Bead Crafty with the finest beads and findings!
GET CREATIVE WITH BEADS!
Start off by finding some inspiration, what is it you want to make? Get inspired by shopping for beads!! Once you've found some beads you love, it's easy to see whether they'd look great on a pair of earrings, a necklace, or something completely different!
A fun way of getting started is to spread out all the beads and charms you have collected across a table. Then play around with the groups and colour stories. This way you can get an idea of how they will sit together in a bracelet or necklace. Sometimes you can be surprised by the combinations that actually work!
WHAT TO MAKE WITH BEADS!
Jewellery is the most common use, but beads can be used for other projects too! They can be used to decorate clothing, brooches, photo frames, and all kinds of soft furnishings.
Bead stringing is probably the easiest jewellery making technique. This can be done by threading beads onto thread or beading wire and fastening with crimp beads and a fastener. Fun and easy to do!
Charm bracelets are fun to create, you can make them as full as you like, and as personal as you like. Start with a chunky chain around 9 inches long and attach a toggle fastener, the bigger the better! Then collect beads and charms! You could choose a theme for your bracelet, vintage, nautical, retro etc. and keep adding to it! Fully loaded charm bracelets are the best!
If charm bracelets aren't for you, perhaps you could start by making a bold bead necklace. Try using coloured waxed cotton and tie a knot about 4 inches from the end. Thread 3 or 4 large beads on at a time before creating another knot to hold them in place. Then create a new knot further along the thread for the next group of beads. The key is to use plain and patterned beads that compliment each other and make a statement! For a more daring design, try this method with colourful ribbon and fabric beads!!
TYPES OF BEADS!
There are some stunning glass beads available, have a look at Chinese Lampwork and Millefiori beads. Chinese Lampwork beads are formed by melting glass over a flame on to a metal rod and pressing the hot glass into shape. Each bead is hand-crafted, resulting in shapes and patterns that are unusual and individual. The word Millefiori is formed from the Italian words 'mille' which means thousands and 'fiori' which means flowers. These are beautiful glass beads which, as the name suggests, are decorated with flowers.
Glass seed beads are good for detailed jewellery projects, use them to create lots of strings of beads and weave them together in a bracelet or more adventurous project!
For a chunky, natural effect, try using bone or wooden beads in you creations. Wooden beads can be made from various types of tree, olive, sandalwood, bamboo, ebony, palm, apple, pear, and rose are some of them. This wood is used to make beads because the grain of the wood is beautiful or because the wood is aromatic.
Beads are also made from shells, which are sometimes painted.
Swarovski crystals add quality to jewellery, and can be mixed with other beads to create interesting designs. This brand has been making glass crystals for over 100 years and is said to produce the finest available beads. You will also find pearl and Gemstone beads such as malachite, black onyx and peridot.
THE TOOL KIT
What basic tools are needed for creating jewellery? It's great to have a beading tool kit! Start with some beading pliers. These are very fine pliers that will allow you to work with very fine metal. There are several different types for different jewellery projects. These are the basic pliers, Round nose pliers, crimping pliers, chain nose pliers and wire cutters. Then you will need a stash of findings!! It's important to have a collection of different fastenings, for different types of projects. Toggle fasteners are great for chunky charm bracelets, or choose the traditional lobster clasp for basic necklaces. Headpins and eyepins are used for threading beads, every jewellery maker needs these! Remember they come in different lengths, you may need longer ones for bigger beads. If you are planning to make earrings, you will need earwires, which are the hooks to go through the ear. Finally, jump rings are another necessity, used for attaching charms and beads slotted on to head or eye pins onto jewellery..
Once you are confident in making you own jewellery, consider attending Craft Fairs and selling your amazing bead creations!
Start by looking in your local area, many craft fair organisers advertise on the internet. Christmas is a great time for fairs, as everyone is looking for a nice gift for someone special! Remember to book early though, as jewellery stalls fill up first!!
It's a good idea to show that you offer something different and unusual on your stall, you can achieve this by considering how your stall is set up. Use props to display your jewellery, and informative signage to explain to the customer what makes your items special. It's a good idea to offer gift boxes or bags too. Try not to under charge the customer, when working out prices, consider the cost of materials and the time and effort gone into making the item before adding profit on top.