Everything You Will Need To Start Making Beaded Necklaces
Getting started with jewellery making can be a little overwhelming, knowing where to start, which techniques to use and most importantly which products to start with.
It is all too easy to buy a load of beads and findings and then think…”now what?”. We suggest when you first start out, buying the essentials that you are always going to need and build your collection from there.
This applies to both beads and findings. Everyone has there own style and it can be difficult to find your own groove. Of course you can be inspired by others work, but it will take time to find your individual style. So we would suggest not buying a ton of beads until you play around with a few styles and find a look that works for you.
With this being said, it can be tough to figure out where to start and can be daunting enough to not both at all. Well, not to fret crafters, here are our top recommendations for beginner jewellery makers:
1. An Organised Workspace.
Sitting on your bed, trying to balance packets of beads isn’t going to cut it. Trust me, I have tried it and it is a disaster waiting to happen. You’ll be sleeping amongst beads before you know it! Whether it is a small desk, the dining room table or a whole beaded crafting room if you’re so lucky, it is so important to have an organised space that can be dedicated to your beading. Having a bead only zone means you can organise your beads to your hearts desire, which will make your crafting so much easier. We would also suggest getting some good organiser boxes so they don’t get mixed up (unless that’s the look you’re going for!).
2. Beads... Duh!
The world of beads is vast and all consuming… so let’s start with the basics. Seed Beads are a great places to start. Not only are they super trendy and incredibly versatile, they are easy to work with. We would recommend a 3mm or 4mm size, which offer at least a 1mm hole size, making threading straight forward and not too fiddly. What’s even better is having a good range to work with, in terms of colour and texture. Although Opaque is definitely one of the most popular finishes of the seed bead range, there are many to consider, including:
- AB Lustre
TIP: if one style isn’t going to cut it, why not try a Seed Bead Soup?
A great way to find out which style you like working with is investing in a seed bead pack, offering a huge range of tones and finishes. Here are our recommendations:
Now you have a main collection of seed beads, you may also want to consider investing in some feature beads and spacers. Trending products for this include, Fresh Water Pearls, Millefiori Glass Beads and Heishi Beads.
3. Thread And Wire... Which One Should I Use?
Thread is of course a hugely important component, because what is a bead without some thread? Again, there are many routes you can go down with threading, but put your blinkers on for the time being and focus on these suggestions.
Polyester thread is a great starting point as it is strong, versatile and fairly easy to work with. If you are not yet looking to move on to constructing clasps and using findings, this material is very easy to create secure knots. This is especially good for making beaded phone straps and charms because you can thread some fun, chunky beads on without any problems and can finish the design off with a simple knot.
But, be warned, Polyester can be a bit of a pain in the a** when threading the beads! Before you know it, the end is fraying, making it near impossible to thread the beads, meaning you have to keep trimming it.
TIP: Thread a needle onto your beading cord and use the needle to thread the beads.
As great as polyester is for simply beading crafts, it isn't the best material to use for more intricate designs. If you are looking to make some necklaces and bracelets to potentially sell, or want to last for a long period of time, wire is a more appropriate route to go down, specifically Tiger Tail Wire. Tiger Tail is a very malleable wire that creates an even and stronger shape for necklaces. If you are using seed beads, this is a great material to use because the weight placement creates a beautiful shape that fits perfectly to the neck. And unlike softer cords like Polyester, it is much easier to thread and won't fray.
But because of the nature of Tiger Tail, it cannot be knotted, meaning you will need to use findings to create a fastening. Carry on reading to find out the key jewellery findings you will need to create a clasp!
4. Pliers - 4 Essential Types
Pliers are an absolute essential for adding your findings and creating clasps. Here are the 4 main ones you will need and what they are used for:
- Crimp Pliers - These pliers are used to crush your crimp beads (a tiny bead that fastens the beads onto your wire/thread).
- Flat Nose Pliers - This is the most versatile plier to own. It is great for gripping onto your wire and beads to help adjust them accordingly. They are also used to help open jump rings without leaving marks. You can even use these to crush your crimp beads if you don't have your Crimp Pliers to hand (although, it may not be as secure).
- Round Nose Pliers - These are a MUST for earring crafts. When it comes to making earrings, you will need to be able to make loops for the fastening. But thats a different subject! In terms of necklaces, these are just a great extra tool to have for helping to hold your design steady. Try using these with your Flat Nose pliers to open jump rings with ease.
- Snipping Pliers - Use these to cut your wire to create a clean finish.
5. Jewellery Findings
When it comes to necklaces, you will want a secure clasp to finish the design in a professional and secure style. In order to do this, you will need a few things:
Crimp Beads - Crimp beads are the key component for securing your beads onto the thread. When crimped properly it won't budge on your wire, creating a secure and smart looking finish.
Jump Ring (6mm or 5mm) - Jump rings are used to attach other components, including a clasp/lobster claw. These will allow you to create a joining for each end of your necklace.
Lobster Claw Clasp - This is a standard clasp that can be attached to your open Jump Ring and then linked to the jump ring on the other side.
Crimp Covers - If you want to go that extra mile to create a professional finish, cover your crimp with a silver cover.
And there you have it! These are the essentials for your beaded necklaces! Want to know how to create the clasp? Read our next article on: Jewellery Making For Beginners: How To Attach A Necklace Clasp .