Adventures in gift giving: DIY jewelry

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Last month I wrote about Bead for Life, the colorful beads made from recycled paper by poverty stricken women in Uganda. I bought a bag of beads from the website with plans to make most of my holiday gifts this year. Yesterday, I did just that.

With high hopes of making a bunch of great bracelets for my friends, I walked into the Bead Boutique on 3rd Street thinking I would just buy some elastic or soft wire to string up all my beads, tying a little knot on the end and viola! It’s not that simple. It turns out there’s tons of different techniques that go into making even the most simple-looking accessory.


I ended up taking a “Basic Beading” class. The two-hour class is $45 and teaches you super useful skills on the basics of jewelry making. Even after my tutorial was up, they let me sit in the front of the store and work away at my bracelets all day long. I ended up with seven items made of a mixture of the Bead for Life beads and some fun vintage beads I bought at the boutique. Anything purchased the day you take a class is 10% off.

Throughout the day, crowds of people came through looking for ideas or supplies to create the holiday gifts they planned on making and giving. I sat in the front of my temporary “studio” feeling so clever and crafty. Check out my work above.

There are four classes: Basic Beading, Beginning Wire Wrapping, Intermediate Wire Wrapping and Silk Knotting. Call (323) 966-5880 for schedule and reservations.

Bead Boutique, 8313 West 3rd St., L.A., CA 90048

-- Melissa Magsaysay