They glitter and gleam, sparkle and shine. Some are delicately hand-painted; some are created from nature’s palette, and some could have fallen out of a rainbow. Beads of all sizes, shapes and colors can be rendered into intricately crafted earrings and necklaces, fun stringed jewelry, or amazing pieces of home décor. What you can make with beads depends upon your budget, skills and imagination. Whether it’s learning how to make a button bracelet for children, or a complicated Native American Medicine Wheel, it’s a sure bet that you’re in for hours of pure pleasure!

Throughout history, beads have been an important part of almost every culture in the world. They have been used as trade goods and currency, household décor, and to adorn the most resplendent clothing, from the wedding dresses of Native American Princesses to Princess Diana’s wedding gown. Today, we use craft beads in similar ways. For instance, it’s almost impossible to not see teens sporting beaded jackets and jeans at malls. Delicately beaded trinket and music boxes make lovely birthday and wedding gifts. Beaded home décor items, such as macramé planters and wall hangings, Native American Dream Catchers, Medicine Wheels and pottery are perfect for Southwestern and other décor themes.

For working with craft beads, beginners need only a few simple tools. Your tool kit will need both round-nosed and flat-nosed pliers, wire cutters, several sizes of tweezers, and a pair of wire cutters. You can use various types of wire, such as jeweler’s wire, or nylon or synthetic threads, or the beautiful silk threads that come in a rainbow of colors. A crimping too will come in handy for attaching clasps and other fasteners to your beaded creations.

It’s best to buy all the beads, threads and other supplies you need for any given project at the same time. This ensures that you won’t have to set aside your project while you run out to buy more beads or required tools, or waiting for delivery from a beading supply warehouse. Buying ahead eliminates the chance that your store or supplier won’t have what you need in stock. Purchasing supplies from a wholesale crafts or beading warehouse, either online or by catalog, is both cost and time efficient. You can buy everything you need at one place, without leaving your home, and possibly get in on some great sale discounts!

When beading learn how to organize your beading stuff. For your workspace, you need a flat surface that is large enough to give you plenty of room to work and hold your supplies. Good lighting is especially important to ease eyestrain. Use seal able, labeled trays, containers or drawers for bead and supplies storage; this keeps them organized and within easy reach. Choose a chair that is comfortable, yet provides the support you need to avoid muscle strain. A beading board anchors your bead strands and has rulers for easy measuring. Some even have small trays in which to keep the beads you’re using right at your fingertips. Get to know your jewelry making tools, their proper usage and safe handling, this will make your work go much faster and you will create better designs.

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