Bead making can range from extremely simple to extremely complicated, but at least it has one added advantage:
You can make your own beads at a great discount – 50%, 75%, even 90%. These savings add up, as I'm sure you can guess.
Keep in mind that some beads require extra equipment that you may not have, and that is expensive.
However, once you have the basic materials, you'll find that you're saving a hefty amount – definitely enough to make up for the cost of that kiln, torch or set of carving tools.
On the other hand, some of our suggestions are much cheaper.
For example, macaroni beads, which are great for small children. All you need is macaroni and some sort of wire or string.
Paper beads are also inexpensive.
You just need paper and glue to get started in this bead making process.
Wire beads are also an option, and not too bad on your wallet.
Be careful with the ends – I can't tell you how many times I've nicked myself with the end of a piece of wire, ugh!
Still, this is probably my second favorite thing to work with in jewelry... Maybe I'm a masochist?
My personal favorite is metal clay, which unfortunately costs a lot up front.
You need a kiln or torch, and clay sculpting supplies for more intricate work. However, the clay itself isn't extremely expensive, at least not in relation to how many beads you can make.
There's also polymer clay, which is much cheaper than metal clay. You can just use a toaster oven, and the results are still just as gorgeous – and just as relative to the size of your imagination.
Maybe I'm biased, but I think of clay beads as the pendants and centerpieces of my jewelry, with other beads as accents.
Glass beads are also great for centerpieces, but they're extremely expensive to make.
Fused glass is about the same price as metal clay, but you need a kiln for sure, not just a torch.
The most costly bead making venture you could undertake, however, is lampwork glass.
Outside of the oxyacetylene torch, you need ventilation, safety equipment and mandrels, and that's not even including the cost of the actual glass.
I've heard the process is really rewarding, though. I remember going to a glass museum in high school and watching them form those huge vases and just thinking that it was absolutely beautiful...
Maybe all the memories and the knowledge that you amazingly mastered the art of bead making are worth all of the trouble?
Handmade Beads - Learn how to make your best handmade beads.
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