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Beading (for crafters)

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Are there any "beaders" on the board?
Lately I have been intrigued by this & have decided to pursue it as a new craft to learn, especially beaded jewelry.
Can anyone share any tips, thoughts, stories or links for a beginner?
Thanks
post #2 of 16
I used to bead a little , but don't have time anymore (still tons of supplies stored in my tiny apt) . I just started out by buying a couple beading magazines from Barnes & Noble, and then checking out the different stores that sell supplies (listed in the back of the mags & in their ads).

For online websites, I've shopped at:
http://www.beadinpath.com/
www.beadshop.com
www.azgems.com
www.firemountaingems.com
www.ebay.com [/color](good for vintage or unusual beads, good for swarovski beads)

Check out www.beadshop.com. Not the cheapest place, but beautiful site design & a gallery of "student" work, plus design inspirations & download-able .pdf bead project lessons.

Also, when I was in college there was a local beadshop in town that offered classes, but I was too cheap to take lessons & it was hard to find time, too, b/c I was supposed to be working on my thesis 24-7 .
post #3 of 16
Bead stringer here. Which means I only use seed beads as accents and not as an entire project. (I have my sanity to preserve. ) Most projects are necklaces with occasional bracelets and stickpins.

www.beading.com Interesting site. Haven't been able to order from him in a long while.
post #4 of 16
Big-time beader, yes ma'am! Are you interested only in stringing, or do you want to look into loomweaving, or beading stitches (aka "offloom weaving") like peyote and brick and herringbone? Like Jan (gemlady), I was appalled when I first saw those stitches and the tinytinytiny beads you use to make them... but I tried it, and I love it now. So you never know!

If you can take a good class in the basics, that's the best way to start learning (and the most fun!). Once you've spent some time with someone who knows what she's doing, you'll feel more confident in interpreting the instructions in magazines and books.

There are some excellent magazines out there: BeadStyle and Simply Beads are full of inspiration for stringing designs that look fabulous, but are really very easy to do. If you want to get into the more eyestraining type of work, you'll love Beadwork or Bead & Button.

My personal favorite thing to do is wirework, and right now, there's a special issue on the stands about that -- it's full of great projects and instructions, if you think you'd like working with wire. (I'm just silly for it!)

If I can help you in any way, just PM me! This is something I really love...
post #5 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by CarolPetunia View Post
If you want to get into the more eyestraining type of work, you'll love Beadwork or Bead & Button.
Hmm...is that why I was so intimidated when I first started? I saw the issue of Bead & Button on the stands back then & liked it, so ordered a mail subscription. Some of the projects looked amazing, but I always thought, if I do this, I'll go blind!!

P.S. CarolPetunia is right...if I could do it over, I would have started with a class to learn some basics & to have the guidance to finish a project in its entirety...(um, so many half-made things lying around here )
post #6 of 16
I used to do a lot of bead work, but not so much in the last few months. It makes my hands cramp up horribly.

Tips - Get decent quality beads, especially when buying seed beads. It's a real pain when they break or the holes are half closed.
Check craft stores for sales, if you have a hobby lobby near you they almost always have some type of sale or coupons.
Use good threads and needles (depending on the work you decide to do).
And remember, if you don't like it you can always take it apart and start over.

You may also want to get a couple cheap plastic trays to work on. You're guaranteed to spill your beads at least once, so it helps a little if you just spill them out on the tray.
post #7 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by strange_wings View Post
Tips - Get decent quality beads, especially when buying seed beads.
Oh my gosh, she is so right! Cheap seed beads will destroy your work and your sanity. Never buy Indian seeds, and even Czech seeds are pretty poor. What you want is Japanese seed beads, which are almost perfectly consistent in size and shape, and are properly annealed so they won't crack on you.

And just a personal preference here: I don't buy Toho brand, even though they're Japanese and have a good reputation... because I've had some trouble with sharp edges on them that cut my thread.

Also, be sure to get a Vellux pad for your work tray (only a dollar or so). Vellux looks a lot like fleece, but it's really a very specific type of material with tiny short "fur" that sticks straight up. It holds the beads up high, so you can easily slide your needle through them without catching the fabric, and without making the beads roll away from you. Worth its weight in gold!

Another personal thing here: you definitely need a "thread conditioner" if you're working with seed beads. I've tried "Thread Heaven" and a whitish Dritz product that are widely used -- and I hate them! They make the thread slippery and hard to control. For what it's worth, I recommend good old-fashioned beeswax, which you can identify by its natural light-brown color.

It may be that after you get really good at seed work, you'll want the looser, more supple feel of other conditioners... but when you're first starting, beeswax makes the whole process much, much easier.

As for thread: when you're starting with seed beads, Nymo is probably the easiest choice. There are fancy monofilaments and Teflon threads and so forth, but Nymo is inexpensive and easy to handle... and since beading needles have such infernally tiny eyes, the flat cross-section of Nymo is a big help in threading. (Nymo is not the best thing for stringing, though -- you can talk to Jan ["gemlady"] about the best choices for that.)

I could go on and on -- and I have! Shutting up now. Let us know how it goes when you get started, and post some pictures of what you make!
post #8 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by gemlady View Post
Bead stringer here. Which means I only use seed beads as accents and not as an entire project. (I have my sanity to preserve. ) Most projects are necklaces with occasional bracelets and stickpins.

www.beading.com Interesting site. Haven't been able to order from him in a long while.
Sorry Jan I just had to comment on your preserving your sanity. I think you have failed that one hun!!
post #9 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phenomsmom View Post
Sorry Jan I just had to comment on your preserving your sanity. I think you have failed that one hun!!
Well, what's left of my sanity.

Beeswax has been suggested for using in stringing, but can make restringing a pain. Nothing like trying to scrape wax from tiny beads holes.
post #10 of 16
Oh! So you do use thread in your stringing? I've used silk for pearls and garnets, but all my other stringing I've done with Softflex... usually the lightest, most flexible weight. I'd love to know more about how you work!
post #11 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks, guys! Sorry it took so long to reply, I haven't been on the computer for awhile..
I bought a bunch of beading stuff last Saturday & my biggest problem is deciding what to make with all of my pretty beads! So far all i've done is dress up a few hair bands, make an ankle bracelet & make a pair of simple earrings, but that's my way of teaching myself-start simple & get used to the feel of it.
I've started out working with wire, but will probably branch out eventually. I think I'll stick with seed beads as accents for the larger beadwork.
post #12 of 16
Great! Where are the pictures?
post #13 of 16
i'm a bead weaver (I make beaded trim and jewlery on a loom) I suggest using quality beads. Low quality beads tend to have more "off" beads with misshaped or holes in the wrong place.
post #14 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShopCat View Post
Thanks, guys! Sorry it took so long to reply, I haven't been on the computer for awhile..
I bought a bunch of beading stuff last Saturday & my biggest problem is deciding what to make with all of my pretty beads! So far all i've done is dress up a few hair bands, make an ankle bracelet & make a pair of simple earrings, but that's my way of teaching myself-start simple & get used to the feel of it.
I've started out working with wire, but will probably branch out eventually. I think I'll stick with seed beads as accents for the larger beadwork.
Smart!!!

I started as a bead snob. Only gemstone beads, but soon fell in love with beads of other materials with a fondness for these Czech pressed beads with stars. One of our lapidary members makes glass beads and did one of Topaz last year.

I have a deep respect of open flame and so don't do this craft myself.
post #15 of 16
Ha! Yes, she probably is smart -- I must admit that my eyesight, my patience, and my mental stability have all gone straight downhill ever since I started beadweaving.
post #16 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by gemlady View Post
Smart!!!

I started as a bead snob. Only gemstone beads, but soon fell in love with beads of other materials with a fondness for these Czech pressed beads with stars. One of our lapidary members makes glass beads and did one of Topaz last year.

I have a deep respect of open flame and so don't do this craft myself.
I started out as a bead snob, too! I love the Topaz bead, now you just need one for Aristotle, too, eh?

P.S. There's a sale going on at Beadshop.com http://www.beadshop.com/designideas/designideas.aspx, got the email, not sure why it's not showing on the website this morning:
\t
The Bead Shop
ALL BEADS ON SALE! 20% OFF

Limited Supplies
Ends Sunday, July 8th; online and in store
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