In ancient times, handmade beads were made from organic materials such as nuts, seeds, and shells will small holes drilled into them. As technology developed, skilled artisans were able to create more intricate ones, carving them from stone and other solid materials. These pieces were so valuable that they were often traded as currency. People have even attached a spiritual significance to some handmade beads, believing they would bring luck, prosperity, or protect the wearer from evil spirits. Today, modern advances in machinery and materials allow beading supplies to be churned out in the hundreds and thousands, and shipped around the world.
We created this free collection of resources to help beaders of all abilities explore the creative joys of learning how to make beads. Learn the ins and outs of buying handmade beads, then dive into six free bead-making tutorials for some serious project inspiration. Included in this free eBook are instructions for making and using a variety of supplies, including silk/fabric beads, polymer clay beads, enamel beads, and mixed media handmade beads.
If you love jewelry making, then this lovely collection of five handmade bead projects plus bonus guide to buying handmade beads is a must-have. Each of these delightful projects comes with intuitive instructions and truly unique inspiration!
How fun will it be when you can proudly tell those admiring your newest creation: "I made it myself"! Along with this free jewelry making tutorial, you’ll also receive a free membership to our Beading Daily community. Your membership provides you access to our free projects library, our beading community blogs, and our daily email newsletter with all sorts of tips, tricks, and more free projects!
Learn How to Buy Handmade Beads
"Buyer’s Guide" by Jean Campbell
Beading supplies can be found in local shops, at trade shows, online, and nearly everywhere beads are sold. Understanding the types of materials used, especially in glass/enamel beads and clay beads, is vital knowledge to have when selecting the best kinds for your designs. In this informative article, expert Jean Campbell discusses different material possibilities for many common types. Start with the three types of glass for lampworked beads, move onto handcarved beads, then learn the types of oven-fired beads, including ceramic beads and polymer clay beads. With this handy guide you will be on your way to understanding the basics of beading in no time. Download your free eBook to get Jean’s bonus guide!
Project #1: Enameling to Make Enamel Beads
"Enameled Filigree" by Pam East
While at a bead event, Pam was challenged by a fellow artist to enamel his signature filigree beading. After grabbing her torch and powdered enamel, she gave it a try and to her surprise, it worked beautifully. Her technique is so straightforward, that even beginners will feel confident creating these enamel beads. Learn how easy this process of enameling beads can be, and get tips from expert Pam East when you download this eBook!
Project #2: Making Fabric Beads into Jewelry
"Sassy Silky Angel Dangles" by Kristal Wick
Once you’ve learned how to make fabric beads, you will need a place to showcase them! Handmade silk/fabric beads can be fun to use in designs of all sorts including bracelets, necklaces, and earrings. Kristal’s Wicks easy dangle project is perfect for beginners or anyone looking for a quick design idea using those handmade fabric beads. Get her fast and fabulous instructions for using your fabric beads when you download your free beading lesson!
Project #3: Making Fabric Beads into Jewelry
"Firecracker " by Jamie Hogsett
When you pair the creativity of making fabric beads with unusual and texture-rich elements, you end up with a piece of jewelry with a personality all its own. And that is exactly what Jamie did with this fabric beads project! Grab your handmade silk fabric beads and some yarn (such as the novelty eyelash yarn used here) and combine them together with fire-polished beads for a necklace with sparkle and shine. The possibilities for design are endless once you have the basic process down. Download your free tutorial for beaders to get this project and many more!
Project #4: How to Make a Charm Bracelet
"The Lure of Charms: How to Make a Text Bead" by Belinda Spiwak
Charms come in all shapes, sizes, and materials, and can be purchased, modified, and handmade to fit your exact needs. To celebrate the ‘charming’ nature of handmade beads, Belinda took her love of found objects and easy projects, and combined them into this quick bead-making tutorial. Simply start with an oblong bead, add items such as paper, text, and fabric, and follow her simple bead making tutorial instructions and voila, a handmade bead is born. Discover the magic of bead making with her easy to follow instructions, all in one easy to use free resource you can download today!
Project #5: Bearded Iris Polymer Clay Bead
by Barbara Sperling
If you’ve ever wanted to take your polymer clay bead making skills to the next level, this handmade polymer clay bead is a great place to start. Try your hand at making canes, blending colors, and creating a handmade polymer clay bead out of a series of tiny mosaics. This is one handmade bead that you will want to treasure forever!
Project #6: Folded Raku Polymer Clay Bead Necklace
by Su Ki Wilcox
Raku is a ceramic technique that involves several firings in an oxygen-free chamber. You can learn how to capture that characteristic look of raku with these easy extruded polymer clay beads, using a simple glazing technique. Get practice shaping thin strands of polymer clay, using a clay extruder, and learn about using glazes for creating unique and beautiful handmade polymer clay beads.
With so many ideas to pick from, which bead-buying, bead-using, or bead-making tutorial will you dive into first?
From making polymer clay projects to making fabric beads into pieces of jewelry, this beading tutorial has a little bit of something for everyone.