It can be tempting to think of ‘discount beads’ as being synonymous with ‘low-quality beads’, but if you look in the right places then this really needn’t be the case. Discount beads can be a great way to build up your collection, especially if you’re a beginner and you might be surprised by how much you can do with them! Read on to learn a little more about some of the different types of discount beads, and some of the best ways they can be used no matter what your skill level might be.
ONE: PLASTIC PONY BEADS
These simple, chunky plastic beads are often the preserve of children, and they’re a great way to get kids interested in crafting. Help them with a few simple projects, like making elasticated bracelets or necklaces that they can wear or give to their friends, and let them play around while you work on your own jewelry so that they feel like they’re a part of your hobbies. They’re not just for children, though adults can use them too, with wool roving for hair falls or to make bright playful jewelry that’s excellent for color matching or costume. Try combining them with more expensive elements for a fun contrast.
TWO: SIMPLE WOODEN BEADS
Another bead that is usually saved for the kids, wooden beads can add a gorgeous rustic look to any project. They also react very well to being glued, which means they’re ideal for use in paper crafts or other projects that use beads but are not jewelry. Look out for wooden beads that have been painted, stained or carved to give them an extra touch of interest, and don’t be afraid to experiment with these beads to figure out what gives the best finished look.
THREE: ORNATE PEWTER BEADS
There are few things more versatile than pewter discount beads. They’re suitable for anyone who is sensitive to nickel, for one thing, which means they can often be used in place of other metal beads to make a piece that more people are likely to want. They’re cheap, they’re durable, and they come in any number of patterns, shapes, finishes and enamelled colors. Do bear in mind when working with them that they are very soft and might be easy to squash or bend out of shape, but other than that they’re one of the very best choices for any beader of any level.
FOUR: MIXED ROCAILLE BEADS
Rocailles are a staple not only of all ranges of discount beads, but also of the toolkit of any beader perhaps especially the most serious. They’re the type of bead most synonymous with the craft of ‘beading’, as their diminutive size means that they’re what is used for beadweaving, beadlooming, bead embroidery, beadstitching and a hundred other staple beading crafts. You don’t have to be an expert to use them well, though; they’re also perfect for making simple multi-strand bracelets and necklaces, or for using as spacers between other, larger beads.
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