Wooden Beads: Why You Need To Use Them

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Most people have absolutely no idea how useful and versatile wooden beads are. So, are you one of these people? When was the last time you used any wooden beads? In fact, do you even know what I’m talking about? Well, read on and you’ll get answers to all of those questions…

20% off Etsy beading patterns

What are wooden beads?

There’s no great secret here. These are beads made from wood. Many are round in shape. But you may also come across more oval shapes.

Some are natural wood, so they have simply been sculpted, then smoothed down. Others may have been varnished or painted.

They come in a variety of sizes. The size is measured (typically) as the measurement across the diameter. For example, 20mm, or 10mm. Typically, these beads have quite a large hole size for stringing. So, that may be what has dictated their most common uses.

Wooden beads, My World of Beads

How do you use them?

Well, I would suggest these are probably some of the oldest types of bead. So, typically, you might associate them with bead stringing. They also have a lot of tribal connections. So, perhaps when I talk about wooden beads, you think about tribal jewellery from areas like Africa.

If you’re interested in learning how to string beads, then you can check out this blog.

As I mentioned, they have a lovely large hole. So, that makes them perfect for stringing on a wide range of materials. You can create very simple jewellery by stringing a few wooden beads onto something like leather thong. Just knot the leather to secure the beads, or make a clasp.

Wooden beads strung on cord and knotted to make a cute caterpillar

But, did you know that you can also use these beads in bead-weaving projects?

Yes, that’s right… they make a wonderful base for beading over, either in whole or in part. You just need simple bead-weaving techniques, like Peyote stitch or netting.

So, let me share some ideas with you…

Projects using wooden beads

I love using these to make beaded beads. Simply create a Peyote stitch casing to cover the wood. You can add patterns and colours. Then you can still string your beaded beads. Use the larger ones as a single focal bead, or string several smaller beads into a necklace or bracelet.

Peyote stitch beaded beads, Katie Dean, Beadflowers

Click here to get the beading pattern to make these beaded beads

You can also use your covered beads for more exotic projects. So, I’ve turned mine into key rings, charms, cute fish, flowers, and I’m sure there will be plenty more ideas to come!

Basically, the wooden form just provides a wonderfully stable structure on which to create. You can then continue to string through the bead, or even bead over the hole if you prefer.

Click here to view a range of patterns made with wooden beads

I have also used these as bases for creating little characters, just like my Kokeshi doll, Easter bunny and Easter chick. You can find all the patterns for those projects by using the link above.

And, if you prefer to use them as features within a project, I can help you out there as well… How about this Austin Powers necklace? I used some wooden beads as a nod to the ‘hippy’ era that inspired it. But I chose painted beads in bright colours for this project.

Austen Powers Necklace by Katie Dean, incorporating wooden beads

Click here to get the Austin Powers necklace tutorial

So, I think it’s fair to say that the options are endless. Are you now beginning to see why I suggested that these beads might be a little under-utilised?

Where can I get the beads?

Well, most bead and craft shops will sell a range of wooden beads. I have some available at this link. You can also try your local bead store. Or check out the beading directory on this website to discover new bead shops.

These aren’t specialist beads, and they aren’t very expensive. So, I hope that inspires you to try out something new. Even the most natural and basic of materials can create stunning jewellery!

20% off Etsy beading patterns

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