Would you like to learn something new?
This page is packed with free downloads to help you choose the right materials and learn how to use them properly - work through them all to build up a formidable repertoire ... or just dip into the one that you need today for a project you already have in mind.
Each download tackles a particular area of bead work - from familiarising yourself with basic tools to using different materials for threading necklaces and bracelets to turning loops to make perfect earrings.
We will continue to add more techniques and basic information sheets here to build up a comprehensive tips and techniques guide to all things beading.
To download any of the techniques pages, just click on the underlined title to view and print the instructions.
You will need Adobe Reader installed on your computer. It is probably already installed but, if not, click here and follow the on-screen instructions.
We have included sample images of a couple of the technique sheets on this page so that you can see the type of thing that is included in the download - as they are images of the pdfs and have been shrunk from the A4 size of the originals the words may look a little blurred on screen, this does not affect the clarity of the pdfs when they are printed.
There are lots and lots of patterns that you can download free on the Projects page - from earrings and bracelets to necklaces and napkin rings! There are lots of different techniques used in the projects so whether you want to have a go at linking or knitting, bead weaving or using Twin beads, there is a lot of inspiration there.
If you prefer to start with a design and bead pack complete we produce a range of over 300 Beading Kits for specific designs, which come complete with full instructions and all the beads and thread you need, and Starter Packs which contain techniques, guidelines and all the beads, threads etc you need to make a number of items to your own designs.
This first download is useful whatever medium you are working in - whether wire or seed beads, crystal or threads - it is the basic colourwheel, a simple guide to using colour to create beautiful effects.
Pliers and Other Tools – A quick guide to different types of tools and how to use them
Working with Wire
There are a whole host of applications for working with wire, from earrings to linked necklaces, charm bracelets to tiaras and this section of downloads looks at choosing the correct wire for the purpose, turning and perfecting loops and working with filigree and chandelier fittings.
Choosing your Wire - This guide takes you through the different wire descriptions - SWG, gauge, diameter - how they relate to each other, why US and UK descriptions differ and how to interpret them when trying to buy the ingredients for a project you have seen in a book. It also recommends which wires are best to use for which purposes and covers the basics that really make a difference when choosing materials for your project.
Loops and Linking – Once you can turn a professional loop in wire, and create well formed links a whole new world of possibilities opens up to you, this guide takes you step-by-step through this valuable technique.
Loops - a Professional Touch - Taking your loops and linking techniques further, this download looks at different types of loop, where they work and how to use them - essential information if you wish to move onto more complex designs such as filigrees and chandeliers
Filigrees and Chandeliers - Once you have mastered your loops you will find you want to explore more and more aspects of wirework. In Filigrees and Chandeliers we take a loop at using pre-made components and also forming your own to give an extra dimension to pendants and earrings
Wirework - Coils and Curls - simple ideas in wire to add a little variation to your jewellery
Wirework - Torques - How to make different styles of torques from simple single wires to articulated designs
Wirework - Wrapped Loops and Bails - How to convert beads, drops, crystals and donuts into into pendants and charms with simple wireworking techniques
Wirework - Flowers and Leaves - The simple art of taking various different shapes of beads and, with some clever wirework, turning them into leaf and flower shapes. The techniques shown on this download are incredibly versatile and the results can be used singly, or in combination, to create a whole array of decorations for all sorts of jewellery
Wirework - Using a Spiral Wire Winder - A brilliant piece of kit that will have you hooked, this download introduces you to a couple of simple bead styles to get you started
Different Threads and How to Use Them
There are so many types of threads available now that it can be difficult to work out which to use. The following downloads take some of the mystery out and show you how to use several types of thread.
Choosing Your Beading Thread - There are lots of different threads out there ... this is a short guide to help you choose which one is best for your project.
Working with Beading Threads – Fine Beading Threads and Calotte Crimps . Fine beading threads come in a whole host of gorgeous colours and can be used for lots of projects - from a simply strung necklace to a finely woven or netted piece. This download will help you to choose the correct needle, the right amount of thread for your project and how to start and finish a simple string of beads neatly with calotte crimps.
Threading with Beading Wires – Tigertail, Softflex, Soft Touch – strong threading materials with a stranded metal core – which to use and how to use them.
Threading with Thong – Using Thicker Threads. From Rattail to C-Lon Tex, Cotton thong to Microfibre suede lace, there is a whole host of thicker threading materials out there. This guide takes you through choosing the right thread for your project, using the thread correctly and finishing your project off with a clasp or sliding knot.
Knotting Techniques - A guide to the different threads that can be used in knotting techniques, how to use them, and how to finish using either calotte crimps or gimp.
Macrame Bracelets - Shambala Style. Using a simple square knot make quick, easy and individual bracelets.
Macrame Friendship Bracelets - This download shows you how, with a few simple macrame techniques under your belt, you can make a whole host of different bracelet designs - all the designs shown below in fact!!
Increasing in popularity, chain is used for many things including charm bracelets, delicately linked necklaces and bracelets and simple extension chains. This next download looks at different types of chain and how to use them in your designs.
Working with Chain and Linking - A guide to the different types of chain, how they work in design, and how best to use them.
Making Rings - This looks at both making your own ring shanks out of wire and also decorating different types of bought ring shanks.
Small beadwork is a huge area of beading. There are so many different types of small beads - from Delica beads (or tube beads) to seed beads(or rocailles) to bugle beads (no other name for these yet but it's probably only a matter of time!). There are also a myriad ways of using them - from simple stringing to all manner of different weaves, from Peyote Stitch and simple ropes to much more elaborate stitches.
Here we cover the basics and look at some of the commonly used stitches, and there are also some free design grids for you to download so you can design your own projects.
Be warned - this type of beadwork is seriously addictive!Seed Beads - A general overview of seed beads, bugles and delicas. Includes information on the differences between the types of beads, the different colour finishes and general information on using these beads. A good overview of these different bead types that gives useful back ground information to help you when choosing beads for a project.
Beadwork Basics - A simple guide to the basic techniques you use when weaving or stringing with small beads and a needle and thread.
Peyote Stitch - In the first of our bead weaving technique sheets we are looking at Peyote Stitch. A popular and versatile stitch that enables the beader to produce a piece with a woven effect without the use of a bead loom.
For ideas on using Peyote Stitch in finished jewellery see the Project page where we have a couple of simple bracelet patterns to get you going. Or follow this link to download a blank design grid for you to design your own projects on. Peyote Stitch Design Grid
Brick Stitch - The second of our bead weaving technique downloads, Brick Stitch is another one of the foundation stones for woven beadwork. There are two pages of Brick Stitch instruction here, plus a blank grid that you can use to create your own designs - just click on the links to download the pdfs.
Herringbone Stitch - A basic guide to Herringbone stitch for beginners - a lovely versatile stitch much used for ropes for necklaces. For a simple pendant project using herringbone stitch take a look at www.beadsandbeyondmagazine.com - in the Top 20 section they have a 'Top 10 seed bead and crystal stitched pendant' from designs featured in the magazine in March 2011 which includes a beautiful pink pendant designed by Vicky which is based on Herringbone.
The pendant Vicky made for the magazine is in really pretty summery pinks (RC312 and RC352 are the size 10 pink beads, teamed with some pale pink crystal bicones for the centre). Vicky adapted the design with a pearl centre for the Lotus Necklace (part of our Pearl Collection) - click here to download the full instructions
Square Stitch - one of the stitches you could use to create the magnificent Dragon Necklace on the Projects page. An easy stitch to learn, and one with great potential.
St Petersburg Chain - a really easy stitch that creates a beautiful flat curve. This is a straightforward technique, especially if you are familiar with Square Stitch.
Right Angle Weave - makes a slightly openwork mesh - ideal for ribbons and straps and adaptable for 3D designwork too.
and a different type of beadwork ... The early 21st century saw the introduction of all sorts of beads with two holes in them. We stock one of them, the beautiful Twin Beads from Preciosa, Czech manufactured pressed glass beads that are super versatile. There is one basic technique download, which covers all you need to know to get you started, and on the Twin Beads Projects page you will find a whole host of projects using them, lots of them straight from the manufacturer.
Twin Beads - a lovely new bead from Preciosa, learn the basics on this download