You will need to learn how to string beads if you want to make your own beaded jewelry. Hey! Don’t stress! Beading is easier than you think not to mention super fun.
Starting out simple is the best way to get going. In the photo below, I strung oval chalcedony beads and brilliant blue Swavorski crystals onto silver beading wire and completed the 22-inch handmade necklace with a fancy silver toggle clasp. This beauty took me a mere 30 minutes to make!
How To String Beads Tutorial
First, you need to purchase the supplies and materials to create your handmade jewelry. In this project, I will show you how to make a basic beaded bracelet using beading wire.
You can also string beads using silk which is popular with making pearl necklaces and bracelets Elastic stretch cord is also great to use because it easily makes stretch bracelets. Leather is another popular choice since is great for an Earthy and rustic look.
Jewelry Making Tools you will need when learning how to string beads:
There are plenty of other tools for making jewelry, but these are the basics you will need to have for simple bead stringing projects. You can purchase them at Wal-Mart or any other craft supplies store. For measuring your bracelet, use a sewing tape measure or bead palette since they make measuring quick and easy.
- Beading wire
- Crimp tubes or beads
- Crimp bead covers
- Lobster clasp closure
- Beads of your choice
I used .45mm silver beading wire. It is strong, durable and easy to use. Using my wire cutters, I snipped off a piece of wire that was about 10 inches long taking into consideration that I wanted to make a 7 inch bracelet. That is the standard women’s size that you will find in most stores. Some people make precise measurements to avoid wasting wire, but I allowed for a few inches of room to create my design. It is simply preference more than anything.
If you are making a bracelet that is 7 inches in length, you will need to bead the wire up to 6 inches leaving the extra inch for your clasp. Use a sewing tape measure to measure your bracelet or you can use a bead palette (pictured above). I think bead palettes are so handy and are a good tool for beginning beaders. You can purchase these at craft stores.
I decided to use 6mm howlite beads since I love working with semi-precious gemstones. There are numerous types of beads that you can choose to use when learning how to string beads such as glass, wood, bone and clay just to name a few.
Preparing Your Beading Wire When Learning How to String Beads
The first thing I did was prepare one of the ends of my beading wire to add the bracelet clasp by threading my crimp tube onto the beading wire. There are various sizes of crimp tubes and beads that you can use for your designs. It all depends upon the sizes of your beading wire. The reason for this is so that your designs are properly secured. For example, crimps too large or too small for the wire that you are using can cause your design to fail. I used a size 2 crimp tube for my .45mm wire.
Next I looped my beading wire around the silver jump ring and pushed the end of the wire down the crimp tube. I used my fingers to slide the crimping tube up close to the jump ring leaving just a bit of room for the jump ring to move freely. You do not want the crimp to be tight up against the ring, but you do not want it to be too loose either. Usually, I test it by making sure the jump ring can dangle from the wire. If it can freely dangle, it is not too tight.
Crimping Ends When Stringing Beaded Jewelry
Now it is time to crimp the tube onto the wire to secure it in place. The diagram above shows the forms inside the jaws of the crimp pliers. To crimp the tube, place the crimp into the notched form in the pliers. See “E” above. Give it a gentle but firm squeeze and release. It will be pressed in the shape of the form “E” above. Now, turn your crimped tube up on its side and put it in the same form on the pliers and crimp down one more time. This will fold it over and make it extra strong.
How to String Beads and Look Professional With Crimp Covers
You want to cover that ugly crimp with a crimp cover. This is where form “F” of the crimping pliers in the illustration above comes in handy. As you probably guessed, the cover is used to hide the crimped tube (or bead) and make your design look professional. Learning how to string beads is all about ending those strings with fasteners or clasps.
I placed my silver crimp cover inside of the round form of the crimping pliers. Once I was sure my cover was secure inside the pliers, I gently squeezed down applying pressure onto the cover to close it. You may need to practice this a few times because it can be tricky at first. Too much pressure will flatten your cover and make it look awful. Too little pressure will not close it snug and there will be an open gap.
Your crimped cover should look similar to the one I did above. Crimp covers come in all sorts of colors and styles so you have an exciting amount of choices for you to use when you are learning how to string beads and create your handmade jewelry designs.
That excess piece of wire that is left after making your crimp can easily be pushed down into your beads to secure your fasteners even more. You can also use your wire cutters to cut the wire off as close as you can get to the crimp cover. I prefer to leave the excess wire and just cover it with beads. It is entirely up to you.
Time to get started stringing those lovely howlite beads. I simply started adding my beads to the wire which I had already prepared. Notice how they lined up flush against the crimp cover. I used my handy-dandy bead palette to measure as I went along.
Once I had all of my beads strung, I was ready to end my bracelet with a lobster clasp. To complete this step, I made sure the bracelet was the length I needed for my wrist. I added my crimp tube to the end of the wire then strung the wire through the lobster clasp. I then strung the wire back through the crimp tube and gently pulled it until the crimp tube became flush against my beads. Using my fingers, I adjusted the tube as need so that it was not too tight against the beads. This allowed room to crimp the tube down as in the previous steps above. Once I had my tube crimped, I added a silver crimp cover then cut off the excess wire as closely as I could to the cover.
That is all there is to it! I completed my beaded howlite bracelet and it is ready to wear. I hope you have learned the basics of how to string beads with this tutorial and are ready to get started on your first DIY beaded jewelry project.