Learning How to Bead: The Gift That Keeps on Giving

One of the best gifts I ever gave to myself was when I signed up for my first series of lessons to learn how to bead. It was supposed to be a little reward to myself for finishing up my Bachelor's degree after ten years of working my way through college, but little did I know that it would turn into something much, much more than that. Beading became my therapy, my way to unwind after a hard day at the office or after a big exam. Pretty soon, I was doodling beaded jewelry design ideas in my notebooks during meetings and lectures and at conferences, and I realized that I had been put on Earth to do one thing — bead!

Do you know someone who might enjoy learning how to bead? Whether they live around the corner or across an ocean, here are a few ways to share the beady love and get someone started with learning how to bead.

Teach Someone How to Bead

Teaching my son how to bead when he was 2.

Back when I worked in non-profit management, there were four of us who would get together at lunch and talk about our latest crafty projects. One week, I taught them all how to bead using basic stringing techniques. They made such beautiful beaded necklaces, bracelets, and earrings that we wanted to make it a regular event!

That was probably when I got bit by the teaching bug. I went on to teach dozens of students in my local area how to bead. Most of them were in middle school or high school, and we explored all sorts of beading and jewelry making techniques. These kids learned how to do off-loom bead-weaving, how to make paper beads, how to do basic stringing, how to make polymer clay beads, and even how to make lampwork glass beads on a torch! It was a great experience for all of us.

Take Someone to a Beading Class

Of course, if you're not comfortable teaching someone else how to bead, you can always take them to a local beading class. Find out if your local bead shop offers classes (most of them do), or find a local arts organization that might offer jewelry making and beading classes.

I know of at least one bead shop where you can pick out your beads, then sit down with someone and have them teach you how to make your own beaded creation for a small fee. For one-on-one instruction in learning how to bead, you can't beat a deal like that!

Host a Beading Party or Craft Night

My awesome friend Kate teaching us how to make jewelry out of origami stars.

Living up in the middle of nowhere, I look forward to my craft night get-togethers with friends. More often than not, I end up teaching someone how to bead before the evening is over, which probably explains why I haven't hosted one in quite some time. (I end up spending all my crafting time teaching someone else while my own intended beading project lies neglected on my beading tray! Not necessarily a bad thing.)

Hanging out with a group of crafty friends is a nice, low-pressure way to teach someone how to bead. Another benefit of having a group of people learning how to bead is that we discover more than one way to accomplish the same thing, because really, not everyone learns the same way, especially when it comes to beading.

Send a Gift of a Beading Book or Magazine

Since high school and college, many of my friends have scattered all around the country, and even across the ocean. One of my friends, who now lives and works in England, wanted to learn how to bead, so instead of flying across the Atlantic to teach her, I sent her a bundle of some of my favorite beading books and magazines to get her started. She was so thrilled to receive them, and even happier to discover that she could teach herself how to bead from the diagrams and instructions in them. The following year, after she told me that she was completely hooked on beading and that it was all my fault, I bought her a gift subscription to Jewelry Stringing magazine for the holidays.

Just like learning how to bead, the gift of a great beading magazine like Jewelry Stringing magazine is the gift that keeps on giving. With six beautiful issues every year, packed full of the latest and greatest in beading trends, new beading products, product reviews, and new beading techniques, you couldn't ask for more for your favorite jewelry making friends! Give a gift to a friend, or get a little gift for yourself, when you subscribe to Jewelry Stringing magazine.

Oh, and that friend of mine in England who taught herself to bead from books and magazines? She told me that if her job as a research scientist at Oxford doesn't work out, she's going to become a professional jewelry designer!

Have you ever taught someone how to bead? Share your stories here on the Beading Daily blog!

Bead Happy,

Jennifer

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