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Important Beading Terms

Beading is a creative endeavor that uses small, decorative objects on a thread or string to create jewelry, art and designs. Many people choose to pursue this activity as a hobby, though many people have made it a career. Creating necklaces, bracelets and art this way is a fun and useful enterprise. Here are some important terms in beading.

  • Clasp – This is a metal fastener that links the two end pieces together. It usually has two pieces, one female and one male. The male part will be inserted into the female part and lock into place.
  • Cloisonné – This is technique that is used in metalworking that uses compartments within the metal by soldering thin silver or gold wires on their edges. This separates out the patterns which are then filled with enamel or gemstones.
  • Millefiori – This is a special technique that produces beautiful, interesting patterns on glass. They come in a variety of colors and shapes. It is an ancient technique that is still used to create beautiful necklaces and bracelets.
  • Seed – These are spherical, uniform in shape and come in a variety of sizes and materials, like gems or pearls. Seed is also a colloquial term for those that are smaller in size. They have very small centers and require the use of a specialized long, narrow needle. They are considered the smallest in their class. Starting at size five or six they are classified as pony, and increasing in size as trade or crow.
  • Spacer – The purpose of these items are to separate the beads from each other. They are usually metal, glass or plastic and come in a variety of colors, lengths and widths. They are created to be less noticed than their neighbors and are incorporated into many jewelry patterns.
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    Bead Bazaar
    1001 Harris Ave, Bellingham, WA 98225
    Providing creative beads, charms and jewelry making supplies to beaders from the Lower Mainland to the greater Seattle area for 25 years. Look for our jewelry classes and bead trunk shows.
    (360) 671-5655
    Bead It Etc
    713 Bay Street, Port Orchard, WA 98366
    We have a variety of Toho seed beads, delicas, fire polish, and press glass. Swarovski Crystals, sterling silver and gold filled findings, stringing supplies, tools, wire, thread etc.
    (360) 876-4427
    Spark Beads
    201 Cascade Mall Dr, Burlington, WA 98233
    (360) 757-4201
    Anacortes Beads
    1717 Commercial Ave, Anacortes, WA 98221
    (360) 588-6994
    Olive Glass
    190 Baroque N Glass Ln, Lopez Island, WA 98261
    (360) 468-2821
    Beauty In The Bead Shop
    436 W Bakerview Rd Ste 111, Bellingham, WA 98226
    (360) 393-4605
    4383 Meridian St, Bellingham, WA 98226
    (360) 738-7932
    Wynwoods Gallery & Bead Studio
    940 Water St, Port Townsend, WA 98368
    (360) 385-6131
    Starman Inc
    250 Center Park Way, Sequim, WA 98382
    (360) 683-3399
    Fusion Beads
    13024 Stone Ave N, Seattle, WA 98133
    (206) 781-9500
    9755 Ne Juanita Dr, Kirkland, WA 98034
    (425) 821-4444
    13419 Ne 129th St, Kirkland, WA 98034
    (425) 260-4499
    Alexander's Bead Bazaar
    6307 Roosevelt Way Ne, Seattle, WA 98115
    (206) 526-8909
    110 Central Way, Kirkland, WA 98033
    (425) 827-4808
    Fusion Beads
    3830 Stone Way N, Seattle, WA 98103
    (206) 782-4595

    Making your own beaded jewelry is a great way to save money on items like necklaces and bracelets. From seed to glass to plastic beads, there are plenty of options for expressing your personal style. When you are thinking of making a necklace or bracelet, you should first decide on a design so you know what supplies to get. You will probably need to buy wire and clasps, as well as the beads and charms. Or, you could get gold or silver chains to use. You might also want to get spacers if you plan on following a pattern. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to make gorgeous jewelry. This craft is easily pursued using cheap materials made out of plastic or glass. If you want to make gem stone jewelry, consider going to a wholesaler. Many will sell loose gem stones such as crystals, diamonds and pearls for less than a regular shop. If you can’t afford gems, consider faceted rhinestones or sequins to add some sparkle to your items. Working with beads takes patience as the little pieces can be challenging to place properly, but stick with it. The proper tools can be really helpful, such as good pliers and a magnifying glass. If this is your first time making jewelry, consider following a pattern to help you get going. Whether you want to make seed jewelry or want to work with diamonds, there is a project for you. Working with beads is a great way to pass the time and make something you can cherish forever.
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