Do you ever wonder how long people have been interested in the art of beading? It goes back many, many years ago according to archaeological records, as many as 5,000 years or more. Beads have been an indulgent luxury for many, many people. Beads made from seashells, stones, nuts, seeds and carved wood were some of the first materials. Almost every culture embraces the art of beading. It requires, patience, steadiness of the hands, good eye sight and good lighting as well as lots and lots of other “things.” A person can start out slow, however, as it is advisable to do so. Beads are beautiful, but resist the temptation to buy a dozen in every shape, size, color and maker.
As a beginning beader I think a bead spinner would be a good device to own. It helps you string numerous beads quickly and is useful to string a series of beads that are all the same color and size, or even a pre-made mix of beads that you want to string at random. Stringing beads in a pattern is not possible while using a bead spinner.
What work does bead spinners do best? They are good for making stretch bracelets, bead crochet, kuminhimo, and French and Victorian wire flower making.
As you would imagine with any device there are several brands, styles and sizes. As a general rule one should start with a bead spinner that has an outside diameter of about 3.5 inches. Wood construction beed spinners also seems to be a better choice over plastic bead spinners. Manual operating bead spinners may also be the better choice over motorized or battery operated.
What kind of stringing material should you use? This will depend upon the project first and the size of your beads. If you use a bead spinner consider fine cords with as woven nylon, silk thread and stretch cord. Beading thread or bead stringing wire is acceptable as well for use with a bead spinner, howeve, might present more problems for you in actual use. Use metal wire to make wire flowers. The only time you would not use a needle with the bead spinner is when you string beads onto metal wire. All other projects requires use of a needle. Use a curve big-eye (J) needle or collapsible-eye needle (twisted wire needle) for stringing with cord.
A Tulip needle is good to use with beading thread or a curved big-eye needle for fine beading string or a collapsible-eye needle if the doubled-over wire fits through the holes in your beads. For bead holes use a needle especially designed for your wire such as a Speeder Beader.
A bead spinner is interested to watch at work. You simply place the bowl onto the spindle of the base, pour in your beads, keeping the bowl half full at all times. Pour in more beads than you think you will end up using if you desire.
If you purchase a wood bead spinner, sand the inside of the spinner bowl smooth before use to avoid needle snagging. You can also use beeswax to lubricate the spindle instead of sanding it smooth. And you might not even need to do either of these things to begin working with a bead spinner.
Written by: Connie Limon for Carmilita’s Handmade Jewelry