Beading on a Budget

Beading as a hobby can quickly add up. Here are some strategies to save money without sacrificing quality.


Prepare Before Shopping

When you go to your local bead shop, go with an end in mind, and a budget for what you’re looking for. Give yourself another budget to just buy fun beads with. That way you can let yourself be “tempted”…but within limits. And just like you shouldn’t shop for food when you’re hungry, don’t shop for beads when you’re emotional, stressed, or distracted–it’s too easy to buy for the rush of excitement, rather than the cool-headed knowledge of what you’ll really use.


Beware Quality at Craft Stores

You can get good coupons and deals at big craft chains like Michael’s–but you may be sacrificing quality. Pay special attention to the description on the item you are buying. For example, glass beads sold at craft stores are usually not kiln-annealed, a process which prevents cracking and breaking. Metal is usually plated, and can tarnish easily. Check the package for broken or bent pieces. You can find some good stuff–just be extra careful to know what you’re buying.


Subscribe to Online Stores for Deals

Big online retailers like Fire Mountain Gems regularly have sales. Subscribe to their newsletter so you can catch them when they happen.


Design Mockups Using Cheaper Materials

When you’re working out a jewelry design, you might end up taking apart your work and starting over several times. Don’t bust out your sterling-silver wire until you are sure what you will make with it.


Recycle & Upcycle

Go through your jewelry collection to find pieces you no longer wear, or peruse second-hand stores to find pieces with unique beads and findings and recycle old jewelry into new pieces.

One Comment

  1. Avatar David Kresge

    I get lots of goodies from thrift stores that I reuse for other projects. We also have a Scrap Exchange with bins full of broken or misc. pieces of jewelry at a dollar an ounce.

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