To Bead or Not to Bead, that is the Question.

12 Jun
In March of 2006 I found myself in one of the most incredible markets you’ve ever seen. Every Tuesday in Koforidua, Ghana, West Africa, the town square is a bustling bead market. And with an exchange rate of 9,500 cedis to the dollar, I was sitting pretty. I passed through Koforidua three times during my six-month stay in Ghana, and loaded up with just about as many beads as I could carry each time. Needless to say, I came home with a lot of beads. And now, five years later, I’m still sitting on hundreds, if not thousands, of sick beads. And for five years I’ve been intending to do something with them.
We also visited one of the bead “factories”, if you can call an open-air community of bead-crafters a factory. Most of the beads are made from recycled glass bottles, which are pulverized, melted, colored, and poured into molds.
Bottles awaiting their transformation
Cleaning the finished beads
Well, I finally did it. I taught myself to bead properly, and I’ve been pumping these babies out like nothing else.
A Lesson in Basic Beading Techniques
What You Need:
Jump ring
Nylon-coated bead stringing wire, available at any bead-crafting shop
Crimp beads
Needle-nose pliers
Wire cutters 

From top left: jump rings, crimp beads, lobster-claw clasps

Cut yourself a length of the nylon-coated bead stringing wire, about the length you want your necklace or bracelet to be, plus about 5 inches. If you can, it’s easiest to start by attaching your clasp to one end of the wire; you’ll be less likely to accidentally lose beads you’ve strung. But for symmetrical necklaces, you may need to start from the center and build outwards. No matter when you attach your clasp, this is how it’s done:
Slide a crimp bead onto the wire, followed by your clasp. String the end of the wire back through the crimp bead and flatten it with your needle nose pliers. Tuck the tail through an inch or so of beads and cut off any excess.
Boom. Necklace. Easy as pie!
Contact me or visit my Etsy shop to purchase my designs, all featuring the fabulous beads I brought back from Ghana!



One Response to “To Bead or Not to Bead, that is the Question.”

  1. Stephanie June 12, 2011 at 3:55 pm #

    Fabulous, beautiful, gorgeous, etc. !

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