My Top Picks for Beaded Jewelry Design Resources

If I had to choose one thing that I love about creating my own beaded jewelry designs, it would be the unlimited possibilities that are presented to me every time I sit down with my sketchbook and my beads. Really, I can't think of another jewelry-making medium that allows for such expression of your personal artistic taste in such a beautiful way!

It's been a long beaded jewelry journey for me, starting all the way back in 1991 when I was in high school and on a whim, I purchased one of those "Indian" seed bead looms. I would use my mother's graph paper and colored pencils to sketch out my own loomed beading patterns, and I took that loom and a cookie tin of seed beads with me through my travels, until I landed in Lake Placid, New York, with my husband and I finally re-discovered how much I loved to work with those tiny seed beads.

Along the way, I've discovered that there are just some great resources for beaded jewelry design that you shouldn't be without. Creating your own beaded jewelry designs is such a multi-faceted process, from learning all about the different bead-weaving stitches, to creating your own custom jewelry findings, to photographing your finished beaded jewelry. If you want to be a well-rounded beader, check out my top five picks for the best beaded jewelry design resources:

#1: Mastering Beadwork by Carol Huber Cypher. I discovered this gem of a beading book back when I was the Guide to Beadwork at As I started reading it, I realized what a valuable beading resource this book was for folks like myself who want to teach themselves how to do bead-weaving, but don't necessarily have access to beading classes nearby.

Carol has taken her years of experience teaching bead-weaving and condensed it in this fabulous beaded jewelry design resource. Not only is it clearly written and beautifully illustrated, but the fact that it's a spiral-bound book and lies open flat on your table without any assistance from rocks or weights means that you can easily follow the directions for the bead-weaving stitches and beading projects.

What else do I love about this book? While it's the perfect textbook for someone just learning how to bead, for experienced beaders like myself, it's the perfect reference book for when we need to look up a stitch variation.

#2: How to Stitch Beaded Bezels DVD with Melinda Barta. One of the first things I wanted to learn how to do when I was just a baby beader was creating beaded bezels so that I could include focal pieces that didn't necessarily have a hole through them. Now, I'm a dedicated do-it-yourselfer, but this is one beading technique that I was happy to be able to learn from a live instructor. And who better to learn from than Beadwork magazine editor Melinda Barta?

Once you know the basics of your favorite bead-weaving stitches like peyote stitch and herringbone stitch, you can create secure, beautiful beaded bezels to include crystals, gemstone cabochons, and special found objects into your beaded jewelry designs.

What I love about this DVD is that you can start and stop it at any point, or replay a section if you want to get a better idea of how a particular beading technique is done. And, of course, there's the convenience factor: you can watch it any time you want, wherever is most comfortable for you. It's the next best thing to taking a class with Melinda!

#3: Bead Stitching Triangles with Jean Power DVD. You'd be amazed at what kind of beadwork you can create with peyote stitch once you get the basics down. That's when you'll want to check out Jean Powers' Bead Stitching Triangles DVD, part of the Beadwork Designer of the Year Series. Using just a couple of easy-to-learn variations, Jean shows you how to take a basic geometric triangle shape all the way to three-dimensional bead stitching!

If you're intimidated by the thought of creating three-dimensional or geometric beadwork, this is the perfect DVD to get you started. You can watch Jean as she explains, step-by-step, how to take your basic peyote stitch and turn it into wild and bold beaded jewelry.

#4: Handcrafted Wire Findings by Denise Peck and Jane Dickerson. This book keeps showing up in my Top 5 lists, and for a reason: once you've spent hours and hours working on a piece of handmade beaded jewelry, adding the perfect jewelry finding can really add a distinctive touch to your piece.

Now, even if you're not an experienced wire jewelry maker, there are plenty of projects in this book to get you started. Most of them are made with just basic wire wrapping techniques, and the instructions are so easy to follow, you'll wonder why you haven't been making your own wire jewelry findings all along! (And really — coming from someone like me who has been wire-jewelry-making-challenged her whole life, that's saying something.)


#5: How to Photograph your Jewelry with Jim Lawson DVD. If there's one thing I am not, it's a photographer. Yet being able to take good, crisp, and well-lit photographs of your finished beaded jewelry designs is so important if you want to sell your finished work, enter juried competitions and shows, or just create a great portfolio of your beaded jewelry.

Of all the resources out there for photographing your jewelry, this DVD is by far my favorite. It's more than just a how-to for taking great photographs of your finished jewelry: it's also how to get the most out of your photo editing software to make your photographs look like they were taken by a pro.

What else do all of these fantastic beaded jewelry design resources have in common? They all make great gifts (for yourself or for someone else) and they're all on sale in the Beading Daily Shop during the big store sale! Until Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at 11:59 p.m. CST, you'll find great deals on these and more of your favorite beaded jewelry design resources. Why not pick up a gift for someone you love and get yourself a little something, too?

Do you have a favorite beaded jewelry design resource? Why is it your favorite? Who would you recommend it for? Tell us all about your favorite beaded jewelry design resources and leave a comment here on the Beading Daily blog.

Bead Happy,


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