Explore Techniques for Making Handmade Beads

Jul 26, 2013

Handmade beads have a way of capturing your imagination like no other. There's just something about the way a handmade bead looks and the way it feels in your hand that connects with you on a very deep level. The very first beads were all handmade, of course: in ancient times, there were no large machines that could churn out hundreds and thousands of beads. Beads were made from nuts, seeds, and shells with small holes drilled into them. Later, as human culture developed and technological advances were made, beads were created one at a time by skilled artisans and stone carvers, and these beads were valued as currency in many cultures around the world.People attached mystical significance to some of these handmade beads, believing that they would protect against evil spirits or bring good fortune to the person who wore them.

Everyone knows that handmade beads can be made from glass and ceramic, but they can also be made from fabric, wood, or even stitched together from other beads! It seems that the range of materials that can be used to create beads is only limited by our imaginations and our desire to create these tiny treasures that can be used in so many different ways. In a way, handmade beads embody the creative spirit of the human race in a way unlike any other.

If you're ready to dive into the world of handmade beads, Jean Campbell, founding editor of Beadwork magazine, has some very useful advice for buying handmade beads. Once you've read her Buyers' Guide to Handmade Beads, it's time to start your journey into making and using handmade beads.

  • Pam East shows us how to create unique filigree enameled beads without the use of a kiln in her Enameled Filigree Beads project.
  • Kristal Wick shows us how to make a fabulous Sassy Silky Bead Angel Dangle using her handmade silk fabric beads.
  • Why not pair handmade silk beads with novelty eyelash yarn in Jamie Hogsett's Firecracker Necklace?
  • Dabble in a little bit of mixed-media bead making with Belinda Spiwak's Text Beads project using pre-made stoneware beads and old pages from a book.
  • Learn how to mimic the look of paint strokes in Barbara Sperling's amazingly detailed Bearded Iris polymer clay bead project.
  • Making beautifully textured polymer clay beads is as easy as 1-2-3 with Sue Ki Wilcox's Folded Raku Bead Necklace.

However you decide to use them, handmade beads will always have a special place in the history of humankind and the development of so many different cultures around the world. I hope you enjoy these free beading projects using handmade beads and that they inspire you to make a little history of your own with handmade beads in your beading projects!

Bead Happy,

Jennifer


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