10 common beading problems

Stepping Stones Beaded BraceletLet’s start the week off right- with a new blog post!  This is a collection of some of the most common questions our designers get.  Maybe we can help you avoid trouble before you run into it.

10 Common Beading Problems

Problem: I want to start beading, but I don’t know where to begin.
Solution:  First, I’d recommend watching this Basic Beading Video.  It shows crimping techiques and lists the tools you’ll need to get started.  As far as what beads to buy, a grab bag is a good way to start because they are put together by our designers and they are a great value.  You get $20+ worth of beads for just $11.99 and everything is in the same color palette.  Plus, you can request a color in the comments section of your order to make sure it’s something you’ll like.


Problem:  My jump rings keep coming open and I lose charmspendants, etc.

Solution:  Use a split ring instead.  Similar to a tiny keyring, split rings are much more secure than an open jump ring.  They are a little more time consuming to work with, but once you get used to them, it’s not hard at all.  Plus, you can use tweezers or split ring pliers to speed up the process.


Problem:  I keep getting bubbles in my 3D lacquer or other glaze.

Solution:  After you pour on your gel/glaze, use a toothpick to pop any bubbles you see forming.  Spending a few minutes doing this before leaving your product to dry will be well worth it when you see that your finished product is just how you imagined it.


Problem:  I don’t know what beading wire to purchase.

Solution:  This depends on your project as well as what you’re willing to invest in the piece.  The Beadalon wire we carry is separated by how many strands it is made up of; 49-strand19-strand and 7 strand.  The more strands, the stronger the wire and the longer the piece will last.  However, wire with more strands is also more expensive.  So first you must decide how much you want to invest monetarily in your piece.  Next, you need to choose a diameter.  .015 and .018 inch diameter wires work well for most common products using beads of average weight and size.   If you’re using large, heavy beads you might consider a wire with a larger diameter, like .030 inch.  Finally, if you are making a stitched piece, you can use a lesser strand wire because the woven structure of the piece will give it strength, making stronger wire less necessary.


Problem:  I don’t know what crimp beads to buy.

Solution:  2 x 2mm crimp beads work well with .015 and .018 wire, while 3 x 3mm crimp beads work great with with .030 wire.  Mostly you’ll use 1 x 1mm crimp beads for illusion necklaces.


Problem:  Is there a way I can hang my pendants without using a bail?

Solution:  Yes.  One of the most common and fun ways to do it is through wire wrapping.  Here is a video that shows how this is done.


Problem:  I want to start doing glue-in and glaze projects.  Can I use anything?  Or does it have to be scrapbook paper or cut-outs from the collage sheets Auntie’s Beads sells? I’m worried the ink will bleed when I pour on the glaze.

Solution:  The sky is the limit with the glue-in and glaze.  I recommend laminating with tape anything you worry might bleed.  Collage sheets will not bleed and do not need to be laminated.


Problem:  I’m thinking about buying some silver plate pieces, but I don’t know what it is and I don’t want people to think my pieces are cheap.

Solution:  Silver plate is a base metal covered with a shiney silver coating.  Silver plate pieces are more economical than sterling silver and are less susceptible to tarnish.  While pieces made with silver plate materials are not as high quality as pieces made with sterling silver, they certainly are not “low quality,” and they offer your customers a great value.


Problem:  I hate it when I’m stringing beads and I accidentally let go of one end, letting all my beads fall off!  Do you have a trick to keep them on the wire while I’m designing and stringing?

Solution:  Yep- in my opinion these are a must have for all beaders.  They’re called Bead Stoppers, and they clamp on to the end of your wire.  This way, you can string away without a worry.  When you’re done, simply unclamp your stopper and crimp to your clasp.  Easy as pie.


Problem: I don’t understand the different gauges of wire and headpins.  Super confusing.

Solution:  Just remember that it’s opposite what you’d think.  As the number of the gauge goes up, the width of the wire goes down.  So, 18 gauge wire is thicker than a 20 gauge wire, which is thicker than a 22 gauge wire, which is thicker than a 24 gauge wire, etc.  The same thing goes for headpins and eyepins.

Kelly Henderson

Kelly Henderson is a jewelry designer and editor of the Auntie's Beads blog. When she's not beading, you might find her chasing her one-year-old son, Sawyer, watching bad reality TV or reading a good book.

Be first to comment