When you first get into this craft, you may be overwhelmed by the number of beads available as well as the number of ways to use them. You could be amazed by the amount of beads to buy, the various types, the many colors they come in and even the number of suppliers to be found both on and off the internet. It seems that beads and beading is a very popular hobby and that this craft, though very old, is still a very exciting one.
It seems that there are many ways to enjoy the craft:
- Some people simply collect beads. That’s pretty straight-forward and simple. They collect and trade beads with other collectors. These people simply love the bead itself.
- Some people use beads to make jewelry and decorations. This is the largest group of crafters. These people enjoy the end result that beads give the article. There are so many ways to use beads for jewelry and for sewing onto clothing as decoration that you could never try every way.
- Then there are those people who love all of the above, but they really enjoy making their own. For this group, the challenge is in making unusual and beautiful beads to use in their other crafts. These people have various ways they employ to make special and unique beads. For them the fun is in trying new materials to see what they get.
With so many ways to enjoy them, it is no wonder why this craft is so popular. So, let’s discuss the needs of each of the above groups.
The collector needs a never-ending supply of beads, made up of just about everything you can imagine. They also need a way to keep their collection organized so they can enjoy it and make it easy to trade with other collectors.
Those who use beads to make jewelry and for decorations need the tools to accomplish this. For jewelry, that includes hammers, pliers, jewelry findings, charms, beads, wire, beading thread and needles. They will also need some type of pattern or plan to follow. They may even be weavers who will need a bead loom.
The last group, the ones who like to make their own, have several options. They will, of course need all of the above to use to make jewelry or to decorate clothing. They will also need specialized equipment to make their beads.
- If they use polymer clay, they will need the clay in several different colors, a clay roller, some way to size them, a toaster oven, sandpaper, and a way to make center holes.
- If they use glass, they will need a torch and an assortment of colored glass rods. The will also need a place to allow the glass beads to cool very slowly. They need to have fire-proof mitts and tools to handle the hot glass. If they are using an acetylene torch, they will need eye protection as well.
- If they are using paper, they will need a supply of colored papers and a bead roller as well as glue and some way to make them waterproof. They will need a place to keep them while they are drying that protects the beads. They may need a specialized cutting mat and cutting tool to make the long strips of paper they will use
- There are even those who make beads out of flower petals. In this case, they will need a large supply of petals and a blender to pulverize them. They will also need access to a heat source to simmer the petals in water for a long period of time. They will use a cast-iron pan to simmer the flowers, so they need that, too.
So, welcome to the world of crafting with beads. There are so many avenues to explore and I am sure you will find the one that suits you best. This is an old craft that dates back to ancient times, so you will be in very good company.