Having Friends Over for a Beading Play Date
The holiday season is all about gathering with friends, enjoying and appreciating each other, and for me, sharing laughter and each of our unique gifts. This year I decided to share my gift of teaching with friends by hosting an earring making party. Whether your friends are jewelry makers or not, they’re likely to love a chance to make one of the best girlfriend gifts out there: earrings. They’re one size fits all, and there’s no end to the possibilities. Even better, you only need to know a few beading skills to make a pair that looks just as good as something out of a magazine!
Last week, members of my wonderfully adventurous book club said they’d be willing to add earring making to our monthly book discussion. I thought I’d share a bit about how I put together a memorable night right here on the blog. To be honest, the book wasn’t nearly as popular this month as the earrings!
One thing I think every beading party needs is some good snacks and drinks. I made some brownies, bought some of my favorite cheesy popcorn, and mixed up a batch of Ina Garten’s Juice of a Few Flowers, which got thumbs up from the girls. One thing to remember, though, is to avoid candy that looks like beads! I don’t know how many times I’ve *almost* popped a bead in my mouth instead of the Skittle nearby on my bead mat.
Here’s a materials checklist:
If you don’t have a lot of tools, ask participants to bring theirs from home. If your friends are new to beading and don’t have their own tools, ask a few of your beady friends if you can borrow theirs for the night. Earrings aren’t incredibly tool-time-intensive projects; most of the fun is in choosing the right combinations of that few beads that work together for you. Making the loop takes but a few seconds, and you can pass the round-nose pliers to the person next to you when you’re finished.
Having a mix of metals for the findings makes it fun, too. If you want to choose a few strands of multicolored beads, that makes it easy to give your friends a variety of choices without breaking the bank. You don’t need to spend much money to create a great pair of earrings! I placed the findings on the table separated by metal and type.
In my list I included appetizer trays. I bet you’re wondering what those are for. I found these at Meijer in the paper goods aisle, and I immediately thought that they’d make great little trays for the ladies to use to keep all of their often roly-poly beads in check while they browsed my bead collection. They’d also work great if you bought a variety of beads and placed them on the work table in the deeper trays.
I used the kitchen table to lay out my bead collection for my friends to peruse. Have you seen the “BUY ALL THE BEADS!!!” meme? Well, I took that one quite seriously.
I found that it worked well to pass out a few head pins so that my friends could stack the beads on them to try out their designs before heading back to the dining room to make their earrings. After we picked our favorite beads, enough to make a couple pairs of earrings, I showed them all how to make a loop and open a jump ring. These are the two basic techniques that you need to make a pair of earrings. If you want, you could print out little cards using this printable diagram.
Once we got started each person made a few pairs of earrings. We had a great time making earrings, talking, and snacking.
Enjoy your week, and don’t forget to include beads!
How much fun is that?! I think that would be a great service for our readers to offer to their friends. A holiday gift making date! I wish I lived closer so that I could join your ‘book’ club! Enjoy the day! Erin
We had a blast! My good camera wasn’t working that night–I need to get it fixed and soon!–so the photos weren’t the best, but I think they captured all of the fun we had together. Earrings are the perfect “gateway” project into beading. They’re instant gratification beading, and they don’t cost a lot to make.
I wish we lived closer together as well! Think of the fun we’d have!
Have a lovely day!