What is Beading?

So just what is beading or bead work? Do you have a pre-conceived idea? There may be more to making jewelry then you originally thought. 

Shall we discover some of the possibilities all that involves the making jewelry?

There are different types of techniques and methods of bead work. Do you know what the differences are? Are you sure what type of beading you want to learn?

What is beading?

The word 'beading' is a general term and we'll delve more into this topic as well as see examples to give you a clearer idea. This will hopefully provide you with a better perspective or it may give you a...

Change of Perspective

When first beginning to learn how to make beaded jewelry you may have just one certain idea in mind as to what beaded jewelry may be.

We found there was more than what originally thought. Boy were we surprised what we discovered. The word ‘beading jewelry’ gave us a whole new perspective. 

Bezel Setting

Basic Stringing

Basic bead stringing was the goal...but what is yours?  Would you care to take a closer look at some options ahead of you?

What is beading?  Beading is...

Bead Stringing

What is bead stringing? Well...basically, it's stringing beads on a cord, wire or 'string', to create either a piece of jewelry or an accessory.

You string the beads and you close your project to secure the beads. Voil`a...you have a piece of jewelry or accessory. Beads can be strung on a variety of materials, but regardless it's still just basic stringing. This seems to be the most common method for beginners to start with. 

It's simple, easy to understand, affordable and doesn't leave much room for error. This is our area of interest and we take you on an exploration of the topic. We look closer at the beading supplies, techniques and tools needed for each project as you progress through.

What is beading?  Beading is.....

Bead Embroidery

Bead embroidery is a type of bead work that incorporates sewing with beads, stitching seed beads to a variety of items or garments, creating an embellished look that enhances the appearance.

bead embroideryBead embroidery with seed beads to enhance the many pieces of your wardrobe.

So beading is not merely for jewelry making but also embellishing non-jewelry items. It is still considered beading and bead work all the same.

Embellishing garments such as a wedding dress or an evening gown and fashion accessories may require sewing or gluing the beads to your project. There would be specialized materials specific to that type of project that would be needed.

This type of bead work will be a time investment project but well worth the effort to achieve the bling and effects the added dimension can offer your wardrobe. Here is a taste.

What is beading? Beading is.....

Bead Weaving

Bead weaving is a type of bead work that incorporates sewing, stitching and weaving beads together to create beaded patterns. Bead weaving is done both on a bead loom and off a bead loom.

Off Loom Beading - 

Off loom bead weaving introduces a variety of beading patterns based on a variety of specific stitches used for your project.

photo credit: awjewelrybeadwork.com

Some of these bead weaving stitches are...

  • Peyote Stitch
  • Brick Stitch
  • Square Stitch
  • Right Angle Stitch
  • Tubular Stitch
  • Daisy Stitch

Each specific stitch done in a repetitive series creates different looking beading patterns.

The one picture above is a sample from a bead artist I follow.  She does beautiful work and by the looks of it she knows what she is doing.

Bead weaving can be created using seed beads or a variety of other beads, opening a whole new topic of beading supplies as well. You will learn about needles, beading thread, and a variety of other topics to cover this type of beading thoroughly.

Perhaps in the future you may see more beading instructions and tutorials on bead weaving from Bead At Home. Be sure to stay tuned and in touch as we continue to grow.

For now, let's look at bead weaving on a beading loom...

On Loom Beading -

Bead weaving with a bead loom requires a special tool called...you guessed it...a beading loom frame. It's resembles other type of weaving looms that I'm sure you have seen demonstrated some time or other in your adventures.

Bead looms are available in a variety of styles, quality and price range. Since this is not our expertise, we turn to other beading buddies that have more experience to share their knowledge with you. This should give you  a taste of bead weaving on a bead loom to see if it's something you might pursue

We hope you found this video helpful and gave you some insight as to what to expect should this type of beading or bead work catches your interest. Now let's continue down our quest to find out...

What is beading? Beading is...

Beaded Macramé 

Beaded macramé is also a type of bead weaving and knotting that you may have been introduced to as a child either through girl scouts or some craft class. It is an old art and craft favorite that has been given new life with a new feel.

Macramé is a technique using a series of knots by weaving cord in and out of itself creating different looks. 

Some of these knots will be:

  • Square Knot
  • Half Knot
  • Half Hitch
  • Larks Head
  • Overhand Knot

In addition to a variety of braiding and decorative knots.

Using parachute cord, hemp cord and a variety of other suitable cords will create this fun and appealing styled jewelry for any age group. Examples of this type of weaving can be found in the currently popular friendship bracelets, shamballa bracelets or survival bracelets.

No special tools and no sewing is required to achieve these very popular designs. The knot pictured here is the square knot and very, very easy to achieve with just a little practice. Macramé is an affordable, simple way to create jewelry

Incorporating beads can be added to the process providing more detail and interest to your design plus giving you countless creations for your collection.

It is basic and fun to do if you love working with your hands. The updated colorful materials that are available can make for some rather uptown designs so be watching for more.

For now let's move onto a different concept to beading and bead work and that is actually making beads.

What is beading? Beading is.....

Bead Making

Making beads is another form of bead work. There are a variety of methods and a variety of materials that can be used. Some materials include but are not limited to:

  • Glass Fusion
  • Polymer Clay
  • Silver Smithing
  • Metal Clay
  • Resin
  • Paper 

Finding the right medium that suites you will take some experimentation or perhaps trying your hand with all of them if your interest turns this way.  Bead making can be a very creative outlet just by the examples you see here.

If you decide to create beads using clay or by melting glass canes, each technique will have it's own set of specific tools, instructions and techniques to accomplish the project and master the process. The result will be the same...artistic beading.

With the finished beads you can apply the simple basic stringing techniques shared here at 'Beading Jewelry 101' to take your handmade beads to the next level. Or you have the option to sell them, offering others the opportunity to create from your inspiration.

If all of these are beyond your ideas of beading then let's simplify it back to... 

What is beading? Beading is.....

Beading Craft for Kids

Beading craft for kids is a whole different direction in one sense and a large topic in itself. Yet it is still considered beading. The stereo typical beading craft for kids may consist of the large holed plastic craft beads or pony beads strung onto a thick plastic thread, like you see in this picture here. 

So much more is possible having done several children's classes. Using glass beads or novelty beads make great jewelry projects for kids as well using the right stringing materials.

The bracelet pictured to the right, was a project done for a first grade class for Mother's Day. How would you like to get this from your first grader? Not bad, huh?

Keep an open mind there is more to bead crafting for kids then plastic large holed beads. There are lots of selection that children can easily use.  The reality is that basic bead stringing taught here is suitable for kids of any age, 6-92. We would know...that has been the age range of students in our classes over the years. 

Bead stringing is great for eye and hand coordination for children of any age with adult supervision as much as it is for elderly to stay alert and agile. If they can hold it in their hand, they can string it.

Beading Safety Tip:

Keep those precious little ones safe with adult supervision at all times! 

 A Word of Warning...

Please use extreme caution at all times when children are around. Beading tools have sharp edges, sharp points and can cut. Keep tools out of children's reach. Safety has to be first priority to keep this process fun!

Disclaimer:  beadingjewelry101.com is an information site from our experiences. Safety is always advised. Beading is not for everyone.  Small parts are not suitable for young children so please always use extreme caution when children are around.

Hopefully we made the point that basic bead stringing can be suitable for most ages but there are some other fun beading craft kits for kids as well.

Through the years in our house we love the melting beads put out by Hama beads and Perler beads. These are fun beads to play with and the beading patterns are endless.

Using a frame for both children and adults allows the ease of creating lots of novelty looks that can easily be converted to refrigerator magnets. Try gluing to a binder cover to decorate school supplies. This is just the tip of the iceberg for what is out there for kids crafts. It's all kid-friendly with the right supervision.

Where To Go From Here?

WHEW! That was a lot of information and those were just summaries and didn't even cover all the topics.....are you still there?

Good! We thought you may have drowned in information about 'What is Beading?' You can see there is a lot to this 'beading' stuff.

We hope now that we have had an overview of just some of the different methods and techniques of various bead work, this will help decipher the direction you may want to travel moving forward and help you to personally understand 'What is Beading' to you?

 What is Beading?

If you find yourself intrigued by any of the other methods discussed here on this page we encourage you to do your own research to discover more in the direction you have decided.

For now...'What is beading?' is wishing you beaded blessings in your adventures in discovering much more of 'what is beading?' for you.

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