Welcome to part one of our beading tutorial! We learn how to make beaded bracelets and necklaces because we love beads and want to beautify designs. Beads come in various materials and are distinguished from other ornamentations by having a hole in the center for stringing.
A bead can be made from almost anything that can have a hole drilled in it. The most striking are metal beads – sterling silver beads, gold-filled beads, copper beads, and rose gold-filled beads. Metal beads (like stylish copper beads for crafting) have always had the added advantage of being more durable. In terms of longevity, you can’t go wrong with beads manufactured from semiprecious metals. Other materials used in creating beaded jewelry include stringing materials, findings, and clasps.
Starting with beads you enjoy is always the best way to go! Beads are available in an almost infinite variety of materials, colors, forms, sizes, and finishes, which can do shopping for beads in a bead shop, at a bead exhibition, or online a little overwhelming.
It is always preferable to shop in person. You can choose beads that are pleasing to the eye, feel well against the skin, and blend nicely in jewelry designs. Unlike big box stores or the Internet, tiny, independently owned bead shops are staffed by knowledgeable jewelry makers who are usually an excellent resource.
Here at Xinar, you get the best of both worlds. We have been selling beads and findings for over twenty years, and should you need any help at all, we are always an email away. In addition, you will have access to the same fantastic resource as browsing in a physical store.
Starting on a new beading project might be confusing if you’re starting (generally speaking) with beading. Not to worry, our beading tutorial will take care of any gray areas you might have.
Start by learning and discovering as much as you can about beads, stringing materials, and jewelry-making components. In addition, it is beneficial to understand jewelry types and how jewelry is created and know about the many different sizes, shapes, and kinds of beads that you can work with.
It is very beneficial to grasp how beads are grouped and classified. They’re usually categorized by shape and size, hole size and drill method, and material and surface treatment, which overlap in most circumstances. Recognizing how beads are produced, manufactured, or cut can also help you assess the cost of beads and determine whether you are paying a reasonable amount.
Beading Tutorial: What About Bead Sizes?
Beads come in many sizes, allowing jewelry designers to create various jewelry designs. A particular production technique or the material being drilled, molded, or extruded may determine bead size, or it may just be the bead maker’s aesthetic. Beads are measured in millimeters, with the tiniest round beads measuring 2 millimeters and the largest at 20 millimeters. Shaped beads are also available in a variety of sizes.
Being able to convert inches to millimeters and millimeters to inches easily because beads are marketed in millimeter dimensions, and jewelry is typically designed in inches.
Shapes of Beads
The number of different bead forms is practically infinite, and new ones are created. The round or spherical bead is by far the most popular. Other shapes are divided into three categories that overlap: drop, dimensional, and geometric.
Other fundamental bead shapes include tubes, saucers, rondelles, dice, cubes, and bicone beads. There are also pebbles, nuggets, and chip beads. These are examples of beads with “organic shapes.”
Squares, rectangles, ovals, octagons, hexagons, and coins are basic geometric beads. You will also find briolettes, teardrops, and daggers as common drop shapes.
Briolettes are conventionally defined as faceted drops with a pear-shaped presentation. Some beaders and dealers refer to gemstone drops with front drilling or tip drilling as briolettes. Heart, onion, and teardrop are some different shapes worth considering for your projects.
Beading Tutorial: Dealing with Bead Holes and Bead Hole Sizes
Next in our beading tutorial is understanding how bead holes work. When hole sizes vary in a single project, it might get confusing. Don’t be. You can match your primary stringing material’s diameter to the bead type with the minor hole diameter.
To get the product to hang appropriately, use an ample diameter stringing material, increase the number of cording, or add some spacer beads with smaller holes.
The diameter of the stringing material is directly proportional to the size of the bead hole. Therefore, smaller beads will have a hole size.05 millimeters, whereas a larger bead will have a hole size exceeding four millimeters. Bead holes of one to two millimeters are the most common in the beading community.
Begin with choosing your beads when you’re planning a project. Choosing ones with similar-sized holes is always a brilliant idea. If there is a considerable discrepancy in bead hole size, you can conceal some differences with bead caps and spacer beads. Still, if the difference between the sizes becomes too great, you won’t be able to lay all the beads smoothly next to each other.
After choosing all of the beads for a project, you can decide on the best stringing material.
If you want to utilize a specific stringing material, make sure the beads fit securely, but not too firmly, on the stringing material. For example, while a large hole bead is strung on a small diameter stringing material, the bead will sag and not hang properly when worn.
Beading Tutorial: Demystifying Bead Drill Styles
Beads (including gold-filled beads) are generally described by the way they were prepared or drilled prior to sale. Part of your beading tutorial is understanding the different types of drilling used for beads.
Drilling in the center is most usual for round beads, although other forms can be drilled in various directions. A flat, rectangular bead, for example, can be center drilled through the length or breadth of the bead.
It can also be drilled from front to rear or diagonally through the width at one end of the bead. These last drill technique variants offer dimension to any jewelry item and allow a bead to be turned into a pendant.
Most pressed or molded beads are machine drilled, resulting in consistent hole diameters. Hand-drilling many natural materials, such as gemstones and pearls, creates more uneven holes.
Hand-drilled beads are often drilled halfway from one side to the center, then halfway from the opposite side to the center. This kind of drilling frequently results in a narrower drill hole on the outside and a narrower one in the middle, which might cause stringing issues.
If the holes are uneven or very small, consider enlarging the troublesome holes with a bead reamer. Choose a bead reamer bit that is the same size as the hole you’re working on. Place the bit on each side of the bead and slowly twist until the hole is large enough to string through.
A bead reamer can smooth out rough or sharp-edged bead holes that could cut stringing material.
Center Drill Beading Tutorial
The most common drill style is the center drill. These beads are often round or dimensional, with a hole drilled through the center of the widest point of the bead.
Side drilling is another popular technique for flat, square, or shaped beads. At its broadest point, the hole runs from side to side.
Beads with a different top and bottom but no definite front or rear are drilled using a tip drill. This bead form is drilled through the top of the bead and can be strung together to hang as a pendant or side by side.
Any square, cube, or rectangular bead drilled from corner to corner is referred to as a diagonal drill. When strung, these beads hang diagonally from the cording material.
Any bead with two parallel holes is referred to as a double drill. This bead can be drilled with either centered, side-by-side holes or holes at the top and bottom. This drill type lets the beads lay flat or act as spacer bars in a multistrand creation.
The top drill is utilized for beads with a different top and bottom. Drilled from top to bottom, these beads are frequently strung on wire or headpins to make dangles.
Another type of top drill is used when directionality is critical: the vertical drill. This type of bead may have a design or phrase that necessitates a perpendicular drill hole.
Beads having a distinct front and back are made with a front drill. This beaded style can be transformed into a charm or pendant by threading a jump or split ring through the drill hole.