This was a post from late November that I just thought deserved to get 'bumped up' , for other readers' benefit as well as for the original poster in case more input's needed.
If anyone wants books or other help on woven or loomed type beadwork -- oops sorry, I absolutely *cannot* help. Been there done that (many times). Failed miserably. Apparently my brain just refuses to work that way.
However, if you're interested in making stuff using the STRINGING method, I do have a few words of hard-earned advice : Skip the books, buy a few MAGAZINES instead.
My favorites , from back when I first went duh-what's-a-bead to this very minute : BeadStyle (beadstylemag.com) ... Bead&Button (beadandbutton.com) ... "'Chic&Easy," a periodic issue from B&B ... and "Stringing," a periodic or occasional issue from Beadwork Magazine (which otherwise I don't care for). All are pretty readily available at chain bookstores such as Barnes & Noble, large crafts stores & some bead shops. Occasionally you'll even find one in wallyworld's mag section.
Actually I did start with the books instead of the mags. In fact I had a ton. Just me personally here, now, I couldn't wholeheartedly (or even half-heartedly) recommend a single one.
I'd like to thank (or maybe not, lol) previous posters here for two new places to drool over & spend more money at. Love that Fancifuls raw brass, lots of possibilities there. And those laser-cut WOODEN charms at Rings-Things,, some are absolutely adorable although perhaps rather large? seem to run about 20-39mm, and for us metrically-challenged folks 25mm = 1 inch.
I can offer only one suggestion for inexpensive charms but it isn't the 'traditional' charm : it's merely 'round things.' Just now, circles in all types & price levels of jewelry seem to be extremely popular. Lately I've been fiddling around with making dangles out of various types of rondelles & discs, small open rings, smooth & faceted donut spacers, 'lifesaver' shaped beads, & so on. Heyyy even washers from the hardware store!
The rondelles/discs & other true-beady-thingies are readily available from bigger bead catalogs or websites, & probably also on ebay. They come in materials ranging from pressed glass, horn / bone, or wood [least expensive] to crystal, lampwork, & furnace glass [more expensive] to just about any other material you can think of. Mixing up sizes, shapes, &/or materials can yield anunusual and interesting charms-like effect.
Lo these many many years ago (I never tell my age but I will say I've been retired some years now) we used to hang bracelets & necklaces on those expandable mug-holder or expandable coat-rack thingies. Kinda tough to describe -- like an accordion with pegs?? does that even make sense?? Hopefully someone else here can explain it better? I'm pretty sure they or something similar are still made; try dollar stores, wally-world, etc. "Back in my day" most were made of natural-color, unfinished wood which looked nice left as-is or could be stained / painted / decoupaged / whatever.
As for earrings, never did find any workable way to display them. Clipbacks or pierced french-hook types always slipped off of or out of anything I thought up or purchased. I've always been too fumble-fingered to attach those awful pierced post-&-clutch backs to any kind of display (or even to my ears!).
So all my earrings, even the very expensive ones, have always gotten tossed into boxes. Nowadays it's those very useful & sturdy translucent-plastic compartmented ones made by fishing-tackle-&-gear companies (Shimano, for one -- this was hub's idea of course) & by crafts or beading supply companies. They're fairly cheap, got mine at wallyworld. Never saw one nice enough to leave out on top of the dresser but they do tuck nicely into a drawer.
So far I've resisted the urge to make a ribbon necklace, myself -- not that I don't like the way they look, just that I too was having some serious probs visualizing 'the mechanics.' Unfortunately I wasn't thinking of using multiple ribbons -- hey it's all I can do to think about just one -- but I hope you might be able to adapt the idea below somehow to suit your needs.
Just recently I realized I have quite a few small to medium size vintage buckles laying around. They happened to be mixed in with several lots or boxes of old buttons I'd picked up here & there quite a few years ago. Now this is not a regular belt-type buckle, not the kind with that movable 'tongue' that goes into the belt holes. Mine aren't even metal. They're fairly thin, light, open circles / rectangles / ovals / or squares made of mother-of-pearl, Bakelite, Lucite, or 'unkown plastic', and across the middle of each shape there's a bar of the same material.
Okay. Experimenting with el-cheapo ribbon, I looped one end over the bar, now how to keep it attached? ... First, the lazy way : just knot it to the bar; right, it looked awful & also interfered with 'buckling' the other end of the ribbon. ... Second, sew the loop down; this looked elegantly 'finished' but the stitches do have to be neat and tiny, & I personally wouldn't have the patience to do more than one that way. ... Finally, what maybe shoulda bin the obvious thing, duh? : fabric glue -- yes! But don't overdo it; a little goes a long way & too much is very obvious / cheesy ... and er be careful 'not' to glue the ribbon to the bar of the buckle the way I did.
Probably whether you're using just one ribbon or more than one : It appears that whatever's going through this kind of buckle needs to be "a little" wider than the bar of the buckle. If too narrow, the other end of the ribbon doesn't stay 'buckled' for long (remember there's no tongue, no holes as on a regular type belt-buckle). Too wide & the ribbon wrinkles or pleats -- although maybe someone else could easily make that into an intended, desirable design element? (I couldn't!) ... You could also experiment with using different fabrics instead of pre-made ribbon ... And, if the buckle is pretty enough, of course it could even serve as a 'focal' (meant to be worn in front instead of in back).
As for sources, I think new buckles similar to mine might still be made; try large crafts stores & fabric stores. For older ones try ebay or local flea markets / antique-'junque' shops.
Guess I'd been using ebay for other stuff too doggone long (since the end of the second year it started) & had gotten utterly bored with it, hadn't been there for over a year. Then a couple of weeks ago I stumbled by chance into the handmade beads areas. ... ... ... Working from my crazy-beginner's theory that one super-nice focal bead could 'make' a necklace [[i.e. I'm tired of feeling I neeeeeeeed to acquire & mess with stringing 10,001 beads & I'm lazy, lol]], I was looking for a few unusual handmade ones that didn't cost an arm & a leg from everyone you ever knew. At least that's what they cost at the bead shops 'round these here parts, and anyway the closest ones to me Out Here In The Rural Wilds are a 40-mile drive one-way. ... ... ... Well, on ebay I did manage to find a couple of decent-looking Czech lampwork, some pretty & reasonably uncommon-looking Venetian beads, & surprisingly quite a few unusual & creative-looking focals of various types from U.S. beead artists. And wonder of wonders, nothing I liked was at all out of my price range. ... ... ... However! To me, using ebay for beads is far more time-consuming & tiresome than driving all that way to a bead shop, maybe even more so than flipping through a big bead catalog like FMG -- because in just about any ebay category, & even with the search function, there always seems to be *tons* of hohum to downright garbahj-y stuff you gotta sift through before you finally come upon that sole lone single to-die-for thing.
I agree -- start with half-hard and start with real silver. ... ... Half hard, dead soft, full hard are examples of wire "temper" -- there are others but those 3 are the most commonly available from jewelry/ beading supply sources. ... ... ... There's also the wire "gauge" to consider. My hard-earned advice ? Start with a fairly thickl gauge like 18 or 20, mayyyyybe 22, but no thinner [the higher the gauge number, the thinner the wire]. Sure the thicker gauges are more expensive, but they're also much easier to work with for a beginner ... particularly if one is also a bit, er, fumble-fingered -- like me. ... ... ... Hmmm I said 'start with real silver' but you know, just to practice different techniques at first, you could also try *copper* wire. Readily available at nearly any hardware store, also relatively cheap compared to silver, and actually beautiful in & of itself in some finished pieces. ... ... ... And then there's also 'craft wire.' Great for practice but also used for real by many beaders/ jewelry makers. Comes in numerous colors; very easy to work with; & definitely not expensive. There are several brands out there; just make sure to get one that says color is permanent (in other words, won't chip off or otherwise come off while you're using your tools on it).
Some no-metal-closure variations you might play around with, using the fishing line ... 1. Loop&bead type closure : a loop of quite small beads at one end & one large bead at the other end for the loop to go over. ... 2. Lariat necklace -- either [A] Tie-on, consisting of one long strand, no closure; or Loop&strand -- somewhat siimilar to #1, with the beaded loop at one end, but then pretty much anything goes for the other -- end as long as whatever beads you use on that end will go through the loop 'juuust barely' (because with teensy beads & an enormous loop the necklace wouldn't stay on very long). ... ... ... Although I love making all sorts of variations of those necklaces, please keep in mind that I've never made any with NO metal components whatsoever ... without a single crimp, headpin dangle, clasp, etc etc etc? ... nothing but knots & glue? ... but you could certainly try it! ... ... ... One more thing re fishing line (eek I've never used that either, why am I posting?!) :: anyway, I've read about a zillion times that the best to try for beading -- in fact the ONLY kind that those 'serious beaders' might occasionally use -- is GSP, gel spun polyethylene. Power Pro & Fire Line are two well-known brands here in the US.