When I started beading 4 years ago, I was at a loss when it came to knowing which products to use for what project. With all the different threads and bead sizes available it can be overwhelming to choose the right materials for what you want to do.
Save yourself the trouble and stock up on these beading essientials.
Big Eye beading needles
These needles are widely available in craft stores and online. They are made by joining two single needles together to form one needle with a large, open center that makes threading them a breeze. You’ll want to have at least two needles available at all times because they will wear with use.
Nymo and Fireline Beading Thread
There are several types of beading thread available but Fireline is my favorite for bead weaving and stitching projects. I usually use 4 or 6 lb test. It is a little more expensive than other threads but in my opinion it is worth it.
Nymo, size D, is a bit thicker than Fireline for when your project requires a little more fill in the beadwork, like bead embroidery projects. It can be helpful to condition the thread with beeswax before threading it.
Nymo is available in many colors and works well for projects that don’t require a lot of multiple passes through beads.
An Awesome Pair of Sharp Scissors
Invest in a pair of great scissors and you’ll only have to once. The higher the quality the better. Beading threads are braided and can be difficult to cut through with less than razor sharp blades.
Seed beads come in so many shapes and sizes that you can easily go overboard when shopping. I would suggest purchasing a 10 to 20 gram package each of a base color (I prefer gunmetal and black tones) in sizes 15/o, 11/o, and 8/o that you will use in the majority of your projects. The most common seed bead size is 11/o, so grab one or two additional 10-20 gram packages in your favorite colors to incorporate into your projects.
Crystals and Embellishments
These little bits of sparkling wonder are the bread and butter of beadwork. You will use them in every project, and they are available in an endless array of cuts and colors. Invest in 3mm, 4mm and 6mm fire polished rounds and Swarovski bicones. Buy them in coordinating colors in packs of 30-48 each. Start with one pack each and build over time.
Pearls, Big and Small
Swarovski crystal pearls are available in multiple sizes and shapes and I have yet to find another brand that compares to their luster. Buy them in packs of 100 in sizes 3mm, 4mm, and 6mm in a color that complements your seed bead base color. If you have the ability to splurge a little, buy pear cuts as well.
Last but not least, if a particular bead speaks to you, then listen! Add at least two packages of beads just becauase you like them, for whatever reason, to your stash. They will become a source of inspiration for you.
And there you have it, my complete essentials guide.