of beading!

    Comment by: cindy o | April 16, 2008

    One of my first completely improvised beading projects was a pseudo-Native-American-style necklace for my nephew, who was then four or five years old. A rectangular peyote panel about 2.5″ x 3.5″ depicted a cloud with stylized rain falling from it, ending in fringes tipped with clear glass “raindrops.” The whole thing hung from a ladder-stitched chain, and it was all in several shades of opaque blue and white seed beads. My nephew loved it!

    He’s ten now, and I recently made a somewhat more authentic-looking piece for him: a circular Native American peyote pattern in black, white, red, and teal green seeds, with a patterned square-stitch cord and symmetrical fringes tipped in silver feather charms. Another hit!

    For my brother, a musician, I made a sleek beaded guitar pick case that slips neatly around his guitar strap. It was all done in flat peyote with Delicas in shades of bronze, copper, and gold, and his initials were worked into the pattern.

    He hated it. ~sigh~

    But my nephew loves everything I make for him! 🙂

    Comment by: Carol K | April 16, 2008

    My spouse-man was NOT at ALL interested in my making him something with beads until I suggested a key fob for his motorcycle key. Then he got so interested that he even looked through my Delicas with me to pick out the exactly right shades of yellow and blue to match the logo of his motorcycle. Boys like beads as long as they are the boy kind.

    — Tina Koyama

    Comment by: | April 16, 2008

    My 10 year old son caught the beading bug by watching me do my first peyote stitch. He caught on in an instant and I set him up with his own project. He likes to do it before going to sleep.

    Comment by: Patricia G | April 16, 2008

    Instead of making it for men, let them design their own jewelry as Clyde did at my beading party (my teaching business):

    Comment by: Pearl B | April 16, 2008

    Beading for the Boys. I made a couple of my sons seed beaded hangings for their cars – in their favorite NFL teams colors. Not sure if that worked! And for my husband I made a rosary using faceted red tigereye beads with a 14K gold crucifix. He must like it as he uses it every day.

    Comment by: Jocille D | April 16, 2008

    I have to say that beading for the men in my life has been and is the most challengeing beading that I have done, even more so than the classes I have taken with ‘Cynthia Rutlegge’ and other great beaders and teachers. I am an all glizt and glimmer gal and to think minimally is what it takes for ‘most’ men. Most of the men I know don’t wear any or very little jewelry so thinking out of the box is crucial. I have found that the piece most often than not must mean something to the man in question or be somewhat practical and most of all easy to put on and take off, and easy to use. The most challenging aspect to my men’s pieces is trying to use other techniques than basic stringing. But I must say the guys like pieces that are just that, basic and strung. Debbie McDermott

    Comment by: Debbie M | April 16, 2008

    I’ve made a few things for men that were successful. One was a Byzantine chain maille bracelet made with very heavy 10mm antique copper rings. Another was a simple black leather choker with a hematite arrowhead focal flanked by two silver and two malachite rondelles – that’s one of my husband’s favorites. My husband, who is very macho-looking, but progressive in his thinking, will wear necklaces – the trick is to make them short enough so they don’t get lost in the chest hair! He wears bracelets only when we’re going out somewhere; otherwise the bracelet bangs against the computer keyboard. His favorite materials are leather, sterling, copper, gunmetal, hematite, malachite, and ocean jasper. And he’s ok with most of the “masculine” stones in greys, browns, blacks, blues and greens, as well as wood, shell, and some lampwork beads. He doesn’t approve of anything transparent and faceted, or floral, or too fussy, or delicate, or anything made with beading wire. Beading wire – even 49-strand .024″ doesn’t hold up to his kind of wear.

    I’ve sold a few leather, shell heishi, and wood chokers to younger guys at craft fairs, and a few leather and stone chokers and bracelets. I also made matching silver and lapis chain maille bracelets for a gay couple’s commitment ceremony – does that count?

    In any case, I’ve found that when designing for men, the keywords are “simple” and “sturdy”. And watching what men wear as jewelry, my husband’s favorite materials seem to be pretty typical of the gender.

    Comment by: Karo – Bead Poetry | April 16, 2008

    I make a cancer awareness bracelet for men that has been very successful. It is leather with a few ceramic beads with a square sterling “abc” bead with the awareness symbol.

    Comment by: Heather M | April 16, 2008

    I’ve made several chokers for my husband, some macrame ones using hemp and various “manly” coloured stones. The ones he likes best, however, are made of hematite and Bali silver, strung with silver chain. I sometimes incorporate, at his request, some semi-precious beads to match a particular shirt. Can’t get him to wear bracelets though. My young grandsons are rather fond of pendants, such as a pewter skull and crossbones, a bone shark’s tooth or a hematite arrowhead strung on various colours of leather. They think Nanny is “way cool”to be able to make such great jewellery.

    Comment by: Gillian J | April 16, 2008

    I made my husband a tie chain from stone chips and memory wire. He loved it and wore it frequently until it was lost in a move.

    Comment by: Laura T | April 16, 2008

    I made bracelets for our grandsons, 7 & 10 yrs. Using wood beads and alphabet beads with their names and they really liked them.

    Comment by: Betty M | April 16, 2008

    My nephew thought that a beaded container I made for my sister-in-law had the same feel and look as snakeskin. I found a picture of a python on the web, and used it to create a pattern to make a cuff for him, backed with suede and fastened with a two leather cords. He loved it.

    Comment by: Sherrie B | April 16, 2008

    I have had several successful boy gifts. My husband has two favorites, one is a necklace with med. sized barrel shaped black coral beads with bali silver. This one looked so nice he had someone try to buy it off his neck while on vacation. The other is a similiar necklace but made with tiger eye barrels. I have also had luck with neclaces for my nephews.One nephew is a hunter and lives in camo, so I made him a necklace with a green and cream colored agate to match the camo. The other nephew is a rock and roller so he recieved a choker of black onyx doughnuts laced into black suede. It seemed to go over quite well. M.Looper

    Comment by: | April 16, 2008

    For Valentine’s I made my husband who does not wear any jewelry besides his watch…ever…a Full Persian Chainmaille Bracelet out of sterling silver & black rubber rings. He wears it almost everyday. In fact all his friends have asked about it and some have even bought their own! One is being shipped off to my brother now for his birthday, we’ll see how he likes it.

    Comment by: Mandy M | April 16, 2008

    Succesful nedcklaces for my son have consisted of 12mm bronzite with copper spacers. Bone shaped yellow turqouise with a carved kamodo dragon pendant.8mm green goldstone with silver spacers. Unsuccessful using toggles and magnetic clasps. Young men are just to active. Lupe

    Comment by: Lupe T | April 17, 2008

    My husband — a guitar-playing closet hippie in a very responsible corporate job — has recently taken to sitting down with me to bead. Honestly, it makes me nuts! He is one of those types who is good at everything he does, and I don’t like the competition!! LOL!! He adapted a woman’s ankle bracelet I made that has been a popular seller in my collection to a bracelet for himself using large African trade beads and a small sterling peace sign charm. We made a lanyard for his work badge using the same theme/materials. Inspired by this success, he made a couple of men’s bracelets for me to sell with my collection. My favorite was one using environmentally friendly “farmed” orange coral — the only kind I will use — and carved black jade. It turned out so nicely, he decided to keep it for himself. Since then, a friend of mine told me she saw something similar on the arm of a famous rock guitar God. Sweet!

    Comment by: Lisa A | April 17, 2008

    My father was so impressed with one of mny peyote stitch bracelets in a geometric design of sky blue, silver, and black, that I immediately gave it to him. He enjoyed it and wore it constantly. One of the things he liked about it was that there were no metals involved (he had a metal allergy.) He passed on last month and the bracelet is now one of my favorite pieces.

    Comment by: Kathleen P | April 17, 2008

    I haven’t made jewellery for men, but I have made it for my sons. My younger one loves wearing it, when he is not jumping and running around. Its usually stretchy bracelets and cord necklaces made with wooden, shell, metal beads and anything with dragons. It is my hope that being brought up in a house that is full of beautiful things and beads, they will appreciate beauty when they grow up and you never know, they may take up beading or a craft.

    Comment by: samantha e | April 17, 2008

    SUCCESSFUL – I made a square stitch bracelet for my 22 year old son. He adores it and wants more, he also stole a necklace I made for myself.

    Comment by: yvonne j | April 17, 2008

    SUCCESSFUL – I made a square stitch bracelet for my 22 year old son. He adores it and wants more, he also stole a necklace I made for myself.

    Comment by: yvonne j | April 17, 2008

    I have made both of my boyfriends son’s necklaces, they wear them regularly (made of frosted seed beads with a silver “Son” bead in the center)and I have made the boyfriend a necklace with wooden and bone beads with a shell(we found it together while vacationing in Cape Cod) in the center. He keeps breaking the necklace and hounds me about fixing it – I finally showed him how to fix it himself, he wears it almost every day.

    Comment by: Robyn N | April 17, 2008

    My three year old son adores any stretchy bracklet and I have made him “bead people” made out of different sport beeds(a football person, soccer, baseball and basketball), he wants more.

    Comment by: Robyn N | April 17, 2008

    Successful: I loomed coasters and stitched absorbant shammy to the underside. A set with a golf theme for my Grandpa and a set with Martini glasses and his initial for the boyfriend.

    Comment by: M M | April 17, 2008

    For a pirate party I made a copper chain necklace with a new jade Chinese symbol focal bead and, for a disco party, I made a leather necklace with an intricately carved bone focal bead. My husband was quite proud of them and all the compliments he received.

    Comment by: Kathryn Tyre | April 17, 2008

    One of the things I make are knotted waxed linen and stone bracelets. I have had several men request bracelets or necklaces made like this recently, (and these are men in there 40’s +, not teens!). One man even said “No one at these shows makes good jewelry for men.” Well as you can guess I’m going to start making larger bracelets and a few necklaces with stone and bone beads for the men. Paula L. Michalowski Long Island, N.Y

    Comment by: Paula M | April 17, 2008


    Thanks for the beading for boys tips and a big thank you for sharing a picture of your handsome brother!!!!

    Comment by: Allison S | April 17, 2008

    I made a square stitch bracelet which my (then 13 yr old) son liked so much he stole it off me and then begged me to make some more for his friends. He’s now 15 and buys some of my bracelets and earrings to sell at school. I don’t ask what his markup is but probably considerable. he will go far

    Comment by: Eleanor J | April 17, 2008

    I have had lots of orders for hemp chokers for men and teenage boys . they have shell pieces, or arrowhead, gemstone, bear or wolf vocal beads with button clasps. Good reviews from them all. My husband wears one to work and is always getting compliments. It is the only NON useful gift I have ever made that men like. brenda salzano

    Comment by: brenda S | April 17, 2008

    I remember a few years ago at a show – I had a number of loomed bracelets with a ball and socket closure on them. I never thought of them as being for a man, but a gentlemen came up to my booth, admired them, tried one on….liked it and bought it! First and only time that has happened!

    Comment by: Jannifer l | April 17, 2008

    I’ve made two things for the boys in my life. My husband is into crabs (his zodiac sign) and I found a beautiful carved wood crab bead and incorporated into a simple wood and copper bead necklace; he wears it often. I made my son a bracelet with gunmetal and black cubes, with a magnetic clasp. He likes it, but is afraid to wear it near his laptop (which he is always near). Someday I’ll switch the clasp and maybe it will be more successful.

    Comment by: Karen N | April 17, 2008

    I have had pretty good luck with a bracelet that I make of stainless steel hexnuts and wingnuts (as the clasp) from the hardware store and leather. The bracelet is quite versatile as I can change the color of the leather or suede cord and the size of the nuts to suite the customer. A wide nut works great for the hard rocker male, a medium nut for the preppy guy, and thin ones for the lady to match. They are inexpensive and quick to make and quite different.

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    Comment by: Eliza Z | April 17, 2008

    I’ve made several “guy” necklaces for my husband (who never wore jewelry before he became a “rock star.”) They’re very simple: one good sized focal bead (a carved eagle, a large piece of turquoise, a beautiful sterling guitar pick) with little or no other beads on leather straps and hook/eye closures. He can put them on by himself, and he looks pretty cool – even to his own eye. I guess you just need to be sure it’s not fluffy or girly – and if other guys see them and tell you they’re cool, all the better. I guess he gets lots of comments on them, so he’s more confident to wear them. I love it.

    Comment by: | April 17, 2008

    As a man who beads I have made 4 necklaces for myself and I don’t really know how many more for my wife, mom, sister, aunts and cousins. Personally, 2 colors (such as red and black or black and blue) is best. More than that seems to be too effeminate for me. My necklaces are also fairly short, choker length. One of mine is a chain with embellishments and another has a leather cord that I can adjust the length of depending on the shirt collar. I make altogether different ones for the ladies in my life, of course. Incidentally, my wife also beads, but I got her into it, not the other way around. 🙂


    Comment by: Alan K | April 18, 2008

    I must be one of the lucky ones because everything that I have made for my beloved, he wears all the time.He only takes them off to shower and when he gets home from work.I’ve made him a hematite and turquoise necklace that has a wooden sun pendant-it’s his favourite piece.When we went to his family for Christmas, his uncle badgered him for the pendant and me for a matching necklace so that he could wear it.Now they both have a similar necklace each because the uncle got the original sun pendant and I bought a new one for my generous love.He also wears four bracelets that I made him and our son wears a necklace that is similar to his dad’s but has a dragon pendant.I think if they are given input into what’s being made they wear it more than if you just make it and give it.

    Comment by: Nina G | April 18, 2008

    My life is Jewelry making! My fiancé is very simple; although he is my biggest fan he isn’t much into jewelry. His idea of a wedding ring was basically, take a hollow pipe and cut off a 1/4-inch piece! I made the Ring-a-ding ring from silver and gold wire, some twisted. I made the first one it came out a little less than perfect but I decided to show my fiancé my newest creation! He said “wow is that for me?” took it from me put it on and hasn’t taken it off! Later he said, “This can just be my wedding ring.” I was very surprised to say the least. I tried to get him to let me make a better one that was perfect and he wont let me!

    Comment by: Jessica C | April 18, 2008

    My husband was facinated watching me bead so he wanted to play too. He bacame quite good with the loom and made beautiful hat bands backed with leather with nice donuts for closures. He also made beautiful hornpipe chokers. He passed away last year, but his jewelry lives on! Now those items he made for friends and family mean so much more.

    Comment by: Jan K | April 18, 2008

    Beading for Boys: My necklaces with heishi beads and beads seem to go over! And my bookmarks, also. My grandson (9) is just getting started in beading, too. He his making a necklace, ankle bracelets! Yikes! Next thing he’ll be taking my beads. I love beading! Just made a polymer clay necklace and earrings to match! Oh! Your brother is cute,also.Successful, or Not successful, it’s all good and takes time. Thanks.

    Comment by: victoria c | April 18, 2008

    Beading for Boys: My necklaces with heishi beads and beads seem to go over! And my bookmarks, also. My grandson (9) is just getting started in beading, too. He his making a necklace, ankle bracelets! Yikes! Next thing he’ll be taking my beads. I love beading! Just made a polymer clay necklace and earrings to match! Oh! Your brother is cute,also.Successful, or Not successful, it’s all good and takes time. Thanks.

    Comment by: victoria c | April 18, 2008

    I got lucky… I made my husband a necklace of Bali and black onyx beads and he loved it.

    Comment by: JoAnne S | April 19, 2008

    Just this week I gave my boss, who is retiring at month end, a dreamcatcher that I made last weekend (he likes Native American things). I wrapped a 3″ brass ring w/waxed linen, made double layer peyote for the north, south, east & west points of the ring and used the waxed linen for the woven center including 3 dangles with coral and turquoise beads and a fine silver feather I made. It turned out beautiful and he was thrilled when he opened the box. He will hang it in his truck just as I intended it for. Now I will have to make another one for myself as I also like Native American things and it turned out way better than I thought it would. SJH

    Comment by: Susan H | April 19, 2008

    I think the comment about men having trouble with bracelets or longer necklaces clanking and catching is interesting, since those are objections I have too. And I never make jewelry tougher for men than for women, since I also require very tough jewelry, with practical toggles. And on Spectra line instead of Sofflex, which will deform when stuffed in a pocket.

    I gave my future son in law two necklaces (before I’d even met him) which were both very successful. One was quite simple: a big hole cylindrical borosilcate lampwork bead on 4 mm braided leather with a couple bali beads on either side, and heavy bali end caps. The other was more ornate: a full set of 10-12 mm borosilicate lampwork with 12, 10 and 8 mm pyrite rounds and lots of bali. Larger findings cost more but provide a visual balance. Slightly ornate work in subtle colors worked well.

    I’ve also make traditional 3 or 4 strand chokers with bone hornpipe or dentalia.

    My husband loves the beaded crochet bag I made him. Single crochet cotton, through both top threads makes it almost indestructible: a varigated pattern of blues, a bead in every stitch.

    A long haired hippy musher postman wears big beautiful beaded barrets his wife makes.

    Zipper pulls work better for me than cell phone charms, and for my daughter’s wedding I’m making uni-sex pendants that can be used for a necklace, cell phone, zipper or key chain.

    I haven’t been very successful with necklaces for my bearded husband, though a mountain man necklace is in the works for my daughter’s wedding. For him, I’ve bead around walking sticks, and also made peyote bezels around some of his healing stones.

    Comment by: Christina P | April 19, 2008

    My 12 year old son won’t wear anything, but he has come up with many variations on his own using peyote stitch with several sizes of seed beads in a single piece. Oddly, he does a lot of “girly” items, bracelets with pinks and purples. Some he sells to girls at school, others he makes specifically to give to one of his 4 little sisters.

    My husband doesn’t wear much jewelry either, but he came up with an awesome piece for one of my friends after her younger sister died, a single strand necklace that “flaired” into two strands and attached an angel charm to it. It’s gorgeous and I’m still trying to figure out how he did it. The technique is simple, but I just can’t seem to get them to hang properly when I make them.

    Comment by: Kimber J | April 21, 2008

    Beading for Boys: How about those beaded pen kits? I bet there are some guys out there that could use a pen or two. I haven’t tried it yet. But I would like too.

    Comment by: | April 21, 2008

  2. My husband and guy friends love their 4 row peyote bracelets with a snap. I make them with cylinders in matte black along with matte metallic colors of gold and gray.

  3. How did I miss this article?!? I think you’ve featured a photo of my boyz’ bracelet on another topic. With two of my own, and a business catering to teen boyz & young adults, my jewelry designing started with this niche. They like a “masculine” take on “Mother’s Bracelets” using their nicknames on letter beads and stones like black stone, tiger eye, red jasper, and even a few Swarovski crystals for “bling.” They also love chunky and/or stretchy chain maille. For sales, price points are key… $20 dollars seems to be the magic number.

  4. I have had reasonably good success making and selling beaded jewelry for men. You just have to remember a couple key things. One: keep it simple. Two: use basic or natural colors, and not too many at a time. Three: incorporate items they are familiar with and associate with being male. Like metal nuts and washers, fishing sinkers, etc. Four: make it like your dog was going to wear it. By that I mean make it STRONG! I only use the tigertail or similar to string for mens jewelry, and I have yet to have a return for breakage. Five: keep the price low. Most men do not put the priority on accessories most women do. Hope this helps.

  5. I’ve made a few choker type necklaces with a simple wire wrapped center stone and leather cord. The stones were still in rough form and usually disk shaped. The wire was hammered 18 gauge sterling and as minimal as I could get it and still secure the stone.

  6. I’ve made 19 necklaces for my husband since he bought his first necklace for himself when in Hawaii on vacation. For $160 he purchased a phenomenal black macrame and boar’s tusk necklace. The tusks curve toward each other similar to a crescent moon and are about 4 inches in length. Everywhere he goes people want to come up to him and touch it, find out what it is, and whether it is real or not. People have chased him out of restaurants to ask about it. So this gave him a very postive experience with wearing jewelry. The first one that I made for him, I think was my best. He selected a lampworked lava vessel bead in HA at DACS Beads. I used willy-willy seeds also from HA which are grey with a velvety texture along with turquoise rondelles with a lot of matrix along with some blue smooth turqouise nuggets. He has gotten a lot of compliments on everything I’ve made him. He had stone and brass idol beads from when he was a sailor which I used as pendants with kukui nuts and shells or crow beads with metallic spacers for a tribal look. He had a white heishi puka shell choker from his youth which he had never worn which his neck had outgrown. I took that apart and used it with red coral beads with a bone fishhook pendant. When the bead holes are large enough, a leather cord with two adjustable slip knots is good for adjusting the length. Otherwise I have been using beading wire with lobster claw clasps. On a few I have added a large-linked tail chain to make it adjustable. With his Hawaiian shirts a shorter length works better than when he is wearing something with a turtleneck. He loves wearing them and finding occasions to wear them. We’ve been married about 26 years and I have only been beading for about 4 years. When he accompanies me to a bead shop, I ask him if he sees anything that he likes. Fonda Fox