Additional Craft Information:
There are few women who don't own some sort of bead jewelry. As a craft, beads have a rich and diverse history, and have long been known as a community activity. Whether it is a group of women in Africa working together to create the magnificent decorative necklaces they wear for dances and celebrations or Indian women stringing together prayer beads or teen groups meeting at an American bead store, there is something very powerful in stringing beads together with friends.
DIY Craft Essential #1: Washi tape
DIY Craft Essential #2: Needle nose pliers
100,000 Years of Tradition
We have no way of knowing exactly when in human history someone decided to string something on a piece of sinew or grass and create the first necklace. We do know that the oldest known beads to date were made of small shells in the Middle East approximately 100,000 years ago. There aren't many crafts you can enjoy while saying you are following a tradition that long; beading is the only one we know of so far.
Bringing the Community Together
DIY Craft Essential #3: X-acto knife
DIY Craft Essential #4: Spray paint
Because beading requires the crafter to sit for a period of time, it is natural to work together. While it is possible today to get predrilled, formed beads of every size and color, it wasn't always the case. Learning how to drill a bead properly, how to make or paint one, and how to create a pattern that has a specific meaning to your people involved passing traditions from one generation to another. Sharing such knowledge builds community whether it is by intent or by chance.
Today, beading communities have formed all over the world, including many online. This allows for the exchange of ideas and beads in ways that have never happened before. There is a great deal of history to be learned from each beading community, and there is also much to be said for the global connection being built.
Bringing the World Home
One of the most intriguing aspects of beading is the fact that you can easily find beads from all over the planet online. Jewelry supply websites carry materials from literally every place around the globe. You can just as easily pick up Balinese silver beads as Afghani lapis or Cinnabar beads from China. Beading is a truly international experience if you desire it to be.
Perhaps the best thing about beading is that you can take it with you anywhere and find others doing it too. When it comes to a popular hand craft, beads are at the top of the heap.
Jewelry making kits won't solve all of your jewelry making dilemmas, but they are a practical way to get a specific result. The more advanced the artisan is, the less likely they are to use kits. But for the beginner, they are a perfect introduction into the fun world of jewelry design an materials.