The power of editing.

I own a bead shop and am therefore spoiled by having everything I need right at my fingertips when I decide to design a new project. It’s a wonderful thing for our customers as well, to have access to an enormous array of choices. However, that can be intimidating for someone new to beading. Here are some techniques we use every day to help all our customers design jewelry they love. Give this a try with your own bead stash!

1. Start with a bead you love. I will hand someone a bead board and encourage them to walk around the shop, and let their eyes wander and start by choosing beads they are drawn to. It’s important to let this instinct guide you.

2. Next, start choosing other beads you love. Don’t think about whether they “match” or if the finishes go together. Ditch all your preconceived notions about what goes together and just pick things you love.
3. Make sure to select more beads than you think you need to complete your design. I’m just designing a bracelet in the photos, but just LOOK at all those beads!

4. Now, just start playing. Arrange the beads on the bead board, swap them around, try out different combinations and sequences. Try things that are unexpected. While you’re doing this, trust your inner design eye to help you edit out whatever doesn’t work. You may need to go back and get more of one bead or another.

5. Eventually, you’ll edit your selections down to something that’s beautiful, and you’ll love it because you started out with what you were naturally drawn to.

Finally, I always find it amazing that for our younger customers, under 12 years old, we don’t have to explain any of these steps. Kids have such free minds that all the techniques I just told you about come naturally, and they come up with some absolutely awesome designs. You can too – just start with more and edit out, and remember how to play like a kid!