Beginner’s Guide to Beads

Beginner's Guide to Beads

Are you a beginner when it comes to making jewellery? I’ve produced this guide to beads for beginners as a follow-up to my jewellery making supplies for beginners, so you can navigate that difficult world.

Beads are available in a wide range of forms, sizes, colours, and materials. There are dozens of alternatives to pick from, and it can be difficult to know where to start.

You’ll probably be tempted to buy every single bead in the store when you’re putting together your jewelry-making supplies. It’s the most enjoyable aspect of shopping for supplies (at least for me), and knowing what you needwill help you decide where to begin. Follow this guide to discover how to tell the difference between different bead kinds and materials, as well as which beads are best for beginners.

Beginner’s guide to differentiating between beads:

Beads are also measured in millimetres. 
Beads in larger sizes: Such as 10-14mm, make for unique, trendy pieces. Accents come in smaller sizes, such as 3-4mm. Beads with a diameter of 6-8mm are ideal for in-between. For beginning, I’d get a limited variety of the types listed below in 4, 6, and 8mm.

Basic shapes and cuts: Include round, square, oval, and rectangular beads. Rondelle, coins, and other shapes are also common. They’re also available in every conceivable shape imaginable. Faceted beads have a diamond-like cut, with straight edges that produce the shape rather than a smooth cut.

Colors: Beads, of course, come in the widest range of colours, tones, designs, and so on. These are frequently, but not always, determined by the material. Natural beads are frequently coloured or bleached as well. I’d suggest starting with some neutrals and then buying colourful beads on a project-by-project basis (or based on what’s on sale).

Materials: Beads come in a wide range of materials, which I’ll go over in more detail below.

Beads of many types:

The term “types of beads” alludes to the materials used to make them, but it is not limited to that.

Glass and wood are common materials for inexpensive but high-quality beads. Glass beads come in a large variety of effects, styles, and more, which I’m not going to go through right now (it will just overwhelm you). If you want to learn more, look through a bead catalogue, book, or search the internet… Simulated pearls are my favourite. Plastic or “acrylic” beads, in my perspective, resemble children’s toys (with a few exceptions.)

Crystals particularly Swarovski branded Austrian crystal, are also available for more premium designs. In higher-end costume and sterling silver jewellery, these are a popular choice. They have the gleam of a high-quality cut gem stone, but at a fraction of the price.

I enjoy experimenting with affordable jewels and pearls (though you can get high-end stones too.) There’s a lot of variation out there! I like to shop around for these, but you don’t have to because they’re worth it.

Horn shell, rubber, metal, and other materials are among the others.

Cabochons have a flat back and are undrilled. They can be glued, wire wrapped, or set.

Seed beads are tiny beads that come in a wide variety of hues. People weave seed beads to create massive drawings. If you want to do woven beadwork (which I don’t), you’ll need these.

Focals – These aren’t technically beads; instead, they’re components that are frequently offered with beads and constructed of the same materials. They are larger components that are intended to be the piece’s decorative focal point.

Spacer beads are little beads that are used to provide dimension to a strung item. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Metal balls in the sizes of 3 and 4 mm are standard for me.

beading & jewelry making

So, where should a newbie begin with beads?

Begin with a few styles in the above-mentioned basic colours and sizes. If you want to follow along with my crafts, start with glass bead mixtures and pearls, as well as wood beads and metal balls. Although you’ll want to buy beads particularly for each project, having a few basic colours that can be mixed and matched is a wonderful place to start.

Look for bargains at craft stores, Michaels, Amazon, eBay, and other online retailers. On eBay, for example, you may discover a lot of stuff for sale, as well as destash supplies on Etsy.

I strongly advise you to determine your preferred jewellery style. Search Pinterest and Etsy for inspiration, not to duplicate, but to see what catches your eye. Make a tiny collection out of those beads. Finally, make a budget for yourself and stick to it. Set aside a certain amount of money, perhaps $50 (depending on how much you’re investing into your initial stash), then figure out how to best distribute it.

Final Thoughts:

Finally, keep in mind the number of beads you’ll require. Some of the pieces are almost entirely made of beads. As an accent, some people use beads. Don’t go overboard, but keep a decent supply on hand.

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