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Girls love jewelry! A kids beading party will make your child’s birthday or other celebration the most memorable in years, when all the kids can show off the jewelry that they made! Here are all the projects, patterns, and instructions to make planning a breeze!
I have also seen these ideas used successfully for Mother’s Day events, bat mitzvah parties, graduation parties, bridal showers, club meetings, and Christmas or winter holiday parties.
The first decision to make is whether to hire someone to help, ask friends or family members to help, or do this all on your own, with my help, of course! The same way you can hire a professional entertainer for your party, there are beading and jewelry instructors who work with children. I am available for kids beading parties in Minnesota, especially the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area. You can inquire via my contact page. There are other resources you can use to locate instructors as well!
Next, select a project that is appropriate for the party guests’ age range and style. For example, I might bring larger, brightly-colored acrylic beads for a 7th birthday party, but bring pearls and gorgeous glass beads for a 13th birthday. The easiest plan is to choose one piece, either a bracelet, anklet, or necklace, and have everyone make one. They can be similar, yet not identical.
If you have a good idea of what you want to do, you can use your imagination, and may not need assistance locating projects or patterns. Just make sure that you assemble a sample piece ahead of time, prior to purchasing the bulk of your supplies. This will assist with planning the quantities needed, as well as test your design to make sure it still makes you happy (and will work for the kids)! Sources for project ideas include beading magazines or beading books. There are often low-cost project pamphlets available at the stores where beads are sold, and they can be a boon when you need inspiration or some basic beading instruction.
I will be posting some free sample party projects here soon!
An alternative, for experienced beaders who want to clean out their supply cabinet, would be to have all of the supplies available and let everyone play! You could do some organizing by color or style, or not, and still assist with assembly, but leave the selections up to their creativity. If you are not prepared, this could get out of hand, and is not recommended if it is important to you to maintain an appearance of control. It’s also sometimes difficult for kids who’ve never done this before. If there are too many options, they just don’t know where to start, and sometimes it isn’t as fun!
Besides your beads, here are some other supplies to consider:
- Beading wire – I prefer to use the wire that is made of multiple metal strands in a coating. It’s strong enough to hold up to just about anything! If I choose elastic, I worry about whether my knots will hold, and if I use beading thread, then I need beading needles. I don’t like needles. With wire, no worries!
- Crimp beads – These little beads are the trick to securing beading wire. Prior to beginning my beading journey, I had no idea what these were. See my beading tips and techniques page for a detailed how-to!
- Clasps – I’ve found that, although there are many fancy clasps available on the market, a nice, simple, even slightly larger than usual lobster-claw clasp tends to do a terrific job. While the popular toggle clasps or magnetic clasps can be elegant and easy to use, these might be more practical for someone inclined to pay attention to their jewelry. Younger kids will lose their jewelry in a heart-beat, since these styles of clasps are less reliable.
- Pliers – The jewelers pliers are what you will use to close the crimp beads on your jewelry. It should be sufficient to have one or two pairs, and pass them around to share. If you hold this sort of event often, it could be worth investing in a few! You may have beading friends who could loan you theirs for the day as well. A basic flat-nosed needle-nose pliers (not the kind in Dad’s garage) is sufficient for closing crimp beads. See my crimping pliers page for an explanation of why I can’t live without this specialized tool.
To find a source for your supplies, see my guide to beading suppliers.
Once you’ve chosen a project, tested it so that you know your quantities, and purchased some supplies…
Organize them! I have been known to pre-cut all of the beading wire, and separate out the findings (such as a clasp and the crimp beads) into an individual baggie or tin for each person. If there are multiple types of beads, you could divide out each type into a different bowl, so that the guests can pass them around to choose their beads. Trying to open packages and sort supplies the morning of the party would be too stressful. Be kind to yourself, and have this done ahead of time.
Other things to prepare:
Invitations: Make sure that your guests and their parents know ahead of time that they will get such an exciting project. A kids beading party will be looked forward to with anticipation!
Where will the project take place? My favorite location is a dining room table, or kitchen table if it is large enough. It is important for everyone to have a sufficient amount of level space to work on, so if you need to rent a banquet-sized table, it might be worth it. Or try to borrow card tables from neighbors! If you’re working with grown-ups, or with kids who’ve done this before, they may be just as comfortable in your living room on tray tables and coffee tables. But if they’re younger, or if the instructional aspect is going to be important, you can’t beat having everyone at one table.
How long will it take? Try to set aside one and 1/2 to two hours worth of your party time, to create any one simple necklace, bracelet, or anklet. I start each party session with a lesson about what each of the tools and components does, as well as showing examples of items I have made that will be similar to what they will be working on. I find that concrete examples really help fuel the creative fire!
What’s your work surface? It is a common myth that one must invest in “beading boards” to create beaded jewelry. You know the kind; they’re gray and fuzzy, with grooves and measurements? They aren’t necessary! Provide each guest with a washcloth, dishcloth, or small towel, and they will have plenty of room to lay out their beads without them rolling around the table and onto the floor. This is also what I use when designing, so don’t feel like you’re skimping!
Now that you’ve got the basics, the rest of the project will run just like leading any organized craft project with a group of youngsters. Can be crazy, but is always fun!
Just make sure that you talk to them about what it is that they’re going to do before you hand out the supplies. That way they are paying attention to your words, and not the pretty shiny things. I usually set out the washcloths prior to having the group sit down, but that’s it. The rest is sitting at my “place setting,” or even on a sideboard behind me.
Once you have explained, and distributed, make your way around the table. You can assist those who need help, encourage those who are coming along well, and generally be available.
Here’s hoping that all of your kids beading party guests will be raving about their experience!