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Unexpected Places to Find Cheap Beads

Aug 30, 2008
A lot of people who are just starting to make their own bead jewelry get caught up in all the magazines and books and beading supply catalogs and begin thinking that the only way to actually buy beads and jewelry supplies are through specialized jewelry and beading outlets. I know people who make and sell a lot of their own jewelry but they are barely breaking even because they are spending a lot of money on materials and not pricing their jewelry correctly.

And while I love visiting new bead stores and can spend hours pouring through the latest bead catalog, sometimes searching in more unique stores and shops can yield some amazing finds. Here are some unique and unexpected places you can start looking for beads:

Discount and warehouse stores: We have several different chains of stores in my area that specialize in over run items, dented and dinged merchandise and things that have simply been discontinued. Their stock rotates pretty regularly and one week they may have a pallet of coffee makers for $5.00 a piece while the next week they have room sized area rugs. I always check their craft sections because every now and then they have piles and piles of beads from a craft store or bead store somewhere that closed down. I usually end up filling a hand basket filled with beads and supplies when stumble across them because I know that they won't be around next week!

Large chain craft stores: A lot of our chain craft stores have closed down recently, but there is one about an hour away from me that I recently visited and I was amazed at the large selection of beads and jewelry supplies and I was even more surprised at how affordable most of it was. A year ago they only had about one store aisle designated to jewelry making, but now they had three and a half aisles of beading supplies, jewelry supplies and even beading books that they didn't have before.

Hardware stores: Yes, I know this sounds crazy, but if you're looking to add some fun and unique pieces to your jewelry then you really have to think about going to a hardware store and looking over their sections of fasteners, screws and even nails. I've picked up grommets, washers, and even some cool little metal clasps from my local hardware store and used them all in different jewelry pieces. Jewelry made from hardware pieces always seems to be a hit amongst the teenagers and younger audience members at the craft shows I visit.

All these types of stores are great places for finding amazing deals on unique beads and jewelry supplies. These are not the sort of places you would visit if you were searching for a very specific type of bead or jewelry item, but I find that my imagination sometimes runs wild when I visit non-traditional stores while thinking about making jewelry.

So keep an eye out the next time you're shopping for soap or picking up some light bulbs at the store: you might just be moments away from discovering some great beads or supplies that can be used in the next piece of jewelry you make!
About the Author
There are lots of other ways to buy jewelry beads at a discount and use alternative materials to make your own bead jewelry.
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