Four Beading How-Tos You Need to Know

Nov 5, 2012

Little did I know when I first sat down to learn how to bead how many skills I would learn in the coming years! It makes you realize that there's a lot more to making beautiful beaded jewelry than just sitting down and stringing some beads on wire and attaching a clasp. It seems like there's always something new to learn when it comes to beading, whether it's working with the beads themselves, refining your jewelry-making techniques and skills, or developing your own sense of style and color.

Whether technical or artistic, here are my four top beading how-to's for anyone who wants to learn how to bead:

1. Learn how to set up a comfortable beading area. It's important to be comfortable when you're beading, not just because it means you can bead for hours at a time. It's also important to make sure that you are sitting properly, have good lighting to see your beads, and take periodic breaks to stretch and move. (Also make sure you check out Debbie Blair's fantastic blog about ergonomic beading tips!)
2. Know how to use your crimping pliers. Boy, if I had a nickel for every bad crimping job I've seen! It's not easy to learn how to make a secure crimp, but practice definitely makes perfect. Getting to know your crimping pliers makes a big difference in how your beaded jewelry looks and wears.
3. Know how to fix beads with too-small holes. Jean Campbell is one smart cookie, and I loved this blog of hers about how to fix beads with holes that are too small. I love stringing with gemstone beads, and when their bead holes are just too small to accommodate more than one pass of my beading wire, I break out my handy dandy bead reamer and widen that bead hole just a little bit.

4. Learn how to use a color wheel for your beading projects. This one seems to be a popular topic! Knowing how to use color is such an integral part of learning how to bead, I actually went ahead and took a private one-on-one course with one of my beading idols, Margie Deeb, to get a better idea of how I like to use color and to learn the basics of color theory. These days, whenever I sit down to start a new beading project, my favorite color wheel is never far from my beading table!

And I'll bet you can think of a dozen more! It really gives you more of an appreciation of everything that goes into learning how to bead, doesn't it?

Just take a look at all of the gorgeous beaded jewelry design ideas in Jewelry Stringing magazine, and I'll bet you can understand why learning how to bead really is an art. With the wealth of diverse and creative beading supplies available to us as jewelry designers, it really pays to have the skills we need to turn our ideas into reality. Subscribe to Jewelry Stringing magazine today and stay on top of what's new in the world of beads and jewelry-making!

What would you tell a beginner is an important skill to learn for learning how to bead? Leave a comment and share your suggestions here on the Beading Daily blog!

Bead Happy,

Jennifer


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Comments

on Nov 5, 2012 5:34 AM

For those of us who cover our art quilts with beads, push the needle through several of the beads BEFORE threading it and tying the knot. It will save you a lot of headaches, especially if you're beading at night...:)

Nancy Smeltzer

Nameda wrote
on Nov 5, 2012 6:32 AM

Well .. I would recommend to a beginner to learn which thread is the best!(for the project)!

Saves a lot of headaches!  I started with nylon thread like fishing lines etc, and boy did I curse when the thread curled like goldilocks curls for the umpteenth time.

Finding the perfect thread for yourself, can save tons of headache and time when the fringe doesn't hang down but curls up and you have to redo a project just because of a curling thread or because its to thick to fit through the beads several times.

Oh and a good beading mat /tablet its nice when the beads don't jump/roll all over the place :)

Happy beading :)

on Nov 5, 2012 7:18 AM

I love the button clasp how to in the new issue. I re designed a necklace and finished it with a beaded clasp and heart shaped bead.

Kat West wrote
on Nov 5, 2012 9:08 AM

Although the general quality of seed beads has improved, really LOOK at the beads you are buying. Japanese beads tend to be very uniform. When buying other beads examine them closely. Are they fairly uniform? A little fatter or thinner is expected, but if the basic shape is irregular, or uneven, your work will be too.

When making the upswing to gemstone beads, my advice is to go to a few shows, and again REALLY LOOK at the beads. Not all gemstones are created equal. Uniformity, depth of color, centered, even holes,lack of cracking are just a few things that indicate quality.

And, yes, buy a bead reamer.

Kat West wrote
on Nov 5, 2012 9:08 AM

Although the general quality of seed beads has improved, really LOOK at the beads you are buying. Japanese beads tend to be very uniform. When buying other beads examine them closely. Are they fairly uniform? A little fatter or thinner is expected, but if the basic shape is irregular, or uneven, your work will be too.

When making the upswing to gemstone beads, my advice is to go to a few shows, and again REALLY LOOK at the beads. Not all gemstones are created equal. Uniformity, depth of color, centered, even holes,lack of cracking are just a few things that indicate quality.

And, yes, buy a bead reamer.

padali30 wrote
on Nov 5, 2012 3:53 PM

Learning how to do really good tie offs is probably a really good skill to learn in the beginning. Reinforcing and securing beads should be at the top of your list for creating a good piece!

on Nov 6, 2012 7:04 AM

My biggest suggestion for a beginning beader is to look to nature if you're stuck on what colors go together, and go for a walk when your project is making you feel like giving up! Take time to eat, get enough sleep, and stretch every once in a while so that your body doesnt get too stiff from sitting in one place too long!