Beading looms, Russian coraling techniques, crocheted bead jewelry, beading incorporated into purses and quilts … there are so many ways to create beaded items that it’s hard to know where to start. Luckily, the Internet can bring an entire world of beading information, materials and supplies into your home. A quick search using the keyword “beading” results in hundreds of websites offering beading materials and supplies, free beading patterns, and a wealth of books for students of beading, both beginning and advanced.
For the beginner, the book Simply Beautiful Beading: 53 Quick and Easy Projects, by Heidi Boyd, offers a variety of attractive designs for jewelry and accessories, as well as projects for home décor. She teaches thirteen basic beading techniques, all easy to do and all of which result in beautifully made items for personal use. Another book, Bead Fantasies, by Takako Samejima, teaches easy techniques which result in wonderfully delicate and feminine jewelry and other crafted items.
If you’re interested in the intricate designs possible with the use of a bead weaving loom, explore the Dover Needlework series volume, Big Book of Indian Beadwork Designs, by Kay Doherty Bennett. One of many excellent beading books with a Native American theme, this particular book has a wealth of authentic Native American designs to copy or adapt to your own projects, for jewelry and to add to clothing, bags, and other crafted items.
You can also find information, both in these books and on the Internet, about the materials and supplies you need to start beading: bead boards, bead crimping tools, stringing wire, tweezers, a variety of beading looms – and, of course, beads and findings, thousands of them, from all around the world. From the tiniest seed beads to large, colorful ceramic or glass beads, to intricately designed silver beads, bells, and pendants, they are available from virtually anywhere in the world. If you want to make it easy on yourself, order a beading kit: many are available for all skill levels, and will get you set up with the basic tools needed for the craft, in addition to supplying you with the beads necessary for the specific project.
Beaders are a passionate lot, and many websites available on the Internet offer galleries of personal work for your inspiration; many also offer free beading patterns, as well as free instruction, even free online courses in beading. Pick a project that attracts you, and try to copy it using the techniques you know. Play with it; choose different color combinations, incorporate the design into a different application from the one shown, explore using beads of different sizes and shapes to see what results. Pick up a book on color or basic design and incorporate those principles into your work. You may find that you move very quickly from simply copying the designs of other artists to creating your own designs, and from there you’ll very quickly develop your own personal style.