Best Bead Weaving Technique To Learn First
I frequently get asked, ‘what is the best bead weaving technique to learn first?’ In fact, between 2012 and 2016, when I was teaching beginners in person, it was a question that I always struggled with. So, what approach should you take?
Well, I found that, when someone new comes to bead weaving, the best bead weaving technique to learn first is… Anything!
That’s probably not the answer you were expecting. And it’s certainly not very helpful if you don’t know where to start. But, happily, I do have a more helpful suggestion for you to follow. So, let me explain how I knew which technique to teach first…
Why do you enjoy bead weaving?
Probably lots of reasons:
- constructive way to pass the time
- making gifts for others
- making things you like
So, which of those reasons is going to dictate the best bead weaving technique for you to learn?
It’s the last of them. Making things you like and enjoy. You see, it’s no good forcing yourself to learn netting if you don’t like the look of netted beadwork. That’s a random example, and personally, I love the look of netted beadwork and enjoy the technique.
So, discovering what you want to make is the first part of deciding which beading technique to learn.
What helps you to learn successfully?
Again, there are a lot of different answers to that question. Things like:
- a good teacher
- instructions that you find easy to follow
- ability to solve problems
Yes, a good teacher and good instructions are vital, of course. But at some point, you’ve got to put in the ‘hard yards’ on your own. We only learn anything by practicing it over and over.
So, if you’re really going to learn successfully, you need the motivation to keep going. Even when things are tough and don’t seem to be falling into place.
What helps you to do that? Partly your own personality, I guess. But a lot of it is about having a goal or a dream. So, here we are, circling back to the first question. If you have a project that you really, really want to make, you’re more likely to go through the ‘pain’ barrier of learning the techniques for it.
Whereas if you’re trying to make something that only slightly appeals to you, then when the learning process gets difficult, you’re more likely to give up because you don’t care enough about achieving the end goal.
How does that help you decide on the best bead weaving technique to learn first?
Well, I recommend that you forget all about the technique and start focusing on the project you want to make.
I used to do this with people who came to learn beading from me. I would let them look through my finished projects and ask them which they wanted to make.
Now, I would see some people playing it safe. They might try and ‘guess’ which project was going to be easiest. But because I was watching their reaction, I could see which project really caught their fancy.
And I would explain the most critical part of all this…
Even as a beginner, you can make your goal an advanced beading project.
So, I did actually have one or two brave souls who would come along and point to a beaded box and say, ‘I want to make that.’ It didn’t matter that they had never stitched a bead in their lives. I knew they were going to become brilliant beaders and would be making that box before they knew it.
How is this a good idea?
I’m sure you’re sitting there shaking your head. Or maybe thinking, ‘that wouldn’t apply to me’. But let me explain…
Obviously, I wouldn’t give the beader my beaded box pattern and tell them to get started. No – that might not have worked! (Although, for some determined souls, it will).
I would explain that the beaded box was made with a technique called Peyote stitch. And we would start at the beginning. I’d get them to work through basic technique tutorials in this order:
- even count peyote (just to introduce the concept)
- tubular peyote (it’s pretty easy to learn as a beginner, and is one of the techniques required for a beaded box)
- learn how to increase and decrease in the middle of a row
For some beaders, that literally just meant beading tiny samples to practise the basic stitch. For others, they might try a few projects using that basic stitch, to make sure they felt comfortable with it before moving on.
Then, we would come to that beaded box pattern. Of course, I was on hand to help out. But in essence, they had moved in a matter of weeks, from beginner to intermediate level, in one bead weaving technique.
How had that happened so fast? Simply by using your ‘desired project’ as a starting point for your learning journey.
(If you want to follow the basic tutorials I would use in the example I gave above, you can see them all in those photos. Just follow this link to find all the tutorials).
Are you brave enough to try my ‘best bead weaving technique’ experiment for yourself?
If you’ve struggled to know which bead weaving techniques to learn. Or, if you’re often put off getting a project because you think it looks too difficult for you. Or, if you simply don’t know where to go to learn the basic techniques…
Then, I’m inviting you to follow this link and try my experiment for yourself.
If you’re not feeling quite brave enough to do that, then how about you just start browsing through the free bead weaving technique tutorials that I have on this website? You can find them all by using the ‘beading techniques’ section. If you hover over that item on your top menu, you’ll see the drop-down list that takes you through to each section. So, just choose the technique you want to learn next and begin exploring.
Alternatively, if you have trouble learning from written instructions, or would like access to tuition when you get stuck, you can simply take this online class at any time.