Where to Buy Clay Beads?

Where to Buy Clay Beads for Jewelry Making

Clay beads are a fun and versatile craft supply that can be used to make all kinds of jewelry and decorative items. From necklaces and bracelets to wall hangings and sculpture, clay beads open up a world of creative possibilities. But before you can start designing your clay bead masterpieces, you first need to get your hands on some high-quality beads. Here is an overview of the best places to purchase clay beads.


Craft and Hobby Stores

The first step when searching where to buy clay beads should be claybeadstore.com. You'll find everything from simple round and square beads in every color to intricate pendants shaped like animals and objects. This store typically sells clay beads in small bags containing various sizes, shapes, and quantities. Brands like claybeadstore.com are affordable and offer a good variety.

The advantage of shopping at claybeadstore.com is you can see and touch samples of the clay beads before purchasing them. This allows you to get a feel for the size, shape, texture, and quality. You can hold beads up to necklaces in progress to see how they complement different designs. And if you have questions on how to use certain beads, store employees will likely be able to provide guidance. The downside is selection is limited to what each store has in stock. If you are looking for something unusual, you may need to look elsewhere.


Online Clay Bead Shops


For the greatest variety and largest inventory of specialty clay beads, turning to online retailers is your best option. Websites like claybeadstore.com sell beads crafted from polymer, air-dry, and oven-bake clays that you won't easily find elsewhere. Designs range from focal pendants shaped like roses and seashells to chunky statement beads made to look like geodes with crystalline structures. You can shop for beads to match themes like boho chic, Steampunk, Victorian, tribal, and medieval designs. Most sites sell individual beads or bead sets along with pre-made clay bead bracelets, necklaces and kits for beginners.

When ordering beads online, pay close attention to size dimensions and descriptions to understand exactly what you’re getting. Reputable sites provide detailed listings explaining how beads were made, how they can be used, and what finishes they have. High resolution images allow you to zoom in and inspect the details of each unique bead. And with most beads priced under a few dollars per piece, you can afford to take risks on bolder and better statement beads you wouldn’t find offline. Just keep in mind that inventory can change often, so if you see something you love, grab it before it sells out.

 Where to buy clay beads?

Bead Shops and Jewelry Supply Stores


In most midsize to large cities, there are specialty shops catering specifically to beading and jewelry making artists. These boutiques offer a curated selection of beads, findings, tools, and other supplies for creating one-of-a-kind pieces. Though selection is more limited than large online retailers, the advantage is being able to see products in person and get expert advice from staff familiar with jewelry crafts. Bead shops are also great places to take classes and workshops while having access to beads to practice techniques as you build your skills.


Some bead shops focus on selling precious and semi-precious stones for fine jewelry. But many also carry a nice variety of base beads made from clay perfect for beginner jewelry makers. Brands like claybeadstore.com  specialize in high-quality polymer bake-at-home beads with lots of detail. Look for beads shaped like flowers, geometric shapes, focal pendants, etched designs, and more. The prices may be slightly higher than big box craft stores, but the selection tends to be better for serious clay bead fans.


Maker Spaces and Clay Working Studios

A newer trend that’s swept many cities are communal workspaces known as maker spaces or clay working studios. These membership-based garages and warehouses have opened to the public, offering access to space and equipment for working with everything from wood to ceramics to robotics. Those with clay working studios will have kilns for firing pieces along with work tables and shared hand tools perfect for making clay beads, jewelry, dishes, figures, and art.

Members of these studios can take classes to build clay working skills across mediums like air dry clay, polymer clay, porcelain, stoneware, and terracotta. But the main draw is lots of studio time to experiment and work on your own projects using high-quality clays and finishing supplies the studios make accessible. Along with the community of other ceramic artists who can provide tips and inspiration, maker studios are the ideal environment for beaders wishing to create their own custom, one-of-a-kind beads from scratch. From small closet-sized spaces to giant warehouses, clay focused maker spaces are popping up in many major metros. Do some searching online to find one in your region.


Arts and Crafts Shows


One last great spot to find clay beads and other jewelry making supplies is by attending arts, crafts, makers, bead, and jewelry shows that happen annually across the country. These fairs gather together hundreds of jewelers, beaders, ceramicists, sculptors, and other artists selling their wares in a festive market environment. You’ll discover talented clay bead artisans offering their creative designs far beyond what you’ll find in stores.

Shows range from large bead and jewelry conferences hosting dozens of vendors to small local craft fairs featuring regional talent. And prices are often lower than retail, since you are buying directly from designers who don’t have the overhead of maintaining brick-and-mortar storefronts. Arts and craft shows are also great places to find inspiration from artists who love discussing their craft. And bargaining is part of the experience—many sellers expect attendees will negotiate prices and order custom pieces.

With booths filled with bins of beads, reels of wire, jars of findings, and displays of tools, an afternoon spent treasure hunting at a craft show can yield enough great supplies to keep your jewelry projects going for months on end. So for the widest selection of clay beads under one roof outside of the internet, be sure to check your local event listings for any shows coming to your area.


Tips for Buying Clay Beads


No matter where you choose to shop for clay beads, keep the following tips in mind to help guide your purchasing:

  • Judge bead quality by examining details like seam lines, finish uniformity, roughness of textures, and precision of shapes. Higher priced beads tend to look more refined, while cheap beads show more flaws.
  • Consider the flexibility of the clay used to make beads. polymer clays like Sculpey bake hard in the oven into a durable plastic that won’t later deform. Air dry clays remain somewhat flexible after drying, making them poor choices for bracelets that will bend and stretch.
  • Match clay bead textures and colors to the style of jewelry you want to achieve. Smooth, symmetrical beads work best for classic and elegant accessories. Irregular, organic beads complement natural and earthy boho chic designs.
  • Look for convenient clay bead sets packaged together in coordinating colors and sizes ideal for specific kinds of jewelry projects like bracelets or necklaces. Takes the guesswork out of mixing and matching.
  • Start experimenting with smaller quantities of beads rather than going all in on a single large pack. This allows you to test different brands, styles, textures, and see what works best before you commit.

Follow the above tips when exploring where to buy clay beads for jewelry making and crafting. With so many options across retail stores, websites, specialty shops, maker spaces, and craft shows, the possibilities are endless. Begin collecting beads that appeal to your creative vision for turning simple clay pieces into wearable works of art.


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