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Absolute Beginners

If you are new to beading and would like a little help with where to start and what all those new words mean, we're here to help

Like any hobby beading has its own terminology, gadgets and techniques.  Fortunately the gadgets are few and the techniques are easy to learn, you don't need lots of kit, or lots of money, to have a go at beading.

So, where to start?  On this page we will give you a basic guide to terminology, not exhaustive by a long way, but enough to get you started.  There are also some basic patterns and we will point you at more projects and pages on this website, and kits you can buy that will help you to learn the basics and then to build on them.
Just click on any of the pictures to download the instructions to make the project.

To start with here are a couple of easy needle and thread projects, the first one uses a bead and loop fastener - super simple to make and perfect for anyone with a metal allergy.
The second project is a small step up from the first - a two row necklace and bracelet instead of a one row, and also introduces the calotte crimp, a very useful jewellery finding, and shows you how to use them.  
              A Simple Start        Using a calotte crimp
                     A Simple Start                             Using a Calotte Crimp


As you progress down the page the projects use different techniques, many of them building in variations on the projects above them, or bringing in new techniques so that you can build up your beading knowledge.  Work through them one at a time to learn the different styles and techniques in small steps, or pick any one at randowm to start with.  None of the instructions assume any prior knowledge, it is up to you how quickly, or slowly, you work through the ideas to build up your repertoire.


Seed Beads - so called because they are small, like seeds!  All of the designs on this page use seed beads, they are one of the staples of any bead box and come in several sizes.  For more information on Seed Beads and other commonly used small beads such as Bugles and Delicas click here.  


 Simple Bracelet  
A Simple Bracelet 
using a mix of seed beads and metal tubes this bracelet also uses calotte crimps to finish off the ends.  It is light weight, sits loosely on the wrist, and would work beautifully if you made several and wore them stacked. 
Flower Necklace
Flower Necklace

Moving on from a simple double strand necklace, this design introduces you to creating basic swags on a necklace by using feature beads to bring strands together and increasing the bead count on one of the strands to create swags.  That description is a bit wordy and makes it sound difficult, it really isn't and you can create a beautiful necklace.  It is also a perfect way to show off stunning feature beads.


Nib-Bit Necklace
Nib-Bit Necklace and Bracelet

Our first foray on this page into beads with more than one hole.  There are many of them on the market today and they add to the possibilities of making beautiful jewellery.  This set is made using Nib-Bit beads, triangular shaped beads that are so called because they resemble nibs of corn.


Swags Necklace
Twin Swags Necklace

This necklace is a more complex version of a necklace with swags, and uses another type of two hole bead called Twin Beads.  Twin Beads are one of the first two hole beads to be widely available so you will see lots of patterns and kit designs that include them.  In this pattern the Twin Beads are used to help create the swags.



Candy Bracelet
Candy Bracelet

This bracelet uses several more types of two hole beads - Tiles, Candy, and Pyramids

Tile Bracelets
Tile Bracelet

These gorgeous bracelets use two types of tile beads - ordinary tiles whose holes run parallel to the edges, and diamond tiles whose holes run across the corners.


Neon Necklace
Neon Necklace

This necklace is the next step up in creating a multi strand necklace.  This design uses several sizes of seed beads and instead of a feature bead to accent the design there is a small cluster of Twin Beads.  Ellen has used Neon Twins in this design to really show up against the black - if you prefer a different palette, why not use seed beads in shades of gold and green with a metallic Twin bead for an autumnal feel; or lilac and yellow seed beads with a pink Twin for a soft, pastel look.  There are many colours of Twin and seed bead available so mix and match your beads to match any outfit. 
Neon Bracelet
Neon Bracelet

To match the necklace make this four strand bracelet.  There is also a matching pair of earrings on the download, and to make these you will need to learn Square Stitch.

 
That is the start of our Beginners page for now, below you will find a glossary of some of the things we use in jewellery making and if you click here you will find our kits graded by difficulty - the lower the number, the easier the kit is.  We hope you enjoy making the projects above and finding out just how easy it is to get into beading.

Findings - What You Need to Know

This bit is all about 'findings', the term that is used for the general bits and bobs we use to finish off designs.  As a general rule they tend to be made of metal and they are the indispensable bits and pieces that we all use.  The term covers ear fittings, fasteners, brooch backs and a whole host of other items.  Here we look at some of the most common findings, the names they are given and what they are used for to demystify a little of the jargon we use.  

Don't worry, there is not a lot of jargon, you'll pick it up as you go along, and you'll find that the beady lot are a friendly bunch and happy to help.


French Crimps Crimp CoversCalotte Crimpsgimp or French bullion
French Crimps          Crimp Covers    Calotte Crimps    Gimp or French Bullion

French Crimps are used on stranded beading wire.  Stranded beading wire is more often known by names such as tigertail, Beadalon or Soft Flex.  The crimps are made of a soft metal and are squashed flat with wires to secure the thread.  Once squashed the crimps become flat and square.  Some people do not like the appearance this creates and so they put Crimp Covers over the top to create the look of a round bead.

Calotte Crimps and Gimp (also known as French Bullion) are both used to finish off fine beading threads such as Nymo, Superlon and Miyuki Thread.  Calotte Crimps are by far the most popular of the two types of finish.  Gimp, which in appearance looks like a very fine spring, tends to be used for fine work incorporating more expensive beads such as pearls or semi precious stones, particularly where the thread is knotted along the length.

Small box lace ends               Large Box Lace Ends        Spiral Lace Ends
Small Box Lace Ends          Large Box Lace Ends           Spiral Lace Ends
Lace ends are used to finish the ends of thicker threads such as C-Lon, cotton or leather thong and suede lace.


Bolt ring and tag          Torpedo Fastener         Lobster fastener
Bolt Ring and Tag    Screw or Torpedo Fastener      Lobster fastener

Fasteners come in many shapes and sizes, three of the most popular styles are pictured above.

fish hook ear wire   post and ball ear fitting      French ear wires                     screw ear fitting 
Fish Hooks                Post and Ball         French or Lever Back Ear Wires         Screw Fittings

Ear Fittings also come in many shapes and forms.  Fish Hooks are by far the most popular style of pierced ear fittings and help give a nice movement to a decorated earring drop.  Post and Ball fittings hold the decoration closer to the ear, hung from the small loop under the ball, these fittings are kept in place with Butterfly Backs French Ear Wires, also called Lever Back Ear Wires, are more secure than a Fish Hook (although you can now get small rubber stoppers for the backs of Fish Hooks to make them more secure), and are increasing in popularity.  Non-Pierced fittings are also available.  You can choose from a clip fitting, a screw fitting or a clip/screw hybrid that brings together the best of both.
Butterfly backs   Rubber backs for fishhooks      eye pins headpins
Butterfly Backs  Rubber Backs for Fish Hooks        Eyepins                    Headpins

Headpins and Eyepins are the basic components of earrings and are also use for dangles and linking in necklaces and to help create charms on a bracelet.
   round jump rings         oval jump rings
  Round Jump Ring  Oval Jump Ring
Jump Rings are an absolute essential of any beaders kit.  Depending on where and how you wish to use them depends on whether a round or an oval jump ring would be most appropriate, although round jump rings are the most used of the two shapes.  Jump rings come in many sizes - we sell round jump rings in 4mm, 5mm, 6mm, 7mm and 10mm diameters and oval jump rings in two sizes so there is plenty of choice to fit your purpose.
Jump Rings are used to link components together, to attach fasteners to necklaces and bracelets for extra flexibility, and to attach dangles or pendants to necklaces.  Soldered Jump Rings (completely solid rings), are also available and can come in handy for certain beading tasks.