You don't have to spend money on jewelry patterns when you can find free patterns and project ideas. Use your resourceful side and take advantage of free beaded jewelry pattern ideas from magazines, bead suppliers and the Internet.
Many of your favorite bead magazines offer a wealth of free bead jewelry patterns on their websites. At the time of publication, Beadstyle, Bead & Button, Beadwork and Bead Daily are valuable resources for free projects.
Visit your local library to see if they stock issues of your favorite bead magazines. Some libraries even have giveaway piles of older issues that you can take home at no cost. Alternatively, you can copy patterns from both books and magazines, which means, of course, that the patterns aren't completely free since libraries charge a nominal fee for copies.
If you've exhausted those resources, check with your beading friends and see if they have any older bead magazines they're willing to part with. Arrange a trade with a friend and purge some of your old, unwanted magazines in the process.
Like bead magazines, bead suppliers offer plenty of free tutorials and projects on their websites. Check some of your favorite bead suppliers' sites and look for a section devoted to free projects or patterns. Of course, most of these patterns use the suppliers' beads, but with a little creativity, you can apply the designs to the supplies you already have.
Sign up for bead suppliers' email newsletters, which often contain free bead jewelry patterns exclusive to subscribers.
Look for free pattern offers when you order supplies online, too. Sometimes suppliers run promotions for free jewelry patterns if you purchase a minimum dollar amount of supplies.
Bead bloggers -- and craft bloggers in general -- often share free tutorials on their sites. To make sure you don't miss one, follow your favorite bloggers.
If you're not sure where to start, check designs you've beaded in the past to see if the designers of those patterns have a blog. Ask bead-enthusiast friends to recommend their favorites to you. Browse social media for designers who inspire you. You may have to do some digging, but you'll find plenty of inspiration in the process.
Create Your Own Designs
Even beginner beaders can easily create their own bead designs.
Graph paper: Purchase graph paper at your local office supply store and chart your own designs using colored pencils.
Color palettes: Sometimes, simply changing the color palette of a design you already beaded can alter the project completely. Use patterns you own for inspiration, charting new palettes and bead placement to completely change it up.
Favorite technique: Use your favorite technique to create an original pattern. If you're a fan of brick stitch, for instance, try designing a beaded cuff that features the stitch prominently.
Replicate store-bought jewelry: Taking inspiration from expensive store-bought jewelry can be challenging but rewarding. Try to recreate the necklace you saw that costs hundreds of dollars or that bracelet that looks simple but costs an entire paycheck.
Ashley Little is a craft writer and editor who lives in the mountains of Asheville, North Carolina. Little is the author of Chunky Knits and a writer for Craftsy.com. She has her hands in all kinds of crafts, from sewing to knitting, crochet and any other DIY project she can find.