Product Reviews

5 New Beading Books That Would Make A Wonderful Gift - Kumihimo, Soutache, Metal Clay And More!

8:00 AM

It is the season of gift giving. I have 5 books that I'd like to share with you today. Maybe you can hint around to a loved one that you'd like a copy or maybe you can buy two copies and give one to a friend. Then, you can pick a project to complete together. Wouldn't that be fun! The best gifts do come with an experience!

by Rebecca Ann Combs

I have had the good fortune of spending time in Rebecca's bead store in Tucson, Arizona as a teacher. I've seen first hand how knowledgeable her customers are due to her non-stop class schedule. It was no surprise to me that I would love her book. Kumihimo is something that I have been exploring more and more with Soft Flex beading wire. So, it is perfect timing to have a book in hand with some new pattern ideas that I can try. Are you familiar with kumihimo? It is "fast, relaxing, portable and offers endless possibilities." Basically, you are creating braids using a round board with notches in it. The basic foam board is inexpensive and you can really use almost any thread, fiber or wire that you like. So the start up cost is minimal. I think that this book coupled with a Kumihimo board would make a wonderful gift!

by Amee K. Sweet-Mcnamara

I shared a Jewel School appearance with Amee. She was wonderfully candid and very passionate about what she could do with soutache. I enjoyed spending time with her. At the time, her book was in the editing process, but I could see just how excited she was for it to come out. Soutache is so colorful and fun and therefore this book looks beautiful! The projects just jump right off the page. "Inside you'll find: 18 detailed projects for beginners to intermediate stitchers, each demonstrating a new technique or design idea, a thorough basics section with techniques for working with soutache and a beautiful gallery of the author's work to inspire your own creativity." Are you familiar with soutache? "Soutache is a braid made up of fine fibers wrapped figure-eight style around two cords." So soutache is actually the material used and this books shows you several ways of using it. By stitching various colors and adding beads, you can make some really amazing designs. This is another good beginner start up gift as it doesn't require any major tools to get started. This book paired with some soutache cord would make a perfect gift!

by Kristal Wick

I've only dabbled in metal clay at a CHA show but have never tried it at my own work desk. I love to learn new things, so I enjoyed reading through this particular book. "Kristal will show you how to: select the metal clay, materials, and tools you need to get started, condition, sculpt, form, fire, and finish metal clay, create your own custom findings, beads, and components from metal clay, make 23 fabulous beading projects combining metal clay and beads and much more!" I must say that I am intrigued by the idea of making my own findings and components. I think that I'd really enjoy trying this sometime. I love that this book includes a lot of pictures so that you can clearly see what is happening the project. I definitely learn through pictures better than text. If you know a more advanced jewelry maker who is looking for a new technique with a different material, this book is right up their alley.

by Kaska Firor

I get asked all of the time about wire wrapping a cabachon or found item that doesn't have a hole. I was pleased to see a book that showcases some options for this problem. "You'll learn how to: work with five different wire weaves: over-over weave, over-under weave, coiling, circular weave, and looping, complete 20 beautiful step-by-step projects designed to showcase those weaves, including a 'design your own' challenge pendant, and construct  and finish each piece with professional results, following the comprehensive basics." I particularly enjoyed Chapter 1 which showcased the various weaves used within the book. It made me want to break out my Soft Flex craft wire and weave a baby bird nest! If you or a loved one are into using craft wire, this is a great book for learning new techniques to pursue a more complex design.

by Marcia DeCoster

I'm fidgety! I love jewelry that I can fidget with - especially if I am nervous. This book has some very creative and beautiful designs that actually "spin, sway, swing and slide." I would wear every project in this book. I do have to admit, this book is more of an advanced seed beading book. Even with my many years of experience in beading, I would be a little intimidated to try some of these projects. However, there are wonderful step-by-step drawings that I think could guide just about anyone through accomplishing a project. The final result would definitely be something that you would cherish and wear regularly.

Blog contributor Sara Oehler (the original SoftFlexGirl) is the Sales and Marketing Manager for Soft Flex Company. Find her on facebook or her blog. She'd love to hear from you! So, please feel free to leave comments or email her at

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