Discover the Best Beading Classes in Chicago
Beading has a rich history and cultural significance in many societies. Beads are among the most abundant archeological finds from the Paleolithic Period, where thin marine shells were perforated and stained red with powdered menatite. Early examples of naturally punctured stones, seeds, and shells date to as early as 300,000 B.C.E. in Kenya and Turkey. Beads were worn as a talisman for luck in the hunt, as symbols of identity and rank, and as objects of personal adornment. From unique jewelry to elaborately decorated apparel, beads have played a historic role in commerce and are indeed a mirror of humanity.
Contemporary beads are made from materials like semi-precious gems, glass, pearls and shells, wood, plastic, metal, and stone. They range from tiny seed beads to distinctive larger shapes and designs. Beading is a popular form of jewelry making, where beads are strung together on a cord or wire to create necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and other accessories. Clothing, shoes, bags, and other fashion items can also be decorated with stitched beads. Beading is a versatile and creative craft that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and skill levels.
Why You Should Learn Beading in Chicago
Beading is a fun and creative outlet that is easily accessed by anyone. Projects and materials fit in the smallest of spaces, and you can use a basic set of skills in endless ways to create items that are truly original. The detailed, repetitive actions of beading are relaxing and help you let go of the worries in your life. Plus, beading is so beneficial to your hand-eye coordination that it is often used to help children develop their fine motor skills and gripping techniques.
You’ll feel a sense of accomplishment and pride when you complete your beading project. Unique beaded jewelry and accessories are an expression of your personal style or they make a treasured gift. Beading is also a great way to connect with new friends who share your passion for the craft. You can join beading groups, attend workshops, or participate in online forums to connect with other beading enthusiasts and learn new skills. The Facebook group Illinois Beading Buddies has been connecting its nearly 400 members since 2015.
Explore beading through the ages at Art Institute Chicago, where they have featured exhibits of beads used in historic masks, figures, and apparel. Beading artisans sell their work at craft fairs, boutiques, and online shops. Numerous bead stores provide endless inspiration and supplies for your next beading project. You can also teach beadwork to others, or create designs for others to follow. The global beaded jewelry market is estimated at $5.4 billion. Join a national association like The Bead Society to learn about educational opportunities and connect with other beading enthusiasts.
In-Person Beading Classes & Schools in Chicago
Felt Flower Fascinator Hat or Brooch at TLD Design Center and Gallery in Westmont finishes sculptural felt flowers with a collage of fiber, fabric, features, and beads. Attach your unique flower to a headband or hat, or fasten it to a pin to wear on your lapel. TLD Design Center and Gallery offers inspiring classes in creative arts, including beading arts like on and off-loom bead weaving and braiding.
Rejuvenated Jewelry at Chicago Botanic Garden in Chicago incorporates the little treasures you have saved into spectacular new pieces of jewelry. You’ll learn to solder, wire wrap, and string, and learn about resources for your treasure hunting. Chicago Botanic Garden is a living museum and conservation center where you can participate in programs, take classes, and stroll the grounds.
Polymer Clay Bead Making at Chicago Jewelry and Lapidary Art School in Chicago shows you how to make, shape, drill, and polish a variety of beads from pre-made polymer clay cane. You’ll learn several techniques and explore the limitless possibilities of mixing polymer clay with other materials.
Wire and Beads Victorian Earring at Chicago Jewelry and Lapidary Art School in Chicago guides you through creating a pair of elegant beaded earrings with sterling silver wire. You’ll learn traditional wire jewelry-making techniques that will enable you to make many future variations of this basic design. Chicago Jewelry and Lapidary Art School offers small classes with individualized attention for every student. You’ll complete a wearable piece of jewelry as you learn jewelry-making techniques.
Lampwork Glass Beads II for ages 16+ at Evanston Art Center covers the basics of lampwork bead making. Lampwork beads are created by blowing and shaping glass to form intricate designs. Evanston Art Center is a non-profit arts organization that offers classes, community events, and exhibitions. Their mission is to make the visual arts an integral and accessible part of the lives of diverse audiences in Chicago.
Wine and Design Jewelry at One Strange Bird in Chicago gives you a chance to relax with a friend, and drink and a creative jewelry project. Use metal materials and beads to create your own designs. You’ll learn simple beading, wire, and metal techniques, and make both a pair of earrings and a necklace using a combination of metal and sparkling beads. One Strange Bird is an art studio and boutique that offers classes and camps for all skill levels.
Virtual Beading Classes & Schools
Online classes are a great alternative if there are no in-person beading classes in your area. You can learn from expert instructors no matter where you are, and you can work on your projects from the comfort of your home. Plus, the time you save on commuting is more time for beading.
You’ll often need to provide tools and materials when taking online beading classes. These are available from many local stores and online suppliers. You’ll need a reliable internet connection and a computer or device with a microphone where you can access your class.
Bead Stringing Basics by Santa Monica College will teach you professional finishes for all your beading projects. The class covers beading wire and crimp beads, stretching cord with four different endings, and memory wire. You’ll be able to make a wide range of necklaces or bracelets using these techniques.
Bead and Pearl Knotting by Santa Monica College covers everything you need to know to make a necklace on silk cord, with or without a clasp, using any kind of beads or pearls. You’ll also learn to attach clasps and use knots to create a floating illusion design.
Virtual Camp - Beading Basics – Jewelry by Dragonfly Designs takes you on your first step into jewelry making. In this beginner beading class, you’ll get to know the tools and all the techniques you need to create unique jewelry from scratch. You’ll make a single-strand bracelet, a wrap bracelet or necklace, earrings from beading wire, a double-strand bracelet, and a crisscross bracelet. You’ll need to have your own jewelry-making tools to participate in this class.
Wire Art Jewelry Making - Beginning Wire Wrapping by East Los Angeles College teaches you linking techniques for earrings, bracelets, and necklaces. You’ll learn to make jump rings, spacers, charms, and clasps, and how to attach beads with solderless wire. Continue your jewelry-making journey with Wire Art Jewelry Making - Intermediate Wire Wrapping. You’ll master more wire wrapping techniques like how to make the outline of an object. Wrap the outline with wire and beads and learn how to “sew” crystals and pearls within the frame. You can use these techniques to create an infinite array of figures for pendants, bracelets, and necklaces.
Private Group Beading Classes in Chicago
Private group beading classes are a fun team-building event for your business or a great way to spend time with friends. Making crafts together is an easy icebreaker and a way to get your brain engaged and your creativity flowing. If you don’t see exactly the class you’re looking for, Coursehorse can create a live online group class for you.
Virtual Polymer Clay Jewelry introduces the basic techniques for making beads from polymer clay. Make your unique jewelry designs as simple or as complicated as you want and customize them to your taste. You’ll learn how to roll out slabs for minimalist-style earrings or craft beautiful flowers for a keychain or brooch. Each participant will receive a polymer clay jewelry kit that includes 42 vibrant bars of oven-bake molding clay, five sculpting tools, and accessories for making earrings and keychains.
If you don’t see the course you’re looking for, Coursehorse can create a beading class just for you. Contact them through the Contact Us button on their website to book a class. It’s simple - just estimate your group size, pay the minimum deposit, and secure your date. Finalize your group size up to one week before your class date. You can customize your event further for a $150 fee by adding games, requesting specific questions or a themed game, or adding another event with materials included.
CourseHorse recommends using the Zoom platform for your class, but they can accommodate Google Meets, Microsoft Teams, and WebEx. Many courses can even come to your office or home space if you’d like.