Beading supplies covers a wealth of information and it’s growing all the time! When I started out, I was overwhelmed by the different types of beads, thread and tools on the market. I had no idea what the differences were, or, in some cases, how to even use these things. Does this sound familiar? Then, I’m here to help.
In this section I explain everything related to beads, tools, stringing materials, wire, findings, etc. Even if you think you know beads, there are new beading supplies coming onto the market all the time. So, do have a browse here and you may find something you didn’t even know existed!
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If you hover over the ‘Beading Supplies’ item in the menu, you will see a drop-down menu appear. You can use that to find your way around the broad categories. Or, if you are looking for something specific, try heading straight to the search box (the little magnifying glass icon on the left of the top menu).
If you still can’t find an answer, you can use this link to ask your question and I will make it a priority to add some information for you.
What does beading supplies cover?
This is a pretty broad category. So, I have covered the obvious things like the beads themselves. Then we have materials for stringing them, like thread and wire. Also, findings – the clasps and metal bits you need for constructing jewellery. Then, of course, there are the tools you’ll need. And, finally, storage solutions to help you as your beading supplies grow in number.
Now, if you have even the slightest knowledge of beading, you probably know that there are a huge range of different types of beads, stringing materials, tools, etc. So, to help you discover things more easily, I have split all these areas into sections.
Do you have questions about traditional seed beads?
These are the little round beads and cylinder beads that we commonly use for bead-weaving. (Take a look at the left-hand photo, just above). They range in size from under 1mm to 3mm. They are basically round and they have just one hole through them.
So, these are the beads you are most likely to find yourself using a lot.
Do you need to find out about Multi-holed seed beads?
For a few years now, we have had a lot of new beads coming onto the market. This section looks at the beads that have more than one hole through them. Some have two holes per bead, some three holes, some even four. Probably the most widely-known and commonly used bead of this type is the Superduo. (See the central photo, above).
These beads are great for adding interest to your designs. So, if you would like to find out what is available, this is the place. I have described the beads, explained how to use them and given you some links to patterns you can try.
Do you want information about Shaped seed beads?
This section covers the ‘new’ beads that are shaped. Typically, these are slightly larger in size – starting at 2mm and working up to 8mm, in general (although there are always exceptions!). The shapes vary from cubes, ovals, diamonds, squares, semi-circles, triangles… The list goes on and on!
Like the multi-holed beads, the shaped seed beads have been designed to add interest to your projects. You will commonly use them for bead-weaving. And I have explained what each bead is, how to use it and also linked to some projects for you to try.
Do you want to find out about other beads?
This is where you will find anything that doesn’t fall into the categories above. Now, a lot of these beads are commonly used and widely known. I’m talking things like pearls, crystals, gemstones and wooden beads. You may also find lamp-work beads, polymer clay beads, and things like fabric beads and cabochons here.
These types of bead tend to be larger. Typically, you’re looking at 4mm and upwards. Some of these may be used for bead-weaving projects (in particular, pearls, crystals and cabochons). But if you’re looking to string beads and make jewellery that way, then these are the beads you are likely to be using.
Do you need help finding some beading thread?
If you are using any bead-weaving techniques, you will be using thread to stitch your beads together. You may also use thread if you are trying techniques like bead embroidery, Kumihimo and stringing.
What you will quickly discover is that there is a HUGE variety of beading thread available. So, which type do you need? Well, this is the area to find out…
Do you have questions about the best wire to use?
Some jewellery-making projects will ask you to string beads onto wire, not thread. You can also make jewellery using primarily wire – this is called wirework. And, if you fancy trying French beading to make 3-D flowers, you will also be working with wire.
Again, you have plenty of choices facing you. So, if you want a bit more information about how to choose the best wire for your project, this is the section to try.
Are you struggling to choose or attach a clasp?
If you are going to make bracelets or necklaces, you will need a clasp to fasten them. It all sounds very simple, but what you will quickly realise is there’s a lot of choice. So, how do you know which clasp is right for your project? Well, this section explains what each type of clasp is and what kinds of jewellery it’s best for.
Do you want some help with other findings?
As you get into jewellery making, you will discover there are a whole lot of other small metal pieces you’ll be asked to use. These are collectively called, ‘findings’ (clasps also fall into that category). They are things like jump rings and split rings, ear wires, crimps, end caps… It’s a long list!
So, if you want to begin discovering these elements for your jewellery making…
Are there other beading materials that you need to know about?
If you are wanting to learn a specialist beading technique, like bead embroidery, or French beading, then there will be some other materials that you’re going to need. These are things that aren’t covered under the categories or beads, or findings, or wire and thread. So, if you need to find out about these, then this is the area to visit.
If you’re going to use all these materials, then you will also need to understand about the specialist tools. This covers everything from needles and scissors to wire cutters, pliers and other tools. It also looks at the basics like beading mats, magnifiers and daylight lamps. All of these are helpful when working with beads.
Do you need to know about Bead-weaving tools?
Your basic bead-weaving tool kit is a beading mat, needle and scissors. But guess what? You have a lot of choices here too. So, this section explains what those choices are and will help you to find the things that are right for you.
Do you need some help choosing the right Pliers?
If you are going to be making jewellery, or doing French beading or wirework, then you will find yourself using a different range of tools. These are mostly pliers, in different shapes and sizes. So, you have pliers with round noses, pliers with flat noses, pliers specially designed for making crimps…
Again, lots of choice! So, where do you start? Well, this section will introduce you to the different types of pliers and explain where and when you might need to use them.
Do you need help with other tools for beading and jewellery making?
Then, there are the other tools that you might come across at different stages. These could include things like a magnifier to help you see your work. If you’re doing French beading, then you’ll want a bead spinner. Kumihimo disks for Kumihimo, etc.
So, have a look through this section for anything that you can’t find in the other beading tools.
Are you looking for bead storage solutions?
Lastly, as your beading supplies grow, you will need somewhere to store them. So, this section looks at bead storage solutions. I cover everything from custom-made bead storage, to household items you can use if you’re on a budget.
If you’re looking to find out how to use your tools and materials, then head over to the beading techniques section to start learning. As you browse the beading supplies section, you will see I have included links to projects you can try. So, if you’re already familiar with your beading techniques, you can grab a project and start beading.
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