Whether you already enjoy making jewelry, or just want to learn how to make a button bracelet, your first stop should be at a bead store. You can visit a local bead store or find one online. Just make sure you have plenty of time to browse.
Beads come in hundreds of shapes, sizes and colors. Beads can be handmade glass beads, metal, bone, plastic and even paper. Some beads are made from expensive gemstones, while others are common wood. Seeds, shells and found objects are also items that bead store might make into beads. Glass and acrylic beads mix with Swarovski crystal and Czech crystal.
Along with beads, one of these stores usually carries findings, clasps, watch faces and other components for creating beautiful jewelry. If you are lucky, your bead store will also offer classes in jewelry making, beading on a loom, and beading on cloth. You may learn to bead for fun or even profit.
You should look through your supplies and make a list of items that you need, or want before visiting a bead store. If you are looking for a particular bead, take a sample of it with you to the bead store. Think about what projects you have planned. Add any special beads or findings that you will need to your list. Carry a backpack purse so that both of your hands are free to look through beads.
Ask the sales clerk if there are any specials or sales going on. Also ask if they give discounts to members of bead societies. It may be worth joining if you enjoy beads. If you bead, or make jewelry for profit, and have a tax id number let the salesperson know before they ring up your sale. Remember to bring a copy of your tax certificate if you have one. This allows you to purchase beads and other supplies from a bead store at wholesale instead of retail cost.
After you get home sort your beads. A good desk lamp will help you identify patterns and colors more easily. Most people sort by color, shape and size. Uniformity may also be a factor to consider. Learning beading and how to organize your beading stuff will make your work go faster and you will be more productive as you will not be searching for items that should be at arms reach. If you are like most people that visit a bead store, you have more beads than you need, just because they caught your eye. Part of the fun is coming up with new projects to use up the beads that you find at the bead store.
Follow designs in books, online, or that you have previously made. Come up with new designs of your own. Use up the beads that you bought. Then it is time for another visit to the bead store.
Jennifer Thoden shares her love of beads and creativity with beginner beaders and jewelry designers. Her love of color and unique design shows in her bead patterns. Find her bead patterns and tutorials at http://www.beadpatternsonline.com