Find Your First Easy Steps to Seed Beading

One of my ongoing burning questions has NEVER been “to bead or not to bead” but rather “WHAT to bead or not to bead.” That is a serious question, is it not?

A bead explosion in my closet

Seed beading, wireworking, gemstone beading, lampworking, fabric beading (a personal favorite), stringing, silver fabrication: they’re all appealing. But I simply haven’t found a way to stay awake 24/7 in order to do all the types of jewelry making that I crave.

I have an entire closet full of crafting impulse buys—kits, books, etc. These are constant reminders (or closet reminders) of temporary, insane, expensive moments when I actually thought making my first appliqué quilt in a weekend was possible (that’s what the kit said). I’m sure many of you Beading Daily readers share my inflated crafting optimism.

Beading confessions

My first Beading Daily confession follows. My deep, dark secret is that I've bystepped any and all seed beading. Not because I don't enjoy the bazillions of tiny explosions of colors, shapes, and finishes seed beads offer or the luscious creations, from jewelry to purses, you've all shown me over the years. My hesitation comes from the fact that once you get the hang of that almighty peyote or herringbone, you can never go back: spending every waking moment hunched over a tiny 6×6 area piled high with teeny beads, missing out on various parts of your lives (OK maybe not that far)-all for the thrill of the "almighty seed."

I've heard the stories of skipping and racing down the aisles of bead shows, grabbing for the newest and latest seed-bead vials as if they were gourmet chocolates. I've watched bead show attendees hide masses of those precious vials in unmarked brown paper bags in the trunk of their car so husbands/boyfriends/kids don't see them. I've even seen my friends skip a meal to shop another 15 minutes (there's always a vending machine nearby). I've asked myself, "Do I really want another crafting obsession?" I'm running out of room in my closet.

Seed beads are my new treat

Content to hold out for many years, happy with my chosen forms of beads and beadworking, I felt safe and secure, knowing none of my 401K would ever go to those addictively pretty little vials. Until I stepped into Beading Daily. I didn’t even last a month seed-bead-free in this candy store. My recent assignment: review Leslie Rogalski’s new Doodlebeads Volume 2 DVD. I calmly sat down with a cup of java, knowing I’d need it to stay awake.

I haven’t been this wrong since Beanie Babies trumped real estate as the ultimate investment (totally different story)! Thanks to Leslie’s ultimate temptation—video beadweaving lessons that break things down into easy 1-2-3 visual lessons—my resistance is disappearing. Now, I’m fighting every urge to run out to the nearest supplier to buy my own precious bead vials for my first seed-bead project. Darn you, Leslie, and your Doodlebeads. You got me. Wish me luck!

Tell me how you got started with the almighty seed!


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Kristal Wick

About Kristal Wick


Residing in breathtaking Colorado, Beading Daily Editor, award winning designer and one of 33 worldwide official Swarovski Ambassadors teaches for CRYSTALLIZED™ - Swarovski Elements. Kristal’s creations have been represented in galleries spanning the globe including Canyon Rd. - Santa Fe, Alaska, Cayman Islands, Italy, Germany & the Virgin Islands.

Kristal’s other fashion projects include designing & creating jewelry for the Jimmy Buffet Band backup singers & dancers.  Kristal also teaches worldwide and on cruise ships.

Kristal released her first self published book in 2005, Sassy Silky Savvy and her latest Interweave Press release, Fabulous Fabric Beads, fall 2008 and has been a best seller in 5 categories on since its release.

Kristal’s latest achievements:

2010 1st place in the K. Gottfried, Inc. Worldwide Design Contest

2009 3rd place in the K. Gottfried, Inc. Worldwide Design Contest

2009 CHA’s Indie Craft Contest

2008 Bead & Button’s Bead Dreams competition

2008 Interweave’s Bead Star competition

2008 3rd place in the international design competition sponsored by the Washington DC Bead Museum, Celebrating Beads.

Kristal has also appeared on HGTV and the PBS shows, Beads Baubles and Jewels and Quilting Arts numerous times. Her designs have been featured in over 35 magazines.

Check out her website:





24 thoughts on “Find Your First Easy Steps to Seed Beading

  1. Kristal
    If you start making even one small piece you will be addicted. Know that there is no cure, no rehab or treatment for this addiction. When a friend and I took our first stringing class we saw the vials of tiny beads and swore we would never be bothered with such little beads, that you couldn’t even see them. I now have to stand up and say my name is Philonese and I am a seed bead addict. Touch one and you’ll never be able to turn back. BUT it is such endless enjoyment, that you won’t be looking for a cure. That’s why there isn’t a cure, none of us can take time away from seed beading to create a cure, treatment or establish a rehab. So welcome to our world.

  2. I am a child of the 70’s, seed beads were so in, that I do not think a piece of my clothing was not adorned with embriodered seed beads. Most of the beads back then were your traditional American Indian colors, nothing like what is on the market today.
    Started making Jewelry about 8 years ago and was and am hooked on metals, rocks(any kind and any shape).
    Seed beads really were not in the mix until recently….the cost of a strand of beads and all the silver findings that go with them can be pricey.
    Due to the current economic crunch an afordable means of being creative in the Jewelry arts has led to an addiction of learning the stitches and creating on an affordable level.
    There is nothing prettier than a Bezel Set Cab in seed beads….
    The Artistic level of beadwork on BD is amazing and every piece of eye candy is spectacular…This in iiself is enough inspiration to say ” I will learn how to do that ”

  3. In the early 70’s,I wanted to grow African Violets, like my grandma, but I kept killing them with lack of water. I found a book of French Beaded flowers, now a classic, and started making violets to give to my mom. A local 5 & 10 carried seed beads in tubes and I bought some. From there the rest is history. I have always worked with seed beads and love the new many colors we now have available. From amulets, bracelets, earrings, rings, doll house rugs and furniture, and now to larger tapestries, I am forever hooked on seed beads. My prefered stitch is square stitch because I can take it when we travel. .

  4. Whenever someone comes into my shop & sees the seed bead items they almost always have the same reaction….”I could NEVER do that! The beads are too small and it looks much too complicated!”

    However, if I can get them started on a simple beginner project, they begin to believe that those beads aren’t that small nor is it nearly as difficult as they first believed. Usually at that point, they are hooked.

    It’s so amazing to make a gorgeous project out of something so insignificant (and usually inexpensive) as a seed bead. You would now have to peel my thread, needle & seed beads out of my cold, dead hand before I give them up!

  5. And for goodness sakes, don’t forget to have a copy of MASTERING BEADWORK at hand. A comprehensive resource for new beaders and source of continued beadwork education for seasoned beaders.

  6. Thanks Gang,

    I feel better now knowing I am not alone in my addiction…
    How in the world can seed beads rule over Swarovski tiny bicone crystals?
    I am HEAVILY hooked on those so now must I add even MORE storage shelves for the tempting vials?

  7. I, in fact have one of those little bags in my purse, waiting for hubby to go to bed so I can slide my new colors into the HUGE collection of seedbeeds.. I saw some today there were so small I couldn’t see the hole in them..(those I resisted) You can’t not love seed beads.. oh and just a side note, do not leave your seed bead project any where near a 2 year old Jack Russell Terror. you will be sortng colors forever!!!!!!!!

  8. Sounds like you’re nearly hooked (laughs evilly).

    Seed beads are the very first beads I remember using as a kid (remember friendship pins?). After that fad passed I forgot about beads for many years, until a co-worker saw me cross-stitching on my lunch break and said “if you like that you should try loom beading-it’s nearly the same thing”. A trip to the craft store and a lesson or two later and it was all over for me. Then said friend took me to a couple of bead stores and a bead show and you can just about guess the rest of the story.

  9. This is just NOT RIGHT! No one warned me that seed beads were addictive!!!! I rarely make jewelry for anyone but myself. And I never needed to, because I wear all that I make – no leftovers, no mediocre necklace strands, no overabundance of bracelets…. I wish you had written this blog two weeks ago. I have seed beads purchased from 2-3 years ago for special projects (for ME, of course!). I never would have taken the next step! Once my projects requiring seed beads were completed, the seed beads were stored….waiting…waiting…..for what? I didn’t know. Bead crochet has always tempted me, and I finally had the energy and motivation to sit down and teach myself the method. Well, for my aging eyes, the stitches are just too small. BUT, there was an easy instruction for making looped bracelets. Oh no….never should have gone there. Now, I have made bracelets and necklace sets for my nieces, and for me….and I can’t stop. NOW you tell me there are more things I could do without crocheting! No…no…NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!

  10. Welcome to the world of seed bead addicts Kristal!

    I remember making daisy chains in the early ’70s with my big sister, using beads that were in glass tubes. My addition didn’t “take” until 2003 when I saw a seed bead project on the cover of a magazine and it changed how I looked at beads. I remember thinking “I didn’t know you could do THAT with beads!” Now my addiction has grown into its very own store, four years old!

    Now that you’ve got the seed bead addiction, I can’t wait to see what wonderful things you’ll design with them!

  11. What a chuckle! I have to be honest and say that my patience has grown thinner and I certainly bought plenty of seed beads, however I was in a hurry to produce something anything. Seed Beading looked so intimidating even with all the great advice. I skipped merrily into wire wrapping and headpins and was stoked with the outcomes. Then I decided to see if I could get any of my girlfriends hooked to have someone to talk to about this obsession of mine. I ordered a couple of kits and Jo was to be my pray. We got into the champagne and I couldn’t resist the opportune moment and got her into making a gypsy bracelet. This left me with the seed beads and yes it backfired on me and somehow calmed me down to its level. The result was stunning! Rats
    But for those of you out there who were like me, I can recommend buying a kit to get your feet wet. I bought The Midas Touch from tapestrybeads and guess I’ll never look back now! There is a depth to beadwork, a richness that satisfy’s. I have lost all my uncertainties.

  12. I wish you luck! Welcome to the wonderful world of seeds. I don’t think you’ll want to go back once you experience the versatility. The question will be not which color do I need, but rather how many different colors can I afford!

  13. GREAT…
    I’ve been warned by all your fun comments!
    I surprised my BFF with a seed bead kit for each of us and she’s thrilled to be learning together. I’ll keep you all posted and of course be asking for advice!

    Do you have a fave stitch?


    Join me LIVE on Facebook and Twitter for our first Beading Daily Seed Bead Soiree Friday July 9th 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm (mountain time). I’ll be learning how to seed bead.

    This should be a hoot!

  15. I got started seed beading about three or four years ago when I got the bright idea I wanted to learn peyote and fringe from reading various books and magazines. Woe is me and soon to be you as well. Seed beads are like rabbits, they just keep multiplying until they take over your beading tables, your beading storage and soon you are buying little containers and storage systems to keep them in. There are always new colors coming out to tempt you and you know when you buy you will never never use all of them in your lifetime but you still have to have them. I vote for a seed beaders anonymous group to help those of us who are sorely addicted. On top of that, there is always that new project you just have to try and that new stitch to learn and gosh, don’t they require new colors? I can’t believe you have avoided them all these years but they have you in their clutches now. Yes, it is addicting and nothing calms the mind like stitching a new project using those little monsters. And it is always a challenge to find new things to do with them as well. Soon, boxes and bottles in your home will be covered in those tiny little gems because you will just have to read Dustin’s book and find out how to do that. Soon, fringe will start popping up everywhere like the grass in the summer. But all in all, you will love every minute of it and will wonder why in the world you waited so long. Of course that only lasts as long as your eyesight for stitching the little buggers.

  16. SEED BEADS…….LOVE ‘EM!!!!!!

    I can relate to all of the above stories. My beading time starts around 9:30 p.m. and usually before I know it, the clock chimes 3:00 a.m. I’m also a product of 60’s and found myself going into bead shops constantly and shyly looking. I had wanted to take a class for over 20 years. I found a bead shop that was user friendly, and I just happened to visit them while they were in the process of teaching a class. I nervously signed up. End of story

  17. Don’t worry about all those sparkling lovelies you think you left behind. You’ll soon find them keeping very close company with all those tiny new friends – they love each other!!!!! Welcome to the addition!

  18. In the early 90’s I was hospitalized for a mental illness. When I was released they assigned me to this ‘After Care’ class with a wonderful woman who’s goal it was to introduce me to things in the world that due to my situation, I hadn’t been introduced before. I was a teenager. I’d never beed to a movie theater, zoo, or bowling. One of the many things she introduced me to was loom beading. The theory was if I could see the good things I could create with my hands I would feel better about myself. She was right. I”m still sick, but I am also a seed bead addict who feels great wearing or giving my beaded creations to help other smile. My fav stitch is peyote currently…

  19. Hi this is spanish beader here,
    I’m like most of you ladies, hooked on those beautiful colorful beads. I buy seed beads everytime I go to the bead store. Even if I have only $3.00 in my pocket I feel like the doctor gave me pain medicine for my addiction. Until the pain comes back and I have to get more seed beads. This is a real addiction!!! Ha! Ha! My favorite stitches are peyote,herringbone, and square stitch. My passion is bead embroidery. If anyone wants to try this technique out you have to buy Sherry Serafini and Heidi Kummli, “The Art of Bead Embroidery”. This book is great for beginners to see that this technique isn’t so hard. You can see some of my creations at Happy seed beading to everyone !!!!!!

  20. I loved sewing –draperies, bedspreads, pillows you name it, I made it! In New Jersey, I had a big room where I could set up my sewing machines and sergers, and have a big table to cut yards of fabrics . I could close the door and never have to clean up. Then four years ago, I moved down to Florida to a much smaller house. With no big room to work in and plantation shutters already on the windows, I wondered what to do with myself. Then a neighbor invited me to a beading party where we made a Christmas bracelet with Swarovski crystals and in 2 hours, I was hooked!!!!!!!!!! I was like a person possessed to buy beads, books and learn every stitch. I am now making and selling custom beaded jewelry. (I need to sell to feed my habit).
    Nina S, Fort Myers Florida
    PS: my other passion is reading and I have often tried to decide whether to bead or read. Solution: I bought a Kindle with a TEXT TO SPEECH feature and Voila,
    I am beading and reading at the same time.