Learning How to Bead: The Gift That Keeps on Giving

Sep 26, 2012

One of the best gifts I ever gave to myself was when I signed up for my first series of lessons to learn how to bead. It was supposed to be a little reward to myself for finishing up my Bachelor's degree after ten years of working my way through college, but little did I know that it would turn into something much, much more than that. Beading became my therapy, my way to unwind after a hard day at the office or after a big exam. Pretty soon, I was doodling beaded jewelry design ideas in my notebooks during meetings and lectures and at conferences, and I realized that I had been put on Earth to do one thing -- bead!

Do you know someone who might enjoy learning how to bead? Whether they live around the corner or across an ocean, here are a few ways to share the beady love and get someone started with learning how to bead.

Teach Someone How to Bead

Teaching my son how to bead when he was 2.
Back when I worked in non-profit management, there were four of us who would get together at lunch and talk about our latest crafty projects. One week, I taught them all how to bead using basic stringing techniques. They made such beautiful beaded necklaces, bracelets, and earrings that we wanted to make it a regular event!

That was probably when I got bit by the teaching bug. I went on to teach dozens of students in my local area how to bead. Most of them were in middle school or high school, and we explored all sorts of beading and jewelry making techniques. These kids learned how to do off-loom bead-weaving, how to make paper beads, how to do basic stringing, how to make polymer clay beads, and even how to make lampwork glass beads on a torch! It was a great experience for all of us.

Take Someone to a Beading Class

Of course, if you're not comfortable teaching someone else how to bead, you can always take them to a local beading class. Find out if your local bead shop offers classes (most of them do), or find a local arts organization that might offer jewelry making and beading classes.

I know of at least one bead shop where you can pick out your beads, then sit down with someone and have them teach you how to make your own beaded creation for a small fee. For one-on-one instruction in learning how to bead, you can't beat a deal like that!

Host a Beading Party or Craft Night

My awesome friend Kate teaching us how to make jewelry out of origami stars.
Living up in the middle of nowhere, I look forward to my craft night get-togethers with friends. More often than not, I end up teaching someone how to bead before the evening is over, which probably explains why I haven't hosted one in quite some time. (I end up spending all my crafting time teaching someone else while my own intended beading project lies neglected on my beading tray! Not necessarily a bad thing.)

Hanging out with a group of crafty friends is a nice, low-pressure way to teach someone how to bead. Another benefit of having a group of people learning how to bead is that we discover more than one way to accomplish the same thing, because really, not everyone learns the same way, especially when it comes to beading.

Send a Gift of a Beading Book or Magazine

Since high school and college, many of my friends have scattered all around the country, and even across the ocean. One of my friends, who now lives and works in England, wanted to learn how to bead, so instead of flying across the Atlantic to teach her, I sent her a bundle of some of my favorite beading books and magazines to get her started. She was so thrilled to receive them, and even happier to discover that she could teach herself how to bead from the diagrams and instructions in them. The following year, after she told me that she was completely hooked on beading and that it was all my fault, I bought her a gift subscription to Jewelry Stringing magazine for the holidays.

Just like learning how to bead, the gift of a great beading magazine like Jewelry Stringing magazine is the gift that keeps on giving. With six beautiful issues every year, packed full of the latest and greatest in beading trends, new beading products, product reviews, and new beading techniques, you couldn't ask for more for your favorite jewelry making friends! Give a gift to a friend, or get a little gift for yourself, when you subscribe to Jewelry Stringing magazine.

Oh, and that friend of mine in England who taught herself to bead from books and magazines? She told me that if her job as a research scientist at Oxford doesn't work out, she's going to become a professional jewelry designer!

Have you ever taught someone how to bead? Share your stories here on the Beading Daily blog!

Bead Happy,

Jennifer


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Comments

carasmiths wrote
on Sep 26, 2012 9:38 AM

Thanks for writing this, Jennifer.  I too find myself in teaching mode although I've never actually taken a beading class...do you have a recommendation for which basic stringing skills to teach in order to get someone started?  TIA!

Caco

CaraSmiths

carasmiths.blogspot.com

DCscrafts wrote
on Sep 26, 2012 9:38 AM

I started my friends daughter beading when she was about 8. This last year she has been quite ill, so has had a lot of time to refine her technique...her designs are extremely professional, and she has started selling on my etsy site...and she is only 15!!!

Judie

KimzMom wrote
on Sep 26, 2012 11:00 AM

Thank you so much for writing this article. It warmly reminded me of my friend in Florida who generously taught me to string jewelry while I was visiting her at a tough time in my life.

I had no idea I could do this or how much making jewelry would light up my life and introduce me to such a wonderful group of fantastically creative, generous and supportive people. You can never overestimate how much you can help someone by teaching them something creative.

You all do such a great job of writing these articles and I love reading them.

Thanks again!

Elsa

Clg wrote
on Sep 26, 2012 11:49 AM

I belong to a small craft group and we take turns hosting projects.  Over the last few years I have done 5 or 6 beading projects with them.  Last month I taught them all how to make a bracelet with kumihimo and beads.  Since then one friend has made 10 more bracelets - I guess the beading bug finally got to her.      

Carol

callcindyr wrote
on Sep 26, 2012 12:21 PM

When I first taught myself to make jewelry from books and web tutorials, my coworkers asked me to teach them on our lunch hour. Soon after that I saw a sign at Michaels looking for a jewelry instructor...and 8 years later I am still loving it!  

Beading Daily also helps me keep up to date on trends and improving my skills as a designer, which I get to pass along to my students!  So thanks for the inspiration and guidance. I look forward to more stories like this.

dhinesrn wrote
on Sep 26, 2012 10:46 PM

I don't usually blog but this one was to good to pass up. I have taught several people to bead. I started by making simple earrings because I could not find leverback earring to purchase. I ended up making earring for my mom, sisters, granddaughters and as gifts. I found that I spent all my time making earring for everone else but myself. I then made my daughters wedding set, earrings and necklace. I also made a set for my other daughter who was in the wedding party. Then I finally told my mom that she needed to learn how to make earrings for herself. She said that her eyes were probably too bad for her to bead but I taught her anyway. I shared my supplies and drove 90 miles to her house and taught her how to make earings. Then we decided to learn how to make bracelets (beaded ones). My mom had a customer that came to work always wearing hand made bracelets and she agreed to teach us. So again I drove 90 miles to my moms just to learn how to make a beaded bracelet. We enjoyed it so much. My moms friend hooked us up with websites to get new patterns and we started making more and more bracelets. Since then, I taught my sister, my 8 year old granddaughter, and at least 4-5 friends to make beaded bracelets. I have shared my patterns to anyone who is interested. Everyone that I have taught is now addicted to beading but I am still the worst addict ever. I am now making neclace, bracelet and earring sets. I hope everyone has a way to escape reality and relax. Beading is my way to reduce stress and make something that is not only beautiful but I wear everything I make.

Thank you for reading my story

Donna from Nevada

on Sep 26, 2012 11:08 PM

A few days before I was to teach my first class at a local bead shop, I started doubting my ability to teach- what if my written instructions didn't make sense, what if I didn't make sense?!? I decided if I could teach someone who knew NOTHING about beading, I could teach anyone. So I asked my darling husband if he would be my first student. So my big , burly construction worker hubby sat at the dining room table and took my "class". Not only did he understand me, he finished the bracelet and, because I hadn't pulled enough beads for him to practice with, I got to hear him say "I'm going to need more beads". Don't we all!!