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What supplies do you need to start beading

By Catalogs Editorial Staff

Find out what supplies you need to start beading as a creative hobby

Find out what supplies you need to start beading as a creative hobby

Many creative people gravitate to making jewelry and beading either for a fun hobby or to start a small business. Perhaps you dream of having a signature line or Meryl Streep wearing your handmade art on the red carpet?

Maybe we should back up a little. Before starting on this fantastic journey, you need some materials. If you?re wondering what supplies you need to start beading, read on!

Familiarizing yourself with both the tools, materials and various lengths of chains needed for beading and jewelry making will help you avoid a few common pitfalls in your first projects. As your mechanical skills improve, the fun will begin. You?ll soon find ways to personalize every piece through your choice in materials and how you put them together.

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The basics

One reason this type of jewelry making is so popular is that it?s relatively easy and affordable to get started. The tools are low-tech and once your imagination gets rolling you can do a lot with simple items.

Gather the following tools: wire cutters, crimp pliers, as well as round- and flat-nose pliers. In the beginning, you can get by with just wire cutters and one kind of pliers.

Essentials will allow you to complete those first few projects. These include memory wire, a beading needle with a large eye, clasps, strong adhesive and a nice mix of beads with an organizer to store them in.


In figuring out what supplies do you need to start beading, it can?t go without mentioning that the beads are the most important materials for any bead craft ideas. They give your piece its style. It?s also much more enjoyable to create pieces from materials and colors you?re excited to work with.

If you?re following a tutorial or packaged project, the provided instructions should tell you what if any additional supplies are needed. You?ll probably at least need to get a needle and pliers.


Needles – Beading needles differ from embroidery and sewing ones. Their eyes are much narrower in order to move through the minute holes in smaller beads. If possible, get a variety of sizes and styles so you can explore the many options.

If you?ve never bought needles before, note the size is given as a number, as the number goes up, the needle eye narrows. For example, a size 12 needle has a smaller hole than a 10. Size 10-12 are most common, while 13-15 are used for the smallest beads.

English is a popular style of needle. They?re made from strong steel and bend slightly over time, making many projects a little easier. Japanese ones are not as sharp, but they?re stiffer and won?t bend. Both can last, but they all break eventually and require replacing in time.

Thread ? Thread for beadweaving is different than sewing thread in that it?s much stronger and slick in order to move through the holes with ease. Nylon and polyethylene are good styles to start with. Try a modest spool in the size advised for your project.

Scissors ? If you?re using thread instead of wire, beading scissors are needed. These are extremely sharp, tiny scissors designed to snip nylon threat with a straight cut.

To personalize

Part of the fun of bead work is adding your own touch so the projects in some way reflect your style or the style of the person you made it for. To do this, keep an eye out for special materials to work with, like birthstone colors and crystals.

Pay special attention to the length of your project. Refer to standard lengths for bracelets, necklaces, anklets and other styles before starting the work. If possible, measure the person the project is for and fit it to them.

You know what supplies do you need to start beading. Now it?s time to roll up the sleeves and get to work.


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