Should You Buy a Beading Kit?

Beading kits are very alluring to me.

All kinds of beading kits.

Just today I was standing in a Michaels store looking at a bead weaving kit that included 6 or 8 colors of Chinese seed beads, a bit of thread (about a half-filled bobbin), a needle, a bead scoop, and (this is the part I had a hard time resisting) 2 plastic comb-like objects that you could use to covert the hard plastic compartmented box into a bead loom.

Now, I have a couple of bead looms already. I have no need for another loom. Actually, I did have a wish for the Chinese seed beads, because I wanted to weave a sample from them for my seed bead Information pages But there is something about all those goodies cleverly packaged that makes me want to reach for my wallet.

Serious Bead Project Kits

But what I really want to talk about is bead kits that contain all the supplies for a particular project. These are designed by beaders and for beaders. The quality of the printed instructions tends to be high because the material was often used to teach classes before it became available to the beading public. If you buy a beading kit like this, you should expect to find a nice color photograph of the finished product and clear color or black-and-white illustrations to help you through the various steps in the process. In addition you will find all the beads and findings you will need for the project and perhaps even needle and thread.

You will still need to provide scissors or another cutting tool (nippers or a thread zapper), a beading surface to work over, and a way to organize the beads while you are working (bead dishes or whatever you like to use). Sometimes the only way you can get these expert instructions is to buy a kit, but more often you will have the choice to just buy the instructions or pattern or to buy the whole shebang. What should you do?

If you are just getting started in seed beads and don't want to buy more stuff than you are going to use right away, it is often cheaper to buy the kit than to buy standard retail-size packages for each item that is in the kit. Years ago, I bought just the pattern and instructions for a brick stitch amulet bag, because the kit looked too expensive. Although it was a pretty simple design in terms of the number of colors, I still ended up spending more on supplies than I would have paid for the kit. Live and learn.

If you already have a bunch of the materials needed for the project, and you love any excuse to add to your stash of beads, then stay away from the kit. Just pull stuff from your stash and buy more materials to fill out the project.

Whatever you do, have fun beading!

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