If you are thinking about diving in to beading and beadwork as a new hobby, but aren't sure about what you might need to get started, here is a checklist of supplies you might want to gather before you start. The good news is that the supplies you need are pretty easy to come by, and your local bead shop would most likely be happy to help you get started.
The first thing you’ll need is a surface for your beads. You don’t want to just pour them right onto a table or a book – they will roll all over the place and onto the floor. A quick, low cost way to get started is to use a clean, neutral-colored dish towel. Later, you can upgrade to a high-end work pad or a set of ceramic water color dishes.Work S
Nylon beading threads are great threads for beginning beaders. The only disadvantage they have is that they should be stretched and conditioned before stitching with them, but this is easy to do.
Fishing-line type threads and bonded/gel-spun threads are also great for beginners, since these threads require little or no conditioning and don't tangle or knot as easily as nylon beading threads. Their only disadvantage is that they are somewhat more expensive than nylon beading threads.
Of course, if you are beading from a set of project instructions, you should always start out by using the thread called for in the directions. Once you have finished a few projects, you can usually use whatever thread you prefer.
Needles are as much a personal choice as thread when it comes to beadwork. There are many types of needles suitable for beadwork and beadweaving, and there are needles that are made specifically for beadwork. The best needles for beadwork and beadweaving tend to be thin and flexible, which allows them to pass several times through the hole of a small seed bead.
This is the best part of beadwork and beadweaving. There are so many different types, shapes, sizes and colors of seed beads and accent beads to choose from, it can be quite overwhelming. A good way to begin is to pick a specific project and use the beads called for in the directions. Once you have completed a few projects, you’ll find that your stash is growing, and you’ll need to come up with a solution for bead storage.
LightingLighting is very important when doing beadwork and beadweaving. Some beaders swear by true color lights such as Ott-Lites, and others are happy with a simple desk lamp over their work area. Make sure that whatever type of lighting you choose allows you to see clearly without straining your eyes.
Depending on what type of thread you are using, you will need either a good, sharp embroidery scissor (for nylon threads) or a pair of craft scissors or a thread cutter (for fishing-line type or gel-spun threads). Having cleanly cut thread ends can make threading your needle a lot easier!
Even if you don’t plan on doing wire work, a good set of jewelry pliers is essential for doing tasks like opening and closing jump rings, attaching earring findings to your beadwork, and making wrapped loops. They also come in handy when trying to maneuver your needle through a snug spot in your beadwork. Ergonomic tools are designed to be easy on your hands and are available from most local bead shops. Always buy the highest quality set of jewelry pliers that you can afford – they will last longer and be easier on your hands.
MagnifiersIf you are noticing eye strain even with your lighting, you may also need to use a magnifier. Magnifiers come in handy when looking at fine detail, and they come in many different sizes. Depending on what type of lighting you are using, there are some magnifiers that can clip directly on to your light.
Once your bead stash starts to expand, you’ll need to find a way to organize and store your beads. Take into consideration if you will be traveling with your beads – soft sided tackle boxes make great organizers and they are easily taken with you.