How to Use Beads for Making Jewelry

Before you begin making jewelry or beading projects, gather some basic tools and supplies and become familiar with recommended lengths for necklaces, bracelets, and more. You may want to consider how to personalize your beadwork by using birthstones (precious or semiprecious) or their crystal equivalents. And when you need help with design inspiration, supply sources, or technique, take advantage of the rich online resources created by other jewelry-making fans or jewelry makers.

Jewelry making with beads is addictive! You can learn how to make jewelry with free instructions, projects, and ideas. You should start to discover new beading techniques as soon as possible.

A bead is a small, decorative object that is formed in a variety of shapes and sizes of a material such as stone, bone, shell, glass, plastic, wood or pearl and with a small hole for threading or stringing. Beads range in size from under 1 mm to over 1 cm in diameter. A pair of beads made from Nassarius sea snail shells, approximately 100,000 years old, are thought to be the earliest known examples of jewelry. Beadwork is the art or craft of making things with beads. Beads can be woven together with specialized thread, strung onto thread or soft, flexible wire, or adhered to a surface.

Beads can be divided into several types of overlapping categories based on different criteria such as the materials from which they are made, the process used in their manufacturing, the place or period of origin, the patterns on their surface, or their general shape. In some cases, such as millefiori and cloisonné beads, multiple categories may overlap in an interdependent fashion.

Natural Materials

Beads are made from many naturally occurring materials, both organic such as animal-based or plant-based origin and inorganic which is the purely mineral origin. However, some of these materials now routinely undergo some extra processing beyond mere shaping and drilling such as color enhancement via dyes or irradiation.

The natural organics include bone, coral, horn, ivory, seeds animal shell, and wood. For most of human history, pearls were the ultimate precious beads of natural origin because of their rarity; the modern pearl-culturing process has made them far more common. Amber and jet are also of natural organic origin although both are the result of partial fossilization.

The natural inorganics include various types of stones, ranging from gemstones to common minerals, and metals. Of the latter, only a few precious metals occur in pure forms, but other purified base metals may as well be placed in this category along with certain naturally occurring alloys such as electrum. There are also paper beads.

Synthetic Materials

The oldest-surviving synthetic materials used for beadmaking have generally been ceramics which are pottery and glass. Beads were made from ancient alloys such as bronze and brass as well, but as those were more vulnerable to oxidation they have generally been less well-preserved at archaeological sites.

Many different subtypes of glass are now used for beadmaking, some of which have their own component-specific names. Lead crystal beads have a high percentage of lead oxide in the glass formula, increasing the refractive index. Most of the other named glass types have their formulations and patterns inseparable from the manufacturing process.

Small, colorful, fusible plastic beads can be placed on a solid plastic-backed peg array to form designs and then melted together with a clothes iron. They can be strung into necklaces and bracelets or woven into keychains. Fusible beads come in many colors and degrees of transparency/opacity. Pegboards come in various shapes and several geometric patterns. When the beads were made of polyethylene, it became possible to fuse them with a flat iron. Hama comes in three sizes: mini (diameter 2.5 mm), midi (5 mm) and maxi (10 mm). Perler beads come in two sizes called classic (5 mm) and biggie (10 mm). Pyssla beads only come in one size (5 mm).

Beginners Corner

Are you an absolute beginner at making jewelry? If your answer is yes, then, you should start with a strand of beads, beading wire, a few findings, jewelry pliers and you will be a pro in no time! Ready, set, learn how to string beads into a necklace!

Beading Techniques

Bead Stringing: Dou you consider yourself as a newbie? Then, it means you need to find out what you need to know to start making jewelry. You should start with a technique called stringing. Step by step photos and instructions will help you to make jewelry like a pro!

Bead Crochet: Crocheting with beads is a technique that is making a come back. You can see step-by-step how it has done. Get rope patterns and find out how one visitor crochets her way to make light and airy necklaces and bracelets.

Chainmail: The techniques for making chainmail weaves have been around for centuries. Now, you can learn several chainmail patterns – 2 by 2, Byzantine, box chain – in order to make your own chain maille jewelry.

Peyote Stitch: Have you tried stitching? No? Oh, you are going to have so much fun! You should begin with the ever-popular peyote stitch. There are so many variations – even count, odd count, circular, tubular and more. You maybe want to try peyote stitch at first.

Wirework: Wire jewelry is easier to make than you may think. Plus, you do not need to use just sterling silver wire. You can use copper, brass and memory wire too. So, pick up your pliers and try making wire jewelry today!

Beaded Jewelry Making Projects

Bracelets: Do you need a bracelet to match that new outfit? You can find out how to make bracelets using different materials such as jewelry making wire, wire, beads, chain, stretch cord and more. You can make your own bracelet to wear for every day of the week!

Earrings: Hoops, chandelier, dangles and so on you will love them all! Get instructions on how to make earrings and ear wires too. Do you want to have multiple piercings? No problem. You can learn how to make Bajoran style earrings!

Lanyards: Lanyards can be dull and uninteresting to wear. But not jewelry lanyards! You can use simple techniques to learn how to make lanyards that will make your co-workers green with envy.

Necklaces: You can make a lariat, Cleopatra, choker, bib, illusion or endless necklace bu yourselves! You should use step by step jewelry making instructions to learn how to make a necklace. Be the envy of all at your next event!

Pendants: You can make a simple, or grand, pendant to add to any chain and wear it today. Simple techniques make it possible. You can use briolettes, crystal pendants, rough stones and more when making pendants.

Rosaries: Rosaries are sacred and you can make your own and personalized! Use the step by step jewelry making instructions for making rosaries your way! Beads are perfect for making a rosary.

The Beadery Giant Crayon Bead Box – approximately 2300 beads

There are SO many beads. The beads themselves seem fine and the price is right, but this is going to take a substantial amount of time. All the beads are in beautiful colors. Overall even with the cheap case, it’s still a better value, more beads for less money. These bead craft kits are among the most creative on the market, with designs for beaded holiday decorations, children’s crafts, jewelry, and home decor.

Bingcute 8mm Wholesale Briolette Crystal Glass Beads for Jewelry Making Faceted #5040 Briollete Rondelle Shape Assorted Colors with Container Box (300PCS)

Good quality beads for jewelry making. They are very shiny and sparkly and would make a beautiful touch to handmade jewelry. These crystal beads are really pretty. They sparkle like Swarovski crystals. The cut of these beads is very appealing! The colors are really dramatic and pretty. It is a great variety. The container is a nice clear plastic. The entire container fits in your hand, not in the palm alone, but within the length of an adult female hand. It is okay, it is worth it because there are a lot of beads in there. Enough to make many bracelets and necklaces, earrings, bracelets and so on. They really are vibrant and defined so that each color is different and striking, for example, the emeralds are dramatically different from the periods. They are not exactly spherical, two sides of the bead are flatter so they sit against the skin nicely without rolling about.

Chuangdi 1105 Pieces Wooden Beads, Natural Round Wood Beads Set with 1 Roll Crystal Elastic Line for DIY Jewelry Craft Making, 6 Sizes (6 mm/ 8 mm/ 10 mm/ 12 mm/ 16 mm/ 20 mm)

Great bead set for crafting and painting for your projects. Good elastic and quality, not easy to break or crack, clear crystalline are suitable for making decorative craft projects, also can apply to weave. Beads came in a nice compact storage container. These are unfinished wooden beads. You can leave them unfinished or you can stain them or paint them. Since there are 6 different sizes of beads in this box, there are also 6 different size holes. Package includes 1105 pieces wooden beads in total, 600 x 6 mm, 260 x 8 mm, 130 x 10 mm, 70 x 12 mm, 30 x 16 mm, 15 x 20 mm, also includes 1 roll crystal elastic line in 4.5 m length (1 mm in diameter).

Kansoo 100Pcs 0.55 inch Unfinished Wooden Beads Necklace Bracelet DIY Craft-Geometric

The beads are smooth and ready for you to paint. They are made of quality natural wood material, natural wooden color, good hand-feel and durable. It has delicate many-faceted design, geometric shape, stylish and fashion. The beads all after the polish treatment, it is easy to get colored, and convenient for your DIY craft. It can be used for artwork making, necklace making, garment accessories, decorations accessories and so on.

Keyzone Wholesale 100pcs 12mm Mixed Painted Drum Wood Spacer Beads Wooden Beads for DIY Jewelry Making Hair Accessories

They are made of wood and have mixed colors. Wooden beads size is 12mm x 10mm and the hole size is approx. 5 mm. There are multiple designs, mostly painted with a different pattern, and they are ideal for making bracelets and necklaces. These beads are perfect for kids to play with, which helps develop children’s agility of using their hands as well. They provide multiple uses. They can be used as dreadlock beads for hair, macrame DIY, jewelry making, and kids school Project.

Pandahall Elite 1 Box (About 3600 pcs) 24 Color 4mm Handcrafted Crackle Lampwork Glass Round Beads Assortment Lot for Jewelry Making

These beads, among many others, have made my bracelets beautiful and unique. Pandahall is a great source for beautiful beads. These beads are gorgeous! They all sparkle and they are a perfect size. The package includes about 3600 pieces of crackle beads, about 150 pieces for each color. There is a total of 24 colors such as green, blue, red, yellow, pink and more, enough and vibrant to meet your various needs of DIY jewelry making or craft creations. Great amount for your jewelry making or DIY craft. The beads which are sorted out by each color are stored in a high-quality organizer storage container. Convenient for you to collect, carry and store anywhere! Great kit for a DIY bracelet, necklace, dress decoration, jewelry accessories, gifts, and other crafts.

Cmidy Natural Stone Beads 100pcs 8mm Amazonite Round Genuine Real Stone Beading Loose Gemstone Hole Size 1mm DIY Charm Smooth Beads for Bracelet Necklace Earrings Jewelry Making (Amazonite Stone)

They are polished. Nice looking selection. The colors are more muted than what they appear on the listing. The holes are large enough for a double pass with the stretch string which helps with jewelry strength. These beads make wonderful rosaries. Stone beads are not only for making beading Beaded necklaces but can be used to make earrings, bracelets, yoga bracelets, rings, anklets, ear cuffs, brooches, hair accessories and other jewelry making too. Other than Jewelry, Gemstone Stone Beads can be used to create ornaments and accessories such as sun catchers, key chains, bookmarks, zipper pulls, eyeglass chains and phone jewelry, DIY gifts, arts & craft, home & wedding decoration. These are great gift ideas for both men and women.

Cmidy Natural Stone Beads 200pcs Mixed 8mm Round Genuine Real Stone Beading Loose Gemstone Hole Size 1mm DIY Charm Smooth Beads for Bracelet Necklace Earrings Jewelry Making (Stone Beads Mix 200pcs)

Efivs Arts 24 Stone Beads Natural Gemstone Beads Irregular Chips Stones Crushed Chunked Crystal Pieces Loose Beads for Jewelry Making Thanksgiving Gifts Christmas Party Crafts

The gemstones are good quality and work well for making pendants. They are a good size. Some of them are super tiny, but they work well too. These stones are wonderful, predrilled holes for jewelry and a nice smooth finish on most stones. Half of the pieces are a tad small for my liking, and the stones do not come in an even amount. The gemstones seem like real crystals. They are natural stones, all irregular and drilled with holes. They come in the box, as pictured, which closes well, so the stones won’t fall out. The case is nice and will definitely be reused.

24 color assorted gemstone box set includes amethyst, lapis lazuli, ceregat, tiger’s eye, red coral, obsidian, rose quartz, aventurine, olivine, green agate, amazon stone, southern red agate, colored fluorite prehnite, melting stone, kallaite, smoky quartz, sunstone, yellow corals, white coral, azurlite, colorful agate, green-colored glaze and blue colored glaze.

Paxcoo 500pcs Lava Beads Stone Rock with Chakra Beads and Spacer Beads for Essential Oil and Jewelry Making (500pcs)

The black volcano beads come in 3 different sizes. There are 6 of each of the chakra beads (6 red, 6 orange and so on). Those come in separate little bags. 6 of each color means you would have enough to make 6 chakra bead bracelets total! The little spacers are very pretty and good quality as well. Colorful volcano beads, pink, white marble, and dark green beads are included as well as black and white elastic string. The black volcano beads are great with oil, the oil smell of your choosing will last a couple of days. The storage container you get is sturdy and compact, fits the contents fine. The organizer works well as the pieces stay in their own spots and don’t go into the other slots. It includes 2 types of cording, the beads, and the durable and reusable container.

LONGWIN Lot 1800pcs Glass Bicone Beads, Wholesale 4mm Bicone Shaped Crystal Faceted Beads Jewelry Making Supply for DIY Beading Projects, Bracelets, Necklaces, Earrings & Other Jewelry

They are so pretty and the sparkle is beautiful! The perfect bead if you want perfect in whatever you are making. These are very nice beads but they are packaged in cellophane sacks instead of a bead container like seed beads. It is obvious that some fell out the corners of the box because there are not very many of those 2 colors. The parcel includes 1800pcs sparkling crystal bicone beads in 18 colors that are conveniently assorted in individually wrapped in a transparent plastic bag. With so many colors, it is inconvenient to have them in cellophane sacks that tear easily.

You can make a lot of jewelry and ornaments so it would be nice to have them in a bad container instead of having to buy those too. Besides, it is a hassle opening all of them and putting them in a container. Other than that, the beads themselves are very nice. Good price for what you get, as long as they don’t break open and fall out during shipping.

DECYOOL 1900pcs 7 Colors Round Letter Beads Acrylic Alphabet Number Beads with 1 Roll Elastic Crystal String Cord for Jewelry Making DIY Necklace Bracelet (7x4mm)

Plenty of beads and options for the kids to use them to create unique pieces. Seven types of alphabet beads would be perfect for your handicraft project. There is also a roll of transparent elastic lines which is highly practical. The package includes 300 pieces for each color. Colors are a white black letter, white color letter, transparent white letter, black color letter, color black letter, and white black number. And there are 100 pieces which are a white, black and red heart-shaped pattern. It means there are 1900 pieces in total. You will love those alphabet letter beads for jewelry making kandi beads name bracelets, decoration, pendants, accessories, and so on.

CandyHome 12 Pack Fishbowl Beads, Slime Beads for Homemade Slime Clear Vase Slime Supplies Arts DIY Crafts, Party or Wedding Decoration 12 Colors 8.5 Ounces

Excellent product. You get a large number of fishbowl beads. The colors are vibrant. Great price for all these beads. They are nice quality and bright colors. These fishbowl slime beads are made of 100% plastic, smooth, no sharp edges and no smell. Without harm to your hands. There are 12 pack 12 colors vase filler beads: white, pink, light blue, deep blue, pink, purple, dark purple, yellow, rose red, red, light green, and fluorescent green.

Crunchy slime beads can stick to slime or used for vases, kids crafts, flower arrangements, aquariums, home decor, flowerpot, wedding, and party decoration. Many friends like to make various slime to relax life. It is the best crunchy slime on the web. The cold, wet slime makes your hands want to squeeze and squash over and over. You can search “fishbowl slime” on youtube to learn more about it.

WXBOOM 100pcs Assorted Handmade Colorful Pattern Beads Fimo Polymer Clay Round Spacer Bulk Beads with Scissors and White Cord (10mm) for Jewelry Making

These are so pretty. All the colors go well together. Great colorful assortment. Easy to work with and fun to make a thing with. The beads themselves are very easily threaded onto the elastic. Soft ceramic beads are purely handmade, very fine-looking. It comes with 1 pair of scissors and 1 white cord as gifts. The length of the white cord is approx. 7.5 meter/24.6ft. They are waterproof. They can be unisex.

Qiwan 45PCS 8mm Yellow Tiger Eye A Grade Gemstone Loose Beads Natural Round Crystal Energy Stone Healing Power for Jewelry Making 1 Strand 15″

Good value. What you would expect for this price point when it comes to stones and gems. They are true to size and each bead is unique. All stones are unique and may vary from the one shown in the picture. These beads are mostly blue or dark blue, not mostly white like the less expensive sodalite beads. The color is very soothing and doesn’t vary too widely. The beads are somewhat matte, not highly polished. These are mostly yellow-hued beads that will go well with the autumn-themed combination. It is a useful stone for jewelry making and jewelry design. It is also said to have some protective properties.

Qiwan 45PCS 8mm Blue Turquoise Gemstone Loose Round Beads Crystal Energy Stone Healing Power for Jewelry Making 1 Strand 15″

CHEAVIAN 6mm 60PCS Natural White Howlite Gemstone Round Loose Stone Beads for Jewelry Making DIY Crafts Design 1 Strand 15″

These beads are gorgeous natural stone. The beads have a violet fluorescence, which, is indicative of sodalite. The beads are high quality and the color is perfect. These are so powerful. You feel their authenticity radiate with their energy. Beautiful variation to these stones. There are variations in size and shape and the quality of the drilled holes.

CHEAVIAN 60PCS 6mm Natural Red Network Stone Round Loose Beads for Jewelry Making DIY Materials 1 Strand 15″

Fishdown 124 PCS Lampwork Murano European Round Faceted Beads Metal Spacer Beads Crystal Large Hole Beads Assortment for Jewelry Bracelet Making with Snake Chain Charm Bracelet

The bracelet looks beautiful. It is easy to build and take apart. It is easy to open the bracelet and all the beads are very pretty. It feels comfortable to wear and comes with multiple bracelets and a lot of beads. These are exquisite! Colors are rich and the patterns unique. The package includes 124 pieces of mixed color round faceted European beads, 5 pieces snake chain charm bracelet and metal spacer beads. The beads even come in an organized box that is good for traveling. Overall, it works great.

TianBo 100pcs Mix Silver Color Large Hole Bead Resin Crack Turquoise Fit European Charm Bracelet Spacer for Jewelry Making SS01

These beads are A-1 quality at a reasonable price. These are great and you only need a few to enhance any piece of jewelry. The package includes 100 pieces lot of mixed colors European charm beads. It is made of acrylic and copper o-ring which means they are lead and nickel free. These beads are compatible with all major brands such as Pandora, Troll, Chamilia, Biagi and more.

ICAI Beads 8mm Natural Colorful Stone Round Loose Stone Beads for Jewelry Making DIY Crafts Design 1 Strand 15″ APPR.43-45 Pieces

They are heavy, high-quality beads. The colors are deep and very nice. All stones are unique and may vary from the one shown in the picture. It contains 7 kinds of beads which are amethyst, lapis lazuli, blue jasper, green aventurine, tiger eye, yellow jade, and red jasper. In the package, they provide best-selling stretch cord and 1 piece collapse eye needle string up the ICAI gemstone beads which are excellent for beading, jewelry making, jewelry design, DIY gifts, arts & crafts, necklaces, bracelets, yoga bracelets, earrings, ring, home, and wedding decoration.

ICAI Beads 8mm Natural Green Aventurine Stone Round Loose Stone Beads for Jewelry Making DIY Crafts Design 1 Strand 15″ APPR.43-45 pieces

SUNYIK Indian Agate Large Hole (6mm) Rondelle Loose Charms European Bead fits Bracelet, Jewelry Makings Pack of 20

The hole size is perfect for leather lace and other wrap material. Nice packaging and good quality however the offering of color is very limited. The package includes 20 pieces. Natural stone beads for jewelry making: perfect for European style charm bracelet, snake chain, pendant, necklace, wristband, finding, art design, crafts, collecting, handmade hair accessory. Dream catcher supplies: bulk sales for handmade stringing with caprice chain, wide leather laces and hemp twine, braided fabric strips, fiber cord, and other stringing materials. Natural big hole beads, the stripe or color of the beads may vary from lot to lot, we will send you what we are available by random.

SUNYIK Assorted Colors Hematite Gemstone Loose Beads Fit Charms Bracelet (Faceted Hematite) Pack of 50

SUNYIK Picture Jasper Large Hole (6mm) Rondelle Loose Charms European Bead fits Bracelet, Jewelry Makings Pack of 20

JIALEEY 30PCs Silver Tone Mixed Rhinestone Pendants Crystal Beads for Earrings Bracelet Necklace Jewelry Craft Making, 12x8mm

Beautiful Rhinestone charms that help personalize your jewelry piece and craft project. The sparkling facets are sure to add lovely accents to any jewelry or craft design. Alloy beads pendants adopt electroplating process, beautiful and safe. Used to create dramatic pendants, earrings, bracelets, necklaces, anklets, home decoration, and other event decoration, is a very useful accessory. The package includes 30 pieces of crystal charms in 6 different colors.

SLLING About 50 pieces Golden Electroplated Shell Beads Cowrie Shells Natural Seashells for Wakiki Hawaii Anklet Bracelet, Craft Making, Home Decoration, Beach Party (Light gold)

You can make pretty and meaningful shells choir accessories with these beads. And the shell is believed to ward off evil spirits and protect you, stable mood and eliminate distractions. These Hawaiian accessories with holes are ideal to be wrapped with some beading wire to make pendants, jewelry making, jewelry design, DIY gifts, arts & craft, necklaces, bracelets, Yoga bracelets, earrings, ring, fish tank, home & wedding decoration. Also, pair well with nautical theme parties.

Perfect as an alternative to beads for adorning your hair locks and braids. Thye is perfect and easy to use for crafts and jewelry. Then you can enjoy the beach and have great fun with your handmade seashell necklace, a fashionable boho jewelry piece.

SumDirect 1 Pound Tumbled Matte Beach Sea Glass Beads Non-Toxic Lead-Free, for Aquarium, Crafts, Decor, Vase Filler and Etc (Matte, Sea Blue)

It is a small package but the glass stones have a very vivid and bright blue color. The color even looks more pretty when wet or under the sunlight. All stones are even in shape. There were a few imperfections (small cracks), but overall pretty good quality. The color is beautiful, but the stones arrived very dustily so they will have to be polished up a bit before they’re ready to use.

Savaş Ateş

I like reading books. I like to read about jewelry too. After reading a lot of books about it, I have started to visit jewelry manufacturers and stores. It is my number 1 hobby.

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