I think that beading is a great hobby because it is very scalable. What I mean is, that you can start very simple, with no tools at all, except a pair of scissors. Then as you get more involved, you can add more tools and supplies as needed. It is not necessary to go out and buy a whole bunch of tools and things that you don't need or don't know how to use.
I have defined different levels of beading, the tools and supplies that you need, and what you can make with the tools
Simple is a great way to start dabbling with beading. All you need are beads in your favorite colors and stretch cord. A ruler is helpful so that you know how many beads to string on and you will need scissors to trim the stretch cord after you tie a knot. Then you will be able to string a fun bunch of stretch bracelets. It's a great way to spend a few hours with girlfriends, daughters, and sisters.
Beginners - there is no need to be intimidated, beading is fun, so please enjoy it!
There is a lot you can do with beads but take it slow and learn a little bit at a time. To start, I would recommend just a few basic things. It seems like a long list, but most of these items are relatively inexpensive and will make your beading experience easier and more enjoyable.
Bead stoppers - these are are springy clamps that you attach to one end of your string so that beads don't fall off the back end while you are stringing on the beads
Crimp Beads - these are little tubular beads. When compressed with a crimp tool, they will secure the clasp on your bracelet or necklace
Crimp Tool - compresses crimp beads, we have illustrated crimping instructions on our website, but most of the time there are instructions on the packaging.
Bead Mat - this will pad your work space and keep beads from rolling off onto the floor.
Bead Board - this is a board with a U-shaped groove. Lay your beads in the groove to design your piece before stringing. This allows you to arrange and rearrange the beads until you are happy with the design.
Flexible Beading Wire - this is a quality, multi-purpose stringing materials that is great for stringing bracelets, necklaces, anklets and even making earrings. When using flexible beading wire, you will need crimps and a crimp to attach clasps and findings.
Findings (clasps, jump rings, crimps, etc.) - this term refers to clasps jump rings, ear wires and mainly metal components
Flush Cutter - needed for trimming excess stringing material
Chain Nose Pliers - just a handy tool to have to give you an extra pair of hands or help with picking up items.
Last, but not least - you will need BEADS!!! There are so many to choose from, half the fun is hunting for beads in uniques shapes and colors.
Beading blogs, books and magazines are a great way to get ideas and teach you to visualize how beads will look together as you are designing.
In a future blog post, I will talk about more advanced skill levels - Intermediate, Advanced & Obsessed!