If you find yourself seeking a new outlet for your creative abilities, then making beaded jewelry is one to consider. It is simple the master the basics, cheap to get started and you can produce a finished article within very little time, allowing a sense of accomplishment.
Beading is also a hobby for any season: in the winter, you can sit and watch the snow while beading but in spring and summer, you can pack a few essentials into a messenger bag for women or a tote and take them with you. Whether you are sitting in the park while the kids play or on holiday, a few basics supplies mean you can bead away for a half an hour no matter where you are.
What do you need to get started? Beads and a thread, a clasp and a couple of pieces of finishing findings, which is jewelry-speak for the little metal pieces at the end of a string of beads – it really is that simple.
To learn straight bead stringing, you need to pick a beading wire that is wide enough for your beads but not too wide to be awkward. Beadalon is one of the common brands and their 0.15mm or 0.18mm are the most frequently used. You don’t need to use a needle with this thread and it is strong enough to withstand quite rough handling.
When it comes to picking beads, you will quickly be like a kid in a sweet shop – there are so many to choose from! Start with a project, say a necklace and bracelet and buy the beads you need for it. If you are following a pattern it will tell you how many to buy but otherwise beads normally have a size on them. For example, when buying semi-precious gemstone beads, they are often sold on a length of cord 15inch long. So if you are wanting to make a 20-inch necklace and use some other beads, you have the gist of how many you will need.
Making the necklace
Making necklaces and bracelets use the same principles. Use a special clip at one end of the thread to stop beads falling off then thread them one at a time. Some people start in the middle of the pattern if unsure about how long they are going to make it, adding the pattern of beads to each side.
When you have your desired length, you can then thread a special little bead called a crimp. This is like a stopper, designed to prevent the necklace coming apart. You add either the clasp straight on after the crimp bead or an unbroken ring called a split ring then thread the thread back through the crimp and a couple of beads as well. Then with a thin pair of jewelry pliers, you crimp it – squash it tight – and this stops everything coming apart. If you have used the split ring method, you then add the clasp to it using the other type of ring, a jump ring that opened to connect the two.
You can use the same principle to make a bracelet and within no time at all, you will have completed your first set of jewelry. And probably been bitten by the jewelry-making bug!