Saturday, February 9, 2008

My Bead Shopping Part 1: Purchasing Seed Beads

I am a bargain shopper. I am always looking for a deal and beads are no exception to this rule. If you go into a craft store or a bead shop you will realize that beads are not cheap. Depending on the beads, you can spend $50.00 on beads and come out of the store with a very small bag of beads and wonder, “Where did my money go?” This is why it is important to know where and how to shop in order to get your best beading dollar value without compromising quality.

There are many types of seed beads such as, Myuki, Toho, Mill Hill, Czech, Delica etc…
My personal preference is Czech seed beads. I prefer to buy size 10/0 and 11/0 seed bead by the hank. At my favorite bead store the average price of a hank of beads in about $3.00. The average size11/0 seed bead hank has 12 stands. Each strand is comprised of about 410 beads per strand, equaling approximately 5,022 beads per hank. The average size of 10/0 seed bead hank also has 12 strands. Each strand is comprised of about 328 beads per strand, equaling approximately 3928 beads per hank. These are great values and the standard I use for comparing prices when shopping for seed beads in craft stores, bead stores, or on the Internet.

I also take into account the price of gasoline and the amount of gas it take me to drive to my favorite bead store, verses shipping cost when shopping for beads on line. The driving distance from home to my favorite bead store and back is about 21 miles. Gas prices are at an average of $3.00 per gallon in my area. My car gets about 25 miles per gallon of gas. So driving to my favorite bead store costs me an additional $3.00 per trip. Even though many Internet bead stores will have prices that are lower than $3.00 per hank, their shipping costs are more than what it will cost me to drive to my favorite bead store. And, some Internet bead stores have a per hank shipping fee rather than a flat rate shipping fee. So these are important factors to take into account when trying to get my best bead dollar value.

I have found some great seed bead bargains through bead sellers on E-bay. E-bay has been great for purchasing large volume lots both “buy now” purchases and “winning bid” purchases. One of my best purchases was 22 hanks of seed beads in a variety rainbow colors for the price $35.00 and this included shipping!!! Another great E-bay purchase was 50 hanks of seed beads in a variety of color for the price of $65.00 and this also included shipping!!! Both purchases were much less than what I would have paid from my favorite bead store.

I also take advantage of any sales or discounts that I may find when bead shopping. My favorite bead store has a customer incentive card program. They give you a card and total up your card after each purchase. Once you have reached $100.00 in purchases, the next $10.00 is free. This is a great marketing technique for both the store and the store’s patrons.

So by being price conscience and doing a little market research I am able to get more seed beads for my money without sacrificing quality.

If you get the chance, stop by my website. You just might find something that you like or something that inspires you.


Sonya said...

Great advice! i'm really new to beading, and haven't ventured in to seed beading. I took your suggestion from before about making paper beads out of the handmade paper my sons and I made, and it turned out really well. I started making other paper beads and have made quite a few things. I started up another blog to show off some of the work I have done. If you get a chance, stop by and tell me what you think:) i took a look at your work, and it's beautiful! Don't think I'm quite ready for that sort of stuff though, it looks so complicated!!

Mare said...

Such good advice! I usually have to run out for a bead or two last minute as I complete a project. That doesn't bode well for saving $. We have a bead emporium about 45 minutes away that sells the bead hanks. I love that place and get so many different seed beads there too. You can also access it online. It's called Shipwreck Beads. You can go to

N.Hirn said...

Very interesting article. I didn't realize there was so much to lean. I've never done beading but always wished that I could. My sister is the crafty one and can do some beading. Maybe I'll try one day.
Your work is beautiful.