Beading is an excellent way for teens to express their creativity. Although it is true that hand blown glass beads can be very expensive, you can make beading more affordable by searching for wooden or plastic beads. Taking apart thrift store jewelry to reuse the beads is another option for teens on a tight budget to consider.
Stretch cord jewelry is the most popular type of bead craft. No closures are necessary when making bracelets or necklaces with clear elastic stretch cord. Simply knot the cord together, add a dab of clear nail polish for extra reinforcement and trim off the excess cord with a pair of scissors. Teens who want to start working with wire in their beading projects can try making paper clip earrings. Use needle-nosed pliers to unbend a large metal paper clip. Curl the end of the paper clip into a small circle or a double spiral to keep the beads from falling off. Add one or two small beads. Bend the remaining wire around a purchased earring hook.
Key Chain and Bookmark
You can make beaded key chains with a technique that is similar to making the paper clip beaded earrings. Purchase key chain hoops at any craft store that sells jewelry making supplies. If desired, you could use a jump ring to add a decorative charm or a frame and that has a space for a tiny photo to the end of the key chain. Beaded bookmarks are a simple craft to make and you can customize it with a teen's school colors. Cut a length of ribbon 18- to 20-inches long. Tie a knot roughly three inches up one end of the ribbon. Add four to six beads. Tie a second knot to secure the beads. Place the flat end of the ribbon in the book to save your place. If you are worried about the ribbon fraying, add a dab of clear nail polish to each cut end of the bookmark.
Wire Photo Stand
Teens can use 18-gauge wire to construct a pretty wire stand for displaying a favorite photo. Start with a 12-inch length of wire. Bend it at a right angle in the middle. Wrap the bent portion around a glue stick or a large wooden dowel a few times to form a flat base for the photo stand. String a few colored beads on the wire. Curl the remaining portion of the wire into a double circle. Slip the photo into the circle.
A teen who enjoys redecorating her room might want to make a beaded wastebasket. Purchase a metal mesh wastebasket at a discount store. Tie a thin ribbon or leather cord around the top of the wastebasket. Add one bead to the cord before weaving it through the next hole in the mesh. Continue adding beads and weaving the cord until you are pleased with the result. Tie a knot to secure the cord. If desired, you can use this same technique to make coordinating desk accessories like a pencil cup or paper storage tray.