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Where Should I Buy Beads and Jewelry Making Supplies

By Edited May 20, 2014 0 1

Once you have decided that you want to make your own jewelry or other beadwork then the next step is to figure out where to buy the different type of things that you will need. Beads are a lot of fun to buy and you can get them at a wide range of prices. You may find that you become addicted to shopping for beads and building your collection, but having a good idea of the various places you can go to buy the various types of beads is always a great help to any beader, especially those that are just starting out!

Defining What You Want/Need.
There are tons of different products for tons of different types of projects. You will need to sit down a few moments and figure out the types of tools you need, the types of stringing material you will need, and have a basic idea of what types of beads you want. You will also need to define your price range and the quality of beads you want to get from that. There are a lot of different options and you can get a wide range of bead qualities. Often the type of projects you will be working with will define how much quality you need from your beads.

Walmart.
Every beginner beader who can hit up a Walmart should. All Walmart's have a craft section. Somewhere in this craft section is usually one whole aisle dedicated to beads and beading supplies. Here you will find a lot of interesting things at inexpensive "Walmart" prices. These beads are often of less quality than some of the other places where you can buy beads, but you will find beautiful beads and few people will know that you spent less doing it. Walmart's offer a wide range of glass, acrylic (a fancy way of saying plastic), wood, shell, and semiprecious gemstones. They will often carry a selection of seed beads, metal beads and spacers, pendants, and charms as well. In addition to these supplies you will find various findings and clasps as well as stringing material. None of these things are high quality and rarely can you find things as "precious" as sterling silver or higher end products, but they make great fashion jewelry and are a really great place to start.

Hobby Lobby.
Another location where you can find a wide variety of beading supplies is Hobby Lobby. Here there will be a few aisle dedicated to supplies and beads. You can find all sorts of beads and many stores even change it up every now and again. Often times you will find yourself buying a better quality bead, but you are going to pay for it here. However, Hobby Lobby runs a lot of their jewelry making supplies at 50% off a lot of times. It is a good idea to keep an eye out for these sales and to stock up on supplies when they happen. Things you will find here that you won't find at Walmart include (but definitely aren't limited to) a larger variety of gemstone beads, Czech glass, crystals, a huge selection of seed beads in good brand names, and a huge variety of findings and clasps. Here you have a lot of choices on beads as well as different findings and jewelry making options.

Michael's Craft Supply Store.
Similar to Hobby Lobby, Michael's offers a wide range of products. They have a lot of kits which can be good for first time bead buyers and those who like to stock up on supplies. They also have a wide variety of crystals and gemstone beads. In addition to these supplies and many others that are found at the other stores there is usually a good supply of sterling silver and gold plated findings, clasps, and beads. This lets you create a higher quality product altogether. Their prices are similar to Hobby Lobby, but they don't run very many great sales.

Local Bead Shops.
Most locations have a local bead shop. These vary in size and quality. Often they are a good place for new ideas, to talk with other beaders, and even to take classes. They are good for shopping when you are looking for something and you really need the hands on experience that they offer. Usually their quality is pretty good, but their prices are often high.

Fire Mountain Gems and Beads.
The Internet has a lot to offer and Fire Mountain Gems and Beads is a great resource for beaders. They have high quality products at great prices. They also offer you a discount the more you spend and you can save a ton of money if you can make large orders. They have a huge selection of items and make shopping easy (and addictive). They also have a catalog and will take orders over the phone and by fax.

eBay.
The great auction site, eBay can offer you a lot of great supplies at great prices. You do have to be careful. Remember that you won't always get what you expect and be careful not to get overwhelmed by bidding and pay way more then you should. It is often good to get a few sellers that you really like and buy supplies from them regularly. This will let you weed out the good ones from the bad ones. While it is taking a risk, you can often get amazing deals.

Amazon.
You can find a wide variety of beads and supplies from a variety of merchants on Amazon. These merchants offer good prices for good products. Shopping there is fun and easy and you can often get free shipping!

Etsy.
Etsy is an online mall that sells mostly handcrafted items. However, they also sell supplies. You can get a wide range of supplies at good deals from other people who make jewelry and beadwork. This means that quality is often a priority!

Online Sources.
While I haven't done a lot of shopping online and those places I have purchased products and liked what I got are listed above, there are tons of other places you can buy supplies at. Don't give up on these just because they aren't on this list. If you have time check them out and see what you can find. This is something you should definitely do if you are looking for something specific and haven't found it elsewhere.

Second Hand.
There are a lot of places you can buy jewelry at inexpensive prices. Many of these pieces are really ugly, but they have great parts and great beads. Some are vintage or antique, while others are just bad modern pieces. Find these items for small prices at garage sales, second hand stores, and flea markets. You can then take them home and take them apart. Use these pieces to create new and beautiful pieces.

Sale Items.
In the same way that ugly jewelry can be found second hand it can also be found on sales racks. Many of these pieces have beautiful elements, you just need to take them apart and rework them! Plus you can get these pieces for small prices.

Beads and Jewelry Shows.
One fantastic place to buy beads and jewelry making supplies are shows. Here you can find a variety of different options, items you wouldn't find elsewhere, and bulk prices. While not everyone can get to these shows, if you can, it is a great place to go (especially if you have a large amount of money you can spend there).

There are a huge variety of options, both in beads and supplies and the locations where you can get them. Many of the different places offer different advantages or disadvantages and some offer different quality in items. It is best to try a wide range of places to get your products and discover your own favorites!

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Comments

Nov 3, 2009 8:10am
wendybeads
thanks for your good advices.
Wendy
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