Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Buy the Beads, or Buy the Kit??

I read a most interesting article a couple days ago on Beading Daily, about the merits of purchasing a kit of beads for a tutorial, versus hunting down all the individual beads needed for yourself. The article mentioned several benefits, including time savings, not having to own and store leftover extra beads, one stop shopping, and cost.

Maybe it makes a difference if you already own a huge number of beads.  I certainly do, but I also find several $20 - $50 trips to the bead store are part of every project I undertake.  It seems no matter how many I have, the right one is missing.

I ran a little test this evening, on my most recent kit.   The kit for "Rose Hips" is very complex, with 20 different beads involved, some of which are discontinued by the manufacturer.  Holy cow, it was a LOT of counting and weighing!


In my test, I pretended I was a beader in my own city, with access to two great local bead stores with large inventory, were I do most of my shopping.   I used retail pricing for what I hope is the smallest packaging available, and shopped locally, at the fewest possible stops.  I did order a few things online, but did not count the shipping costs.

I expected that the kit, at $60, would likely cost about the same as the beads, and other supplies included in the kit.  But boy was I wrong.  Purchased separately, the beads cost more than twice as much, $141.84.

Material Name Grams or Pcs per Kit Source Packaged Amount Cost

A Dark  Bead Aiko #617
3.50
Bobby Bead 14  gr Tube
8.65

B Dark Bead Miyuki # 306 Transparent Luster Olive Gold 11/0
4.50
Stormcloud Trading 30 gr Tube
6.95

C Bead All Colors Miyuki  # 465 24k Gold 15/0
1.80
Stormcloud Trading 10 gram Tube
21.95

D Bead Dk & Med Miyuki #143B Transparent Olivene 15/0 
0.80
Stormcloud Trading 30 gr Tube
2.75

E Bead Dark Toho #167 Olive Green Matte Metallic 8/0
2.50
Bobby Bead 14 gr Box
4.50

E Rainbow  w/E Too #2631F Glazed Rainbow Iguana 8/0 2 pcs Bobby Bead 14 gr Box
4.50
Only 2 pieces needed
Aa Bead Medium Delica #1135 Opaque Dk Olive
2.20
Stormcloud Trading 5 gr Tube
2.75

Bb Bead Medium  Toho #1007 Metallic Lined Olive Luster 11/0
4.20
Bobby Bead 14 gr Tube
3.25
Discontinued
Ee Bead Medium Miyuki #411 Dark Olive 8/0 
1.30
Stormcloud Trading 30 gr Tube
2.75

Aaa Bead Light Aiko #1610F Moss Matte Opaque
1.30
Bobby Bead 5 gr Box
11.50

Bbb Bead Light Matsuno #356H Lined Rainbow Olivene/Tan
2.50
Stormcloud Trading 30 gr Tube
2.95

Ddd Bead Light Beads By Dee Unknown Peridot Transparent 15/0
0.20
Beads by Dee 15 gr Box
2.00
Guesstimated cost
Eee Bead Light Toho #2011 Ancient Light Green Matte Opaque 8/0
1.50
Bobby Bead 14 gr Box
3.85

F Coral 9x5 Rice Coral  17 pcs Bobby Bead 50 piece Strand
10.00
Special ordered
G Rondelles Red Czech Rondel 11 pcs  Bobby Bead 100 piece Strand
3.15

H Stringing 6/0 Dk Toho #617 Olive Green Metallic Matte 6/0 12 pcs Bobby Bead 14 gr Box
4.90

J 6mm Czech FP Unknown Color 16 pcs Papio Gems 25 piece Strand
1.00
Discontinued
K Miyuki 11/0 24K Miyuki  #191 24k Gold 11/0 40 pcs Caravan Beads 5 gr Tube
11.25

L 4mm Czech FP 4mm Czech Olivine Snakeskin Fire Polish 8 pcs Prairie Flower Beads 50 piece Strand
4.00

M Czech Drop Czech Drop Bead 5x8 12 pcs Prairie Flower Beads
0.12
7.00
Discontinued
Clasp Gold Plate Toggle & Loop 1 set Stormcloud Trading Pkg of 10 sets
2.95

4 Soldered Rings 4mm Soldered Ring Gold Plated 2 pcs Stormcloud Trading Pkg of 10 pcs
2.25

4x6 Oval Jump R 4x6mm Oval Jump Rings 4 pcs Stormcloud Trading Pkg of 100 pcs
3.95

Nylon Core Stren 50# Test 12" E-Bay 100 yd Spool
3.99
Limited Supply
Thread One-G Thread 1 spool Bobby Bead 50 yd Spool
3.75

Spring Clamp Beadalon Bead Stoppers 2 pcs Amazon 20 piece pkg
13.95





 Total Materials Cost
141.84


Now there were two big ticket items, the spring clamps, and the 15/0 24k gold plated Miyuki rocailles.  But even if we assume that I could have found either or both in smaller quantity, the kit is still looking like a great deal.  Also, there are sales at Bobby Bead, so if I didn't mind waiting for what I needed to go on sale, and buying some this week, and some more the next, money could be saved.

Substituting beads would be a challenge, because the hues and values in the leaves are pretty tightly controlled and each one depends on the others.  I did many samples to come up with combinations that worked.


Just to illustrate the point...


And then, there's the fact that some of the beads in the kit have been discontinued by the manufacturer, making them a challenge to hunt down and purchase.

Note to self, before deciding to write a tutorial, and kit a project, it might be best to have everything needed on hand.  Sigh, learning curve.  Perhaps simpler would be best, but as a designer, this is what I like to do.

SO...  before you think kits are expensive, and before you think you can find everything you need for yourself, consider my little test above.  It surprised me.  Did it surprise you too?  


7 comments:

  1. Not surprised, I've been very happy with the kits I've bought so far. If a project just needs a limited number of types and colours I tend to buy the beads or pick something from my stash, but as soon as you get into special beads or findings the kits seem a great way to go. This is lovely but I already have my next three projects lines up and have my eye on your dragon.

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    1. Tish, I totally agree, if there are just a few beads needed for a project, or if there are a wide variety of color combinations that would work, then the kit is much less necessary. I've been thinking about re-kitting a dragon in spring colors. Better get on that! Thanks for reading and commenting!

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  2. Interesting! Thank you for taking the time to write about this.

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    1. My pleasure Diana. I was intrigued by the Beading Daily article, and then someone posted on my page, something to the effect that kits were overpriced... So it got me to thinking, and I was surprised by the outcome myself!

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  3. No not surprising. But often times the kits don't come in a color combo that I like. I may want coral and gold leaves with fuchsia berries to match the blouse I just purchased and I would rather look for the beads myself.

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    1. It is just for that reason that I usually sell a kit, but also the tutorial can be purchased by itself. More power to you! I love to see what people can do with my designs, whether it is what I intended, or not. :) Thanks for reading and commenting!

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  4. Great blog post!

    I knew that the kits would save me money but my decision to purchase kits came from the frustration of not finding the beads listed in alot of patterns. I started noticing designers most of the time using the new 2-holed or specialty beads coming out, and i was getting frustrated from the hours spent trying to find the size, color or style of the bead needed and often coming up empty, or settling for a color that wasnt quite right.

    One day my husband asked me, "Why do you bead when you are frustrated alot from the hours spent trying to find the beads needed?" That is when I bought my first kit. I was so happy- I spent just 15 min deciding on a kit; no frustration at all. The money saved is a huge bonus, and i dont have to find storage for the extras :)

    I still purchase patterns but i'm limiting my bead shopping to my stash....at least for a while:)

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