Keeping a Sketchbook for Your Beaded Jewelry Designs

I use many different types of journals as sketchbooks to keep track of my jewelry designs.

Probably one of the most important supplies I keep around for my beaded jewelry-making projects is my sketchbook. Through the years, I've had several different types of sketchbook, all of which I quickly fill with my ideas and notes for beaded jewelry-making projects and designs.

For a while, I was really into making my own handmade papers and journals. I had stacks of my handmade books sitting around, just waiting for me to fill them up. So when I started designing my own beaded jewelry-making projects, it was only natural that I start using them to keep track of my ideas and notes for each new project.

Keep as much detailed information about your jewelry designs as you can in your sketchbook for future reference.

What kind of information should you write down in your sketchbook for your beaded jewelry-making projects? Here are just a few suggestions:

  • A basic sketch of the design. This should include the basic shape of the finished piece and include any patterns or motifs that you want to include in the design.
  • A color palette. Use your favorite colored pencils or markers to add a splash of color to your design. You can buy tiny portable colored pencil sets, or at the very least, make a list of colors next to your design and you can fill in the colors on the sketch itself later.
  • A list of beads. What kinds of beads did you have in mind for this project? A particular gemstone? Maybe the design will incorporate Tila beads or Twin seed beads? Write down any ideas for which specific beads you will use for the design so that when the time comes to start beading your project, you'll know what supplies to pull.

Other things that I keep in my sketchbook are:

  • Swatches of fabrics and scrapbooking papers that inspire me with their colors, patterns and textures
  • Scraps of yarn, fibers and ribbon that I use for ideas for beaded chains and straps
  • Pictures of places and people that inspire me
  • Snippets of poems, stories or song lyrics that give me ideas for beaded jewelry
  • Little sketches and vignettes that I create with my pastels when I'm feeling inspired to make art, but not jewelry

Want to see what other top jewelry designers are doing these days? Subscribe to Stringing magazine and stay on top of the latest trends and styles in jewelry design! Four times a year, you'll see the hottest new beads, findings and jewelry designs from some of the best and most creative designers around. Each issue also includes great resource lists for the findings, beads and other materials that are used in each jewelry design, so you can find just the right supplies for your beaded jewelry designs!

Do you keep a sketchbook for your beaded jewelry-making designs? What kind of information to you put into it?

Bead Happy,



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