Reviews For Bead & Button Magazine

Bead Addicts, This One's for You!

Addiction. It's a word that's tossed around a lot nowadays - you got your sex addicts, your drug addicts, your gambling addicts, your thrill addicts...such a somber subject, such grim and life-destroying issues. But bead addiction - now there's a joyful topic, to those of us so afflicted! (Though perhaps not to those brave souls with whom we co-habit, whose lives are enlivened by the constant thrills of waking in their bed to find tiny beads stuck to their personal anatomies, the less-than-soothing bedtime alert that "there might be a needle or two somewhere in the bed, dear", and the certain knowledge that at any given time the grocery money may well have been diverted into sparkley tubes of colored light.)

For the bead diva, Bead and Button is a must-have. Like all "craft magazines", every issue has projects that range from the simple to the complex, and even, sometimes, into the realm of the ridiculous. Every issue has a very basic guide to the common "stitches" and techniques used in beadwork, in addition to the detailed step-by-step directions for specific projects. Projects feature a complete list of supplies needed, and, if a particular bead or component is hard to find, may include a source. And every issue will probably have at least one project that will inspire you to either try a new technique or put your already-established skills to use in a new and exciting way.

That's one of the great joys of beadwork - there are always new and different combinations of beads and other materials and colors, so that no matter how experienced and/or creative and/or prolific you are, it would be impossible to ever do more than scratch the surface of the possibilities. No chance for boredom or ho-hum as long as there are beads in this world, and the occasional "something" to give you that little push to try something new.

One word of warning about the projects: as with anything else, there are sometimes mistakes in the instructions. With a little experience & experimentation, you will quickly learn how to tell if this disgusting & uncooperative tangle of thread and tiny beads you're mangling is a result of your not interpreting the printed directions correctly or the simple fact that it says "left" when it means "right". I find that Bead and Button's instructions are less prone to these errors than those of its only serious contender, Beadwork; directions are clearer to follow, and almost always right.

And one other caveat: when you look at a gorgeous gotta-have-it-now piece of beadwork, the instructions given may well be for a much simpler piece using the same basic techniques but without all the "bells and whistles". I suspect that's partly a matter of protecting the artist/designer's artistic and creative rights to her original work, and partly so that the techniques and building blocks can be taught to a wide range of readers/beaders. I do wish they'd clarify exactly what the project that the directions are for as written, without additional embellishment, would look like, and sometimes they do, but sometimes it takes a little work to figure out whether you can expect to produce the same gorgeous piece shown on the full-page photo or a pared-down version. Not a problem for the experienced beader, but may be confusing for the novice.

But this journal is not all about projects; nor, in fact, is it only about beads and (not often) buttons. Artisans working in many media are featured - polymer clay, metalworkers, fiber artists, glass blowers, a rich mix of artist/craftspeople who are truly pioneers in their field. When I first started subscribing, way back when it was still a less-lavish, no-ads publication, I thought these articles about the artists were "boring" - I just wanted to learn how to make new stuff with beads. But now, a more mature and skilled beadworker myself, I really appreciate these features; I find that I want to know more and more about what inspires them, how they came to be the skilled and creative artisans that they are, and what are some of the more "technical" aspects of their craft. My interest in the properties of materials has expanded hugely over the years, and I've learned a lot more than just another way to join beads together or embellish a surface, largely as a result of years of reading Bead and Button.

Other regular features include a showcase of readers' own work, letters to the editors, a column by Alice Korach (the magazine's editor and a big name herself in beadwork circles), a "quick and easy" project that often somehow adds up to more than the sum of its parts, and reviews of new books and products of interest to beaders. There are articles on the history of particular "stitches" or techniques or styles of beadwork, featured bead artists, all kinds of great stuff.

And the ads - let's not forget the ads! The presence of ads (many of them, some glossy two-page spreads that are the beady equivalent of the Playboy centerfold, and some tiny black-and-white classifieds) is the subject of constant and hot debate in this publication. Some people feel that the ads detract from the value and appeal of the journal; I tend to think that these complainers are either not avid beaders themselves or live in an area where they have huge access to a variety of beads locally. I love the ads! I would buy it just for the ads, at least occasionally! Beads are not like, say, windshield wiper fluid or sweat socks, where pretty much one kind is as good as another and you might just as well buy them "here" as "there"; bead sources are incredibly varied and unique, with huge ranges of style, price, and type of beads. It's still possible, for even modest sums of money, to find a bead that you will not find anywhere else in the world - and how will you know what's out there unless you hook up with as wide a range of bead merchants as you can? Sure, there are "standards" - Czech 11s or Japanese Delicas, say - but even these are available in hundreds and thousands of colors and prices. No one's gonna have 'em all, and the big all-purpose beadsellers are NOT the ones likely to have that unique, quirky, just-so bead. So I find that the ads are great - they direct me to internet sources, to collectors of specific and unusual beads, to print catalogs, to shops anyplace I might travel to. Sometimes I even find ideas I can steal - er, I mean adapt - to fuel my own creativity: a new color combination, an exotic ethnic look, something I would never have thought of on my own. What could be bad?

I've been a subscriber for many years, and I plan to continue as long as Alice & the other good folks keep churning 'em out. The only other magazine devoted exclusively to beads and beading, Beadwork, from Interweave Press, has visual layouts that are sometimes more unusual or "arty" - for instances, the most recent issue shows all the pieces displayed on various fruits; not their best idea, compared to the one that had everything against a backdrop of chocolate, or skin, but visually kind of exciting. I like Beadwork, and buy every issue because I am a spineless magpie when it comes to things beady, but its project directions are much more prone to errors as well as to plain old being unclear, and I get by far the most actual use out of Bead and Button.


Primary Reason for Buying: Articles

Brings Out Your Beading Creativity! Nice Photos!

I started receiving Bead and Button magazine when it was first published in 1994. I still have the premiere issue as well as all of the issues that have been published since then. I would never part with a single issue! At that time I was a bead hobbyist who enjoyed making beaded necklaces on the side. Alot has changed since then. We now own a bead store in Roanoke, Virginia where we have a chance to help others learn the addictive craft of beading. Bead and Button has been a huge help in giving us projects to show our customers and ideas for new classes.

This magazine is full of beading tips, projects, and luscious photos that are sure to inspire you. You'll also find interviews with bead artists and jewelry designers. You'll find these to be helpful if you're attempting to market your own design work as they often give good jewelry marketing tips. There's also a showcase of creations made by readers which often have surprisingly complex and sophisticated pieces. There's also a section in the back that shows you the basics of beading if you're new to the craft.

The beading projects are well described with clear instructions including a resource list where you can buy the necessary beads and components. The projects are described step-by-step usually with a series of small photos illustrating the steps involved. Each project has a beautiful, full-size color photo of the completed item. One criticism I may have is that the projects tend to be geared towards a slightly more advanced beader, although the magazine does include beginner projects. If you're a complete newbie to beading, you may want to refer to one of the newer beading magazines such as Bead Style which is geared more towards the beginning beader.

I use this magazine primarily as a source of inspiration for my own projects. The beading projects described can be easily adapted to create completely new projects. Plus, the photos keep you abreast of color and style trends in the field of beading.

The back of the magazine has a rather extensive section of advertisements. This has been a source of controversy. Some people love them while others hate them. Personally, I think they're an asset. I've found a variety of new sources of great beads from reading their ads. Plus, the photos are so colorful and well done that they also spark creative ideas.

If you're an intermediate to advanced beader, you'll find this magazine to be a fantastic resource. If you're a beginning beginner, I would still recommend it but would suggest supplementing with a good beginning book on beading or a copy of one of the beading magazines geared towards beginners now on the market.


Primary Reason for Buying: Articles

For serious bead-a-holics

I am not in love with this magazine, I'm in lust! I can't wait for my next issue to arrive, they could produce it twice a month and it wouldn't be enough! But then, I guess you have to be adicted to beading to understand that!

I have recommended this magazine to everyone I have ever met who is interested in learning to bead. Why? Because the instructions are so clear, and so detailed, that from the first moment you wax a thread and dump some beads on your worktable you can make beutiful jewelry. And to make it even better, if the instructions for the project don't have what you are looking for, there is a section in the back that details all the various stitches used in that issue--whether they have been detailed in the last 6 issues or not, they are here once again. Don't you just hate when they refrence you back to an issue 5 months ago for some obscure stitch, and you don't have it or can't locate it! Not a problem here. And the instructions are written for dummies. By that I mean it doesn't take for granted that "everyone" knows how to do that stitch, they diagram and explain it just as if you had never lusted after the latest color of Delicas to arrive.

They present a wide variety of projects, as well--everything from bead sculpture, to earrings, necklaces, freeform, cabachon pins, you name it, at one time or another you will find it here. One project involving stone donuts and some peyote stitch and cord to make necklaces caught my eye--I went to my favorite bead supply store, purchased about 20 donuts, several shades of beads and some heavy waxed cord, and in one afternoon made up 6 of them in various colors--all of which sold the next craft show.

If you need supplies, there are tons of ads all over the world that you can use to purchase nearly anything your heart desires, most of them have websites.

I can't recommend this magazine enough to anyone interested in learning to bead, it's simply the best.


Primary Reason for Buying: Articles

The Best Magazine for Beaders

I have been a subscriber to Bead & Button for many years now. I have bought issues of other beading magazines like Jewelry Crafts and Beadwork, but I feel that Bead & Button is the best.

It always has a wide variety of projects, from easy beginner projects that take under an hour to more advanced projects that take days. I almost always find something to inspire me.

Bead & Button seems to be the best edited magazine of the three I have tried. I rarely find mistakes in the instructions and they are usually quite clear and easy to follow. The only thing that I do not like about the instructions now is that they have moved the list of supplies from the beginning of the instructions to the end. I liked being able to see at a glance what materials were needed before perusing the instructions.

Originally, Bead & Button did not accept advertising, but I'm happy that is does now. There are still as many articles and I like to look at the ads to get ideas of what is available and where to buy it. I would highly recommend Bead & Button to anyone who has an interest in beading.


Buttoned up on beads

I have been a beader for over 5 years. For the first part of my hobby I was VERY frustrated when I wasn't able to get books that didn't cost me a fortune to help me with my basic beading skills. Then a friend introduced me to Beads & Buttons. I drool at every issue of this magazine. It had wonderful ideas as well as plenty of references for buying beads, findings, charms, etc. Every person that does any kind of beading should get this magazine. It has new ideas and old and everything in between. The picture area great. The reviews are interesting. And there is something for every kind of beader. It has great suggestions for buttons and how the two mediums can be merged.


Wonderful Variety

This is a wonderful magazine with a variety of projects, from seed bead work to simple stringing. Simple directions help ease the process of creation, and a glossary is available for true beginners. I find a project that grabs me immediately in each issue, and often look through past months for inspiration.

best beading magazine around

I have been a subscriber for many years. This is my favorite beading magazine. I do not enjoy stringing, so the easier bead stringing magazines do not appeal to me. However, Bead & Button has such a variety of projects and techniques, that it will appeal to most everyone. As an advanced seed bead technique lover, I find so much inspiration in this magazine. Typically I find 4 - 7 projects per issue that I MUST try out. They have a reader's gallery where you can send in photos of your work. Excellent directions that are easy to follow, even for the most complicated pieces. Great magazine. Highest recommendation. I save all my copies and return to them frequently.

If you like making jewelry - This is a Great Magazine!

Bead and Button magazine is a great magazine to get ideas, learn new tips and there is always a new project with detailed instructions. A great help.


I have subscribed for many years. I almost never copy designs, but use it for inspiration and technique. It is a very valuable resource for sources. I find that I must use several resources for my creations.

I really like to read the biographic pieces; it's always interesting to read about creative people; they are usually so modest and humble.

Projects suppliers and more

This specialty magazine inspires the beader by new projects and artist profiles. The title says bead and button, though it is almost unusual to read an article on buttons. This is definitely for the avid beader. While I enjoy seeing new project ideas, I am most fascinated by the gallery of reader artwork. I like the fact that readers can submit photos and beading tips. This makes them a real part of the magazine.

This is an excellent publication for the new beader as it regularly offers beginner projects and helps inform readers of the terminology and techniques in beading. Projects include earrings, barrettes, necklaces and even beaded vessels. It has a growing list of polymer clay articles although it focuses mostly on lampwork artists and seed bead techniques.

I would never stop my subscription, but the magazine is becoming more commerical. As the interest in beads and beadwork has grown so has the magazine. I have issues from 5-6 years ago when there were no ads. I realize the high costs of publishing speciality magazines require ads, but it is a real distraction. It is nice to read about upcoming bead shows, but it feels more like advertisement than information.