Why I Love Using Seed Beads for Jewelry Making

Jun 6, 2014

A rainbow of seed beads at the Whimbeads bead show booth!
I'll never forget the first time I sat down to make jewelry with seed beads. I'd tried all kinds of other jewelry-making techniques: mixed media, wire wrapping, polymer clay...but none of them really captured my imagination, and I never felt inspired to bust through the limitations I perceived in each medium. They just weren't my "thing". All that changed when my mother gave me a pair of bead-woven and bead embroidered earrings. As I started at the tiny details made with size 15 seed beads, I thought to myself, "I have to learn this craft."

And so I did! Back in the days when the internet was still in its infancy, websites with resources of bead-weaving were few and far between. But I found enough free patterns and a couple of great places to buy seed beads that in just a few weeks, I was completely hooked on jewelry-making with seed beads.

These days, it's fair to say that jewelry-making with seed beads has pretty much taken over my life, and my house. I've got seed beads in the living room, the dining room, and half of our finished basement is my little bead studio, with drawers and boxes and bags of seed beads in all sizes, shapes and colors. What is it about these precious little bits of glass that keep my fingers occupied and haunt my dreams?

Triangle seed beads add luscious texture to Carol Dean Sharpe's Corrugated Peyote Cuff.
1. Color: Hands down, this is my favorite part of making jewelry with seed beads. The colors! The finishes! At any bead show, you can find me swooning over the rainbow of seed bead colors. Seed beads come in just about any color, any shade, any tint you could want -- and there are always the metallic and precious metal seed beads to use in your jewelry-making projects, too!

2. Texture: All those little seed beads come in so many shapes and sizes that it's easy to add a little texture to your jewelry-making projects. My favorites for bead-weaving are the Czech farfalle beads, two-hole bricks, triangles, and, of course, the classic drop bead. Just look at the gorgeous curves you can make using bead-weaving stitches like right-angle weave and herringbone stitch with just a variety of seed bead sizes, and you'll understand what I'm talking about.

3. Weaving: Using just a needle and thread to turn a little pile of seed beads into a piece of finished jewelry has just a hint of magic to it. Besides the miraculous and transformative nature of using bead-weaving as my chosen technique for jewelry-making projects, there's also the meditative aspect of the craft. The soothing repetitive movements of the needle through the beads, the pulling of the thread...

4. Pushing Creative Boundaries: And let's not forget about how easy it is to innovate with seed beads in your jewelry-making projects! Gone are the days when the most exotic things you saw in a piece of bead-weaving were crystal beads. These days, bead artists are including all sorts of found objects, chain, gemstones, and anything else you can think of in their work. It's inspiring to look around at some of my favorite artists who are constantly proving to us that there really are no limits as to what seed beads can do!

Now, if you're like me, you'll totally understand what it feels like when you just need to bead something -- anything -- but want some fresh inspirations and projects to work on. Take a look at the jewelry-making projects in 6 Beaded Jewelry Projects. These innovative beading projects from Kelly Angeley, Melinda Barta, and Lisa Kan are all perfect examples of why making jewelry with seed beads will always be my first -- and only -- love. And because it's an eBook, you can download your copy of 6 Beaded Jewelry Projects in just minutes and be ready to bead today! (It's about as close to instant gratification as you can get when it comes to bead-weaving!)

Download your copy of 6 Beaded Jewelry Projects and indulge your passion for jewelry-making with seed beads!

What is it about seed beads that keeps you coming back for more? Leave a comment here on the Beading Daily blog and tell us what first attracted you to this craft.

Bead Happy,

Jennifer


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Comments

AnnaYoakum wrote
on Jun 6, 2014 10:09 AM

Seed beads are incredible as there's no end to their versatility.  If you can dream it, you can design it with seed beads.  They can become findings such as clasps, links, beaded bead caps or even beaded beads.  They can be formed into pendants and focals and dazzling drops.  There is no limit to the jewelry that one can create with these magical little beads: earrings, brooches, bracelets, anklets, rings and necklaces of all shapes and sizes.  How can one not fall in love with these marvelous, multi shaped, infinitely colorful, little beauties ?

latte lady wrote
on Jun 6, 2014 11:03 AM

Beading is not a craft! It is an art form.

n7lqk wrote
on Jun 6, 2014 7:24 PM

You basically have to enjoy working with tiny detail to like working with seed beads and I do.  So I would say my love of working with tiny, precise detail and my enjoyment of the techniques that use seed beads are the number one factor.

Variety, versatility, and cost are the three things that keep me from becoming bored with seed beads.  After all seed beads tend to be the cheapest of the beads (even per ounce) that don't scream "cheap beads" when used in a project.

Seed beads can also be used all on their own or combined with other beads.  You can even take a single bead that normally wouldn't be a focal bead (like a 4 mm crystal) and turn it into a focal piece using seed beads.  That can't be said about most other beads.

DelfinaHoxie wrote
on Jun 17, 2014 12:29 AM

Is there a pattern for  Carol Dean Sharpe's Corrugated Peyote Cuff.  It is so rich and dramatic and would go beautifully with an outfit I will be wearing to my stepson's marriage in October.  I hope you can help me.  Thank you.