With the perfect beading supplies, you can create beautiful earrings, bracelets, and more for your business. Whether you make one-of-a-kind pieces or sell bulk products, there are plenty of places to find high-quality beads, charms, wires, and findings at unbeatable prices. In this article, we’ll reveal 10 great places to get exactly what you need to bring your vision to life. Let’s dive in!
The Beading Market in 2023
The global beading market is booming and is expected to continue until 2028. Despite changing economic conditions, jewelry making remains a popular hobby, and demand for supplies has surged. With new manufacturers offering competitive prices, consumers have more options than ever for creating handmade jewelry.
Top Places to Buy Beading Supplies Online
When you’re shopping for beading supplies online, it’s important to choose a store you can trust. From materials for large projects to simple findings and hardware, here are the top online places to shop for beads and other supplies:
Amazon is a top online destination for buying beading supplies. It offers a wide variety of products, competitive pricing, and fast shipping options.
Etsy is a popular online marketplace for buying beading supplies. It offers unique handmade items, vintage finds, and a vibrant community of sellers.
GoodyBeads offers affordable and high-quality beading supplies for DIY jewelry making, with over 20 years of experience and excellent customer service.
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4. Beads Factory
Family-owned Beads Factory offers a wide range of high-quality beading supplies online and in-store and is a top supplier of Preciosa and Crystals.
Beadaholique is a top source for beads, jewelry supplies, and learning resources with fast worldwide shipping, free tutorials, and quality products.
6. Shipwreck Beads
Shipwreck Beads is family-owned since 1969, the largest US retailer of Czech glass beads with an impressive 80k sq. ft. showroom stocked with billions of beads and more.
7. Fire Mountain Gems and Beads
Fire Mountain Gems and Beads sells beading supplies online since 1973, with a focus on valuing relationships with customers, suppliers, and employees.
Artbeads, a family-run business for 17+ years, offers vast beading supplies and hosts a large community of beaders, making it a top online destination.
eBay is a top source for buying beading supplies online. With a vast selection, competitive pricing, and reliable shipping, it’s a popular choice among beading enthusiasts.
Michaels is a go-to destination for buying beading supplies online. Their diverse inventory, weekly sales, and curbside pickup option make shopping for beads easy and convenient.
You can also find the top deals on beading supplies here.
Essential Beading Supplies
For stunning beaded jewelry, you need the right beading supplies, including tools, findings, and beads, with consideration of bead size. Once you invest in the items below, check out these 16 craft supply storage ideas to keep them organized. Important supplies for a beading business include:
Seed beads are tiny, round beads commonly used in bead weaving, loom work, and embroidery. Originating from Venice in the 15th century, these beads are often used in traditional indigenous beading projects. The sizing can be a bit confusing, as a larger number indicates a smaller bead.
These are long cylindrical beads that come in various lengths and finishes. Bugle beads are a staple in bead embroidery and can create texture and lines in jewelry pieces. However, their sharp ends can fray threading materials if not properly protected.
Made by the Japanese company Miyuki, Delica beads are cylinder beads perfect for detailed bead weaving due to their uniform size and shape. They stack neatly, making them a favorite for patterns that require precision.
Crystal beads, often associated with brands like Swarovski or Preciosa, are made from lead glass that’s been cut to refract light. Their sparkle and brilliance make them sought after for elegant jewelry pieces.
Lampwork beads are handcrafted by melting glass using a torch. The melted glass is wound around a metal rod, creating beads of various shapes and designs. The craftsmanship and uniqueness of each bead make them special.
Made from genuine gemstones, these beads can be faceted or smooth. Their value varies depending on the gem type, and they often carry metaphysical meanings. Popular stones include amethyst, turquoise, and jade.
These are carved from various types of wood. Wooden beads can be painted, stained, or left natural. They offer a bohemian or rustic look to jewelry and crafts.
Bone and Horn Beads
Historically, bone and horn beads were made from actual animal bones or horns. They are often carved with designs and can have a tribal or ancient aesthetic.
Both natural and cultured pearls can be used as beads. Freshwater, Akoya, Tahitian, and South Sea pearls are all varieties. Their lustrous sheen adds elegance to any project.
Made from sea shells, these beads have a natural iridescence. Commonly used shells include mother of pearl, abalone, and cowrie.
Crafted from various metals, these beads can be simple spacers or intricate designs. Popular metals include sterling silver, gold, brass, and pewter.
Ceramic and Porcelain Beads
Made from clay and then fired, ceramic and porcelain beads can be glazed or unglazed. Their handcrafted nature often gives them unique and artsy designs.
These are plastic beads that come in a wide range of shapes, sizes, and colors. They are lightweight, making them suitable for larger statement jewelry pieces.
Czech Glass Beads
Originating from the Czech Republic, these beads are known for their quality and craftsmanship. They come in numerous shapes, sizes, and finishes, from faceted fire-polished beads to unique pressed shapes.
Historically, these beads were used as a form of currency, especially in Africa. Trade beads are often colorful and come in various patterns, making them collectible.
African Waist Beads
Originating from African cultures, waist beads are worn around the waist for various reasons, including adornment, marking milestones, or symbolizing wealth.
Another creation by Miyuki, tila beads are flat, square beads with two holes. They offer unique possibilities in bead weaving.
These are two-hole beads shaped like an hourglass or a figure-eight. SuperDuo beads are popular in bead weaving due to the intricate patterns they can create.
|Bead Type||Shape/Structure||Main Material||Common Uses||Unique Features/Properties|
|Seed Beads||Tiny, round||Glass||Bead weaving, loom work, embroidery||Sizing can be inverse; larger number indicates a smaller bead.|
|Bugle Beads||Long, cylindrical||Glass||Bead embroidery||Sharp ends can fray threading.|
|Delica Beads||Cylinder||Glass||Detailed bead weaving||Uniform size and shape; stacks neatly.|
|Crystal Beads||Various (often faceted)||Lead glass||Jewelry||Brilliant sparkle due to light refraction.|
|Lampwork Beads||Various||Glass||Jewelry, art pieces||Handcrafted; each bead is unique.|
|Gemstone Beads||Various||Gemstones||Jewelry, spiritual practices||Made from genuine gemstones; metaphysical meanings.|
|Wooden Beads||Various||Wood||Jewelry, crafts||Can be painted, stained, or natural; rustic look.|
|Bone and Horn Beads||Various||Bone, Horn||Jewelry, tribal crafts||Often carved with designs; tribal aesthetic.|
|Pearl Beads||Round, oval||Pearl||Jewelry||Lustrous sheen; can be natural or cultured.|
|Shell Beads||Various||Sea Shells||Jewelry||Natural iridescence.|
|Metal Beads||Various||Metal||Jewelry||Can be made from silver, gold, brass, pewter, etc.|
|Ceramic & Porcelain||Various||Clay||Jewelry, crafts||Handcrafted; can be glazed or unglazed.|
|Acrylic Beads||Various||Plastic||Jewelry||Lightweight; wide range of colors.|
|Czech Glass Beads||Various||Glass||Jewelry||Known for quality; many shapes, sizes, finishes.|
|Trade Beads||Various||Glass, ceramic||Jewelry, historical currency||Colorful with various patterns; historically significant.|
|African Waist Beads||Tiny, round||Glass, crystal||Adornment||Worn around the waist; cultural significance.|
|Tila Beads||Flat, square||Glass||Bead weaving||Two holes; uniform size.|
|SuperDuo Beads||Hourglass/figure-eight||Glass||Bead weaving||Two-hole beads; enable intricate patterns.|
Beading needles are thin, elongated needles specifically designed to fit most bead holes. They make stringing beads easier, especially for detailed work like bead weaving or embroidery. Their sizes vary, with smaller numbers indicating thicker needles.
Beading thread is a specially designed thread for beadwork. It’s typically stronger and more resistant to fraying than regular sewing thread. Brands like Nymo, FireLine, and C-Lon are popular choices, each offering different strengths and thicknesses suitable for various projects.
Beading wire, like Tiger Tail or Soft Flex, is made of several strands of stainless steel wires woven together and then coated with nylon. It’s flexible yet strong, making it ideal for stringing heavier beads or creating jewelry pieces like necklaces and bracelets.
These are small beads or tubes made of metal. When flattened with crimping pliers, crimping beads secure beading wire ends, ensuring that beads stay in place and that clasps are securely attached.
Bead caps are decorative elements that fit on the ends of beads, enhancing their appearance. They can add an elegant finish to a bead, especially larger or focal beads.
Bead stoppers are small, spring-like tools that temporarily grip the end of your beading wire or thread, preventing beads from sliding off when you pause or adjust your work.
While not “beads” in the decorative sense, spacer beads are functional components used to separate and frame more prominent beads in jewelry designs. They help in achieving a balanced look.
Clasps and Closures
Clasps and closures are mechanisms used to open and close jewelry pieces like necklaces and bracelets. There are various types, including lobster claw, toggle, magnetic, and hook-eye clasps, each offering different aesthetics and functionalities.
Headpins and Eyepins
Headpins are metal wires with a flat or decorative end, while eyepins have a loop at one end. They’re used for making bead dangles or linking beads together.
Jump Rings and Split Rings
Jump rings are circular metal rings with a split, allowing them to open and close. Split rings resemble tiny key rings. Both are used for attaching components together, such as adding a charm to a bracelet.
|Beading Supply||Description||Primary Material||Main Use||Unique Feature/Property|
|Beading Needles||Thin, elongated needles designed to fit most bead holes.||Metal (often steel)||Stringing, bead weaving, embroidery||Sizes vary; smaller numbers indicate thicker needles.|
|Beading Thread||Strong thread designed for beadwork.||Synthetic fibers||Bead weaving, stringing beads||Resistant to fraying; various strengths and thicknesses available.|
|Beading Wire||Woven stainless steel wires coated with nylon.||Stainless steel, nylon||Stringing beads, especially heavier ones||Flexible yet strong.|
|Crimp Beads||Small beads or tubes made of metal.||Metal||Securing ends of beading wire||Flattened with crimping pliers to secure.|
|Bead Caps||Decorative elements that fit on bead ends.||Metal, plastic||Enhancing bead appearance||Adds an elegant finish, especially to larger/focal beads.|
|Bead Stoppers||Spring-like tools that grip the end of beading wire/thread.||Metal||Pausing work without beads sliding off||Temporarily holds beads in place.|
|Spacer Beads||Functional components used between decorative beads.||Metal, glass, plastic||Achieving a balanced jewelry design||Not decorative but frames more prominent beads.|
|Clasps and Closures||Mechanisms for opening and closing jewelry pieces.||Metal||Fastening jewelry pieces||Various types offer different aesthetics/functionality (e.g., lobster, toggle).|
|Headpins and Eyepins||Metal wires with a flat/decorative end (headpin) or loop (eyepin).||Metal||Making bead dangles, linking beads||Headpins have a flat end; eyepins have a loop.|
|Jump Rings and Split Rings||Circular metal rings. Jump rings have a split, while split rings resemble key rings.||Metal||Attaching components together||Jump rings open/close; split rings spiral multiple times for added security.|
Beading Tools for Business
A successful beading business needs the right tools and equipment to make high-quality necklaces and other jewelry. Beyond the basics, here are some additional tools to consider:
Crimping pliers are specifically designed to work with crimp beads. They have two notches: one to crimp (flatten) the bead and another to shape it, ensuring a neat finish.
Bead mats are soft, usually velvet-like surfaces that prevent beads from rolling around while you work. They offer a safe and organized workspace, ensuring that even the tiniest beads don’t escape.
These are trays with grooves and compartments designed to help you plan out jewelry designs, especially necklaces or bracelets. Bead boards allow you to measure, arrange, and adjust bead placements before stringing.
Wire cutters are essential for cutting beading wire, headpins, and eyepins. They ensure clean cuts, which are crucial for professional-looking jewelry finishes.
These are small, sharp scissors used for cutting beading thread or other fine materials. Precision is crucial in beading, making these an essential tool.
A beading loom is a tool used for bead weaving, allowing artists to create intricate patterns and designs by weaving beads together using thread.
These are tools designed to enlarge, smooth, or otherwise modify the holes in beads. Bead reamers are especially useful when a bead’s hole is too small for a thread or wire.
A thread burner is an alternative to scissors for cutting beading thread. It heats up and melts the thread, preventing frayed ends and making for a cleaner finish.
A knotting tool is used to create knots between beads or pearls, resulting in a finished jewelry piece that drapes nicely and keeps beads from sliding around.
A bead spinner is a device that helps to string beads quickly and easily onto thread or wire, making it a great time-saver for large or complex pieces.
|Beading Tool||Description||Primary Material||Main Use||Unique Feature/Property|
|Crimping Pliers||Specifically designed to work with crimp beads with two notches.||Metal||Crimping and shaping crimp beads||Two notches for both crimping and shaping beads.|
|Bead Mats||Soft, velvet-like surfaces preventing bead roll.||Fabric||Organized workspace for beadwork||Keeps even the tiniest beads from rolling away.|
|Bead Boards||Trays with grooves and compartments for planning jewelry designs.||Plastic, wood||Planning and measuring jewelry designs||Helps pre-arrange bead placements before stringing.|
|Wire Cutters||Essential for cutting beading wire, headpins, and eyepins.||Metal||Cutting wires and metal components||Ensures clean cuts for a polished jewelry finish.|
|Beading Scissors||Small, sharp scissors for cutting beading thread.||Metal||Cutting beading thread and fine materials||Precision tool for fine cuts.|
|Beading Loom||Tool for bead weaving to create intricate patterns.||Wood, metal||Weaving beads together using thread||Allows for detailed bead weaving patterns.|
|Bead Reamers||Designed to enlarge or smooth bead holes.||Metal||Modifying bead holes||Useful for beads with holes too small for certain threads or wires.|
|Thread Burner||Melts beading thread for clean cuts.||Metal, plastic||Cutting beading thread||Prevents frayed ends, ensuring a cleaner finish.|
|Knotting Tool||Used for creating knots between beads or pearls.||Metal, wood, plastic||Knotting between beads and pearls||Results in jewelry that drapes well and keeps beads securely in place.|
|Bead Spinner||Device for quick and easy stringing of beads.||Wood, plastic||Speedy stringing of beads onto thread or wire||Time-saving tool for large or intricate beading projects.|
What Material Is Best for Beading?
The best material for beading depends on the type of project you’re working on and the look you want to achieve. Some popular materials include glass, gemstones, and metal, each offering different textures and finishes to create unique jewelry pieces.
What Is the Most Important Beading Tool?
Pliers are considered the most important beading tool. They are versatile and can be used for a variety of tasks, including bending and shaping wire, opening, and closing jump rings, and attaching findings to finished jewelry.
Are Beading Businesses Profitable?
Beading businesses can be profitable. In fact, it’s among the top 50 handmade business ideas you can start from home. But success depends on factors such as market demand, competition, and pricing strategy.
Launching a successful beading business entails more than just creating beautiful pieces. Strategic planning, marketing acumen, and a deep understanding of your target audience are equally essential. Embracing both the craft and the commerce can lead to a rewarding venture. Here are some tips for creating a profitable beading business:
- Find Your Niche:
- Identify unique beadwork or jewelry styles that cater to a specific audience, setting your brand apart.
- Quality Over Quantity:
- Prioritize the quality of materials and craftsmanship to build trust and loyalty among customers.
- Effective Pricing:
- Calculate material, labor, and overhead costs, then set a profitable price point while considering market trends.
- Online Presence:
- Establish an online store on platforms like Etsy or Shopify and maintain active social media profiles to showcase your work and connect with potential customers.
- Craft Fair Participation:
- Attend craft fairs, pop-up shops, and local markets to gain exposure and directly interact with customers.
- Continuous Learning:
- Stay updated with the latest beading techniques, trends, and business strategies by attending workshops or online classes.
- Build relationships with suppliers for better deals and with other artisans for potential collaborations or referrals.
- Customer Feedback:
- Actively seek feedback and reviews to continually improve your products and services.
- Inventory Management:
- Keep a meticulous record of your bead inventory and sales to forecast demands and avoid overstocking.
- Diversify Product Line:
- Offer a range of products, from affordable pieces for wider audiences to premium items for high-end customers.
Remember, patience and persistence are crucial. As with any business, building a reputable and profitable beading brand will take time, but with dedication and the right strategies, success is attainable.
What Is the Best Website to Buy Wholesale Bead Supplies?
There are many websites that offer wholesale bead supplies, but the best one for your business will depend on factors such as product selection, pricing, and shipping options. Our top list above should help you find the right wholesaler. This list of where to find wholesale craft supplies includes even more options.
Can You Buy Beading Tools Where you Buy Jewelry Supplies?
Yes, many stores that sell jewelry supplies also carry beading tools such as pliers, wire cutters, and beading needles. You can find these tools in-store or online at retailers like Michaels, Hobby Lobby, and Joann.
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