Saturday, 3 December 2011

Where to buy beads for your hobby

So, you've decided to try something new this year and that is to make your own jewelry. Making jewelry is fairly easy to do. There are various techniques that can be used to make your own jewelry.
Of course, some techniques are more complicated than others. Either way your creations will come out beautiful in the end.

I am always asked by long time jewelry hobbyists and beginners as to where I get my beads. So, I thought I would create a list of places I normally go to for my beads.

1. Dollar Store. The dollar store is one of the best beading stores if you are trying out beading as a hobby. They normally stock packages of assorted beads. They can range from stones, glass, porcelain, wood, and shell. They are inexpensive and great to use as practice beads.
The downside to the dollar store is that the bead style options are limited. Other than that, dollar stores are still an awesome store to visit when you are starting out.

2. Art and Bead Stores.  If you want a bigger selection, art stores like Michael's will have a variety of beads to choose from. The biggest reason why I buy from art stores is that I can touch and feel the merchandise.
However, buying from an art store can get quite expensive. Always set a budget on how much you want to spend before going. Believe me, I have gotten lost with all the pretty, shiny beads in bead stores and always tend to overspend.

My recommendation is to buy a beginner kit first. Jewelry kits will include all a beginner beader needs. Items such as flat nose pliers, round nose pliers, beads, and findings are all included in most kits. You can normally make a few jewelry pieces from the kit itself. There are also jewelry kits with instructions designed to make a specific jewelry item.

3. Online or bulk bead stores: If you decide to take your beading hobby a step further then you can buy your beads in bulk. There are literally hundreds of places that sell in bulk locally or online.
Although most wholesale bead stores require you to have a registered business there are some who cater to hobbyists or small businesses. Many sell their beads and tools at a fraction of the cost when you buy retail.

4. Your old jewelry. Old jewelry can be taken apart and made into new designs. When I first started my jewelry hobby, I simply re-used some of the old jewelry that I have not worn in years. I took them apart and made something new with them. They are actually my favourite pieces.

5. Pebbles and stones. Simple stones and pebbles from riversides or beaches can be turned into jewelry. I normally pick up stones that have an unusual color or shape and make them into wire wrapped pendants. They look amazing once placed on a chain.

Starting a new hobby is fun and exciting. The art of jewelry-making itself has endless possibilities. With an openness to learn new things, you can create beautiful jewelry for yourself or as gifts.
Now you know where you can find beads so you can start enjoying your jewelry hobby or perhaps future business.

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