Illinois Bead Stores

I have compiled a directory of Bead Stores in the State of Illinois.  This directory includes all the stores outside of the Chicago Area. For Greater Chicago area stores please see (insert link here)

I wish to help support these local bead stores as many bead lovers agree its more fun to buy beads they can see rather than order online viewing just pictures – color and finish are so important to beaded creations!

If you’ve been to one of these local bead stores of Illinois please leave a comment with a review about the store.  What is their focus? What makes them an awesome bead store to visit?

Big Time Beads522036_10151611052638885_1171809439_n
1810 N Illinois St, Belleville, IL 62226, (618) 277-2425


Cottingtree Bead

208 N 14th St, Herrin, IL 62948, (618) 988-2389

5245ace6d643b-imageGarden of Beadin
901 S Eldorado Road Bloomington, IL, (309) 664-6000



I Bella Beads
770 N New Ballas Rd, St. Louis, MO 63141, (314) 567-1928


La Bead Oh

1500 South 6th Street Springfield, IL 62703, (217) 544-8473


Pumpkin Glass
5901 N Prospect Rd #4, Peoria, IL 61614,  309-966-3495



The Bead Place
5500 N Illinois St, Fairview Heights, IL 62208

(618) 222-0772


Rustic River Finds
109 N Main St, Galena, IL 61036, (815) 776-0043



SouthPass Beads
203 E Ash St, Cobden, IL 62920, (618) 893-6170

Craft Kits
8 Chatham Cir, Kankakee, IL 60901 (815) 935-2552


Please note that I try to keep my lists up-to-date but stores are always changing so call ahead before you visit. If you have any additional information, corrections, or know of other beads stores please post in the comments! Thanks!

Lists and more lists…..

I’ve been absent from blogging for too long. I got out of the habit and had a hard time getting back into it.  So here goes I’m going to try again and promise to post regularly!

listing-clipart-shopping-listI LOVE lists!  I love organizing and one of my favorite tools is list making.  I have a bad reputation with my family for making “piles” – I like to help others clean up their clutter whether they like it or not, its an impulse!  I see posts of jewelry makers with very messy desks that they love to work in and helps their creative energy flow and I want to come over to their house and organize it for them so they have some space to work in! As  I work best in a tidy environment I probably spend too much time organizing and not enough creating.

jewelryI’ve begun to make lists of links that have helped me learn the art of jewelry making.  I have a list for every category:  sites with great jewelry patterns, references to help buy the right supplies, inspiring jewelry designers etc.  I suggest using Pinterest, Google Keep, and Evernote to keep track of bookmarks, projects lists, creative ideas, inspirations. I share these lists with you so that you can easily reference and learn from these sites as well.    I hope they will help beginning beaders get started and experienced beaders find more sources of inspiration!

These are just my favorites sites for jewelry making resources and bead patterns- there are lots and lots of beading websites out there and it would be impossible to include them all. I’ll be adding more blog posts with good resource lists too. So if your favorite isn’t on the list please comment and let me know  why its your favorite!

Jewelry Making Resources

All Free Jewelry Making
Jewel Info
Gano Skin Project 
Beading Times 
About Jewelry Making 
Jewelry Lessons

Bead Patterns

ACL Patterns & More 
Arleen Hardin 
Czech Beads Exclusive 
Lisa Yang Jewelry
Magpie Gemstones
Mirrix Looms
Deb Roberti’s Around The Beading Table
Bead Jewelry Making
3D Beading Patterns
Jaycee Patterns
The Heart Beading
Linda’s Crafty Inspirations
Off The Beading Path 
Turn the Bead Around 
The Bead Book
Sova Enterprises
Silver Hill Design 

Jewelry Making Magazines

Bead Style
Rock and Gem 
Laura Zeiner 
Simply Beads Kit Club 
Beading Daily
Bead And Button

Learning Even Count Peyote: Wavy American Flag Bracelet

The wavy American Flag Bracelet is a great beginner’s project for bead weavers! This project will teach you flat even count peyote stitch, following a pattern, starting/stopping your thread.  Potomac Beading Company has put together an easy to follow video tutorial for The Wavy American Flag Bracelet.

When learning a new stitch I like to practice the stitch first and then complete a project to cement what I learned.  First, I suggest Jill Wiseman’s Flat Even Count Peyote Video and practicing with a larger size bead like  8 /0’s or square beads. Make a few rows until you are comfortable with the stitch. Remember that starting is the hardest part and it will be wonky until you are at least 4 rows into the stitch. Next make sure you understand how to add and end thread in peyote stitch and that you understand how to follow the thread path when you do so.  Again, Jill Wiseman has a great video – Adding and Ending Thread in Peyote Stitch.

Another important point to note. As a beginner I was hesitant to invest in some of the quality brand items every bead weaver will tell you to get – good needles, thread, and quality beads. I figured I could practice with the ‘cheap’ stuff and then upgrade later when I was proficient and knew I would keep at bead weaving. But, I learned (as many of us do) using lesser quality supplies will only frustrate you!  So go ahead and get the Tulip Needles, the Fireline Thread, and the quality seed beads. I promise it will be easier to learn and its worth it!

My first try at this project took me several attempts. I found I had missed beads and had to tear out half the project to fix the mistake. Then my starting/stopping thread didn’t hold and it fell apart.  But, this is all normal and part of the learning curve.  Once you master this you will be able to move on to even grander projects!

Making the Wavy American Flag Bracelet
Making the Wavy American Flag Bracelet

Its a fantastic piece to wear for patriotic holidays! You will get many compliments and people awe struck that you put every little bead onto it. For bonus points make sure you learn to create the toggle clasp too!

A Can’t Miss Local Event for Bead Lovers!

Highland Park Art CenterSo glad that Bodacious Beads informed me of the upcoming Ayla’s Originals Bead Show and that it was a can’t miss event for bead lovers in the area. So this Sunday my husband and I got in the car and braved the traffic despite carmaggedon construction work on the Jane Byrne Interchange and headed north to the Highland Park Art Center.

Ayla's Originals Bead ShowAyla’s Wonderful World of Beads Show  is similar to the Bead & Button Show but with mostly local vendors coming together for a bead bazaar.  There were 18 vendors offering a wide selection of supplies including buttons, gemstones, pearls, findings, crystals, chain, kits, leather etc.  The Show is a great size as you could thoroughly admire and look over everything without being too overwhelmed or pressured by time constraint.

The fair also included  gorgeous lamp work glass artists offering handmade glass art beads and jewelry.  Jewelry designers were in attendance selling jewelry including wire work, chainmaille, soldered glass art, casting, and lampwork glass pieces.

Ayla’s Originals
Cynthia McEwen Design
Dakota Stones Enterprises
Diane Tarullo
Elka Designs
Hobo Glass
Ken’s Tribal
Kina Denton
Maike’s Marvels
Medusa’s Stones
Midwest Maille
Mostly Buttons
Nina’s Gem
Ovington Glass Studio
Silk Road Treasures
String-a-Strand on Wells
The Reith collection
Two Charming Chix

I happily found some great supplies I was looking for.  I got some gorgeous Aquamarine which is my birthstone, crystals, and findings.  I wish the fair had offered more seed beads. But, I did find a wonderful vendor offering some seed beads from her large stash for a low price. Can’t wait for the next show!

BeadStashBead Stash 2

Do It Yourself Bead Board

BeadSmith Flocked Bead Board
BeadSmith Flocked Bead Board

A Beading Board or Beading Mat is essential for any beader and especially for bead weavers.  For bead stringers I suggest picking up a floced bead board which can be found in  any craft store. They allow you to lay out your designs in measured ridges.  These Bead Boards are also great for sorting beads which many of us are guilty of spending  way too much time on – instead of actually making something with our precious beads.

For those who love tiny seed beads and bead weaving you will need a different kind of Bead Board that is flat surface that will not allow your beads to roll off of.  There are many choices out there,  however if you are crafty you probably like the idea of making one yourself.  And my Bead Board cost under $10 to make!  All you need is a frame, fabric, and some tape or glue.  There are some key things to think of when choosing your supplies to make your own bead board. 1)  The frame you choose should have rounded corners so the thread does not catch.  2) The mat should be made out of a soft fabric that provides friction for beads but does not pill. I chose a Beadalon Bead Mat others suggest finding velux at a fabric store.  3) The frame size should be big enough for your projects but keep it portable.  4) The frame should have enough of a ridge to keep the beads from rolling off the mat.

Kullsta Ikea Frame
Kullsta Ikea Frame

For my Bead Board, I found the Kullsta Frame at Ikea. Its a perfect find since it has round corners and the frame itself is rounded as well.   It was on clearance at the time and unfortunately is no longer available at Ikea. But it is selling on Amazon & Ebay.  If Ikea only knew the market they are missing out on selling to with those frames!!

I then purchased a Beadalon Bead Mat from my a craft store, will have them in stock in the jewelry making section. I placed  the “glass” of the Kullsta Frame (actually a plastic sheet) on the center of the Beadalon Bead Mat and traced around it with a pencil.  Then I cut the Beadalon Bead Mat but an inch bigger than the trace.  Next using masking tape to secure it I wrapped the bead mat around the the plastic sheet – making sure it is as tight as possible.   Alternatively, you could use glue to affix the mat to the plastic sheet.  Snap it back into the frame and you are done!

DIY Bead Board
DIY Bead Board

I really enjoy my DIY Bead Board, it is the perfect size for the  projects I work on. I have enough room to lay out my beads while also having enough room to lay the piece out as I work.  The inside length of the frame is 7 inches which is the size of most bracelets. I have thought of marking one side with ruler markings. It is also very portable and can be taken anywhere – even Jury Duty! I love it so much I made two!

I do not remember exactly where I saw the specific idea for my bead board however I do know it was in one of the fantastic Facebook beading groups I am a  member of. I wish I could give credit to the person who originally came up with the idea.

Becoming a Beadweaver!

I got started as a bead weaver after finally finishing a bead kit I had bought many years back at a big box store. It was a basic spiral rope pattern although it did not explain that….I had a lot of fun  figuring out how to complete the kit, despite its vague instructions. After it was finished I was hooked on bead weaving.

Directions to Spiral Rope Kit
Directions to Spiral Rope Kit

Bead weaving is fascinating to me as it is like solving a puzzle – but once the puzzle is solved you have a beautiful piece of jewelry to wear! I have taken my jewelry making skills and designs up a step from just stringing and wire-work to creating intricate woven pieces with tiny seed beads that come in so many shapes, sizes, colors and finishes. The tiny beads are addictive and I want all of them!

Spiral Rope by KT Vogue Designs
Spiral Rope by KT Vogue Designs

I am teaching myself the following list of off-loom bead weaving stitches by making a jewelry piece using each one. So far I have learned peyote, herringbone, spiral herringbone, RAW,   and look forward to sharing each of those projects with you. Each stitch or pattern I learn allows me to realize how the thread path will change the position and pattern of the beads.  I hope someday I will be able to create my own designs by combining the stitches.

A list of essential off-loom bead weaving stitches.
There is more beyond that too – bead crochet, bead embroidery, and loom!

For beginners to bead weaving, I suggest starting as I did with a simple spiral rope as it is an easy pattern to follow and only requires 2 or 3 colors of seed beads.  This project familiarizes beaders with working with a thread and needle, holding tension, and stopping and starting your thread.  Adding a simple toggle clasp is easy to learn on a spiral rope, just remember reinforcing the thread is important to durability.  The next stitch to learn is definitely peyote stitch which is a highly versatile stitch and once mastered you will find it easy to learn the rest.

Tulip Dangles

This year I finally made it to the Bead & Button Show in Milwaukee and had a blast!!  My husband and I made a day trip up to Milwaukee (my college town) and walked the floor of the market then enjoyed a delicious Wisconsin Style Dinner in the Third Ward. He was one of maybe 20 men walking around the convention floor but had just as much fun looking at the beads, gemstones, kilns, wire, tools, and polymer clay as I did.  I was really there to just take it all in and see what it was like and what I enjoyed the most.

From Jill Wiseman's Shop
From Jill Wiseman’s Shop

I’m slowly working on making jewelry with my fabulous purchases and these lovely  dangly tulip earrings were the first to be completed. I was immediately taken with  Gardanne Beads enamel metal beads when I walked by her booth. I had recently viewed Jill Wiseman’s Tiny Tulip Earrings Video and had been wanting to make a similar pair of earrings. I was unable to locate the metal findings at the show but then I saw Anne Gardanne’s tulip shaped beads I was even more thrilled. They were the right size and came in different colors!  I picked out a pair of tulip shaped enamel metal beads with pink and blue hues.

Tulip Dangle Earrings

I was easily able to find complimenting supplies in my bead stash to make the earrings.  I used Czech fire-polished glass beads in cornflower blue and pink, copper Myuki glass seed beads,  and Swarovski crystal bicones in navy blue fro the dangles. I  placed the beads on copper head pins to create the dangle from within the center of the tulip bead.

I love what can be created from multiple sources of inspiration! I feel fabulous and creative when I wear them!

A Happy Caterpillar Bracelet

I was browsing beading tutorials on YouTube and came across this fun bracelet pattern “Beaded Fur Bracelet” by Svetlana McDaniel
Even though she speaks a different language than English it is very easy to follow and learn the pattern.  Of course she probably gives you some tips that are important. So I’d like to share what I would do different when I make this pattern again – which I plan to do because it is so easy and comes out stunning!

This is a pretty simple pattern and the basic concept is diagrammed at the beginning very well. The basic pattern uses 3 seed beads to make a ring or base of the bracelet and then 5 seed beads make the “fur” or rings of the bracelet. As you are weaving make sure to keep your circles on the outside of the ring. Per usual beadweaving Always keep your tension tight. It doesn’t have to be perfect – if you miss a bead or add a bead this pattern is very forgiving.

Make sure to measure often as you go so you have an even sides as the pattern widens as you go. The tutorial is for a 15cm or 6in long bracelet. The following chart is found in the video and is very helpful. adjust the increasing to decreasing width of the pattern accordingly for sizing.

0-5cm = 5xSB
5-6.5cm = 7xSB
6.5-7cm = 9SB
7-8cm = 11xSB
8-9.5cm = 9xSB
9.5-10cm = 7xSB
10-15cm = 5xSB

The best part of this bracelet is that you can use almost any type of seed bead, even the “cheapie” ones you bought at the big box craft store before you knew better that quality matters. It even makes them shine!

Chicago Area Glass Art Studios

Chicago Proper

Ignite Glass Studios
401 N Armour St
Chicago, IL 60642
(312) 465-2389

Chicago Hot Glass Inc
1250 N Central Park Ave
Chicago, IL 60651
(773) 394-3252

Fredrick Stained Glass
4308 N Pulaski Rd
Chicago, IL 60641
(773) 725-2218

4401 N Ravenswood Ave
Chicago, IL 60640
(773) 769-4226

Talisman Glass
469 N Racine Ave
Chicago, IL 60642
(312) 455-9555

Chicago Mosaic School
1806 W Cuyler Ave
Chicago, IL 60613
(773) 975-8966

Chicago Glass Collective
1770 W Berteau Ave #203-B
Chicago, IL 60613
(216) 543-2329

Shatter Glass Group,Inc.
3400 N Knox Ave
Chicago, IL 60641
(312) 860-5454

Glass Art Designs
1807 W Sunnyside Ave
Chicago, IL 60640
(773) 297-5975

Everlasting Fire Studio
5036 N Lincoln Ave
Chicago, IL 60625
(773) 728-2071

Chicago Suburbs

Affinity Studios
1665 Quincy Ave #171
Naperville, IL 60540
(630) 587-2700

Brickton Gallery & Art Center
306 Busse Hwy
Park Ridge, IL 60068
(847) 823-6611

Gallery’s Choice Art and Stained Glass
926 Warren Ave
Downers Grove, IL 60515
(630) 969-5660

Prodigy Glassworks
1117 Clarence Ave
Oak Park, IL 60304
(708) 445-8000

TLD Design Center & Gallery
26 E Quincy St
Westmont, IL 60559
(630) 963-9573

Wildfire Productions: Glass Art Studio
4907 Western Ave
Downers Grove, IL 60515
(630) 272-2108

If I have left any off this list please add it in the comments section! Thx!

Chicago Area Bead Stores

I have compiled a directory of Bead Stores in the Chicago Area  hat includes the city, suburbs and northwest Indiana.  I wish to help support these local bead stores as many bead lovers agree its more fun to buy beads they can see rather than order online viewing just pictures – color and finish are so important to beaded creations!   My goal is to eventually visit each bead store and write a short review so local bead lovers will have a quick reference of where to find the supplies they are looking for!


485 Main St
Glen Ellyn, IL 60137


1649 Montgomery Rd # 9
Aurora, IL 60504


3960 N Elston Avenue
Chicago, IL


1127 W Granville Avenue
Chicago, IL 60660

AVP Jewelry has 2  locations on Chicago’s North West & East sides in the neighborhoods of Irving Park and Rogers Park.  The stores carry a selection of seed beads, czech glass strands, gemstones, tools. They also offer classes and jewelry repair. Their goal is to “keep our shops feeling like a paradise of jewelry and beads for all of our amazing customers.” I visited their Irving Park location the store is organized and clean and the staff  were very friendly and helpful!

1511 Sherman Ave
Evanston, IL 60201

Ayla’s Originals is located in the Northeast suburb of Chicago of Evanston which is also the home of Northwestern University. I have yet to visit the store but visited their booth at the Bead & Button Show.  Ayla’s had a nice selection of pearls and seed beads.  I am anxious to make my trip up their soon.


1127 W Granville Avenue
Chicago, IL

Sad news for the beginning of the year. Blue Buddha Boutique has announced it is closing its doors.  Go to their website for sale announcements to help ease the pain of closing. Not sure about AVP Jewelry #2 which shares this location with Blue Buddha Boutique.

145 Harrison St
Oak Park, IL 60304

1937 W Division St
Chicago, IL 60622

Beadniks is located on the west side of Chicago in the trendy neighborhood of Wicker Park.  Beadniks’ focus is on stringing and carries expensive gemstones, pearls, crystal strands, metallic beads, and unique fun items. It has a definite Asian & African theme and decor.   They have a very limited section for beadweavers and their small seed bead offering is not labeled.

8 S Brockway St
Palatine, IL 60067
(847) 776-2323

Bead World is located near downtown Palatine which  is a Northwest Suburb of Chicago about an hour away from downtown.  The store is packed full of dust covered semi precious stones, Swarovski Crystal, freshwater pearls, wood, bone, and other natural material beads, Czech glass beads , Vintage German Beads,  and fiber optic beads. Other services  offered include  body piercing, jewelry repair, and watch repair.  The store is cluttered so go in with a good idea of what you are looking for or be prepared to be overwhelmed.  I caution against using your cell phone while in the store or be prepared for a discussion about it.


7220 W Benton Dr
Frankfort, IL 60423


Naperville, IL 60540

This store has unfortunately closed/moved and only offers online sales now.


134.5 E Lincoln Hwy.
DeKalb, IL 60115


1942 S River Rd
Des Plaines, IL 60018

Bodacious Beads lives up to its name in that it has a fantastic selection of all kinds of beads  The small  is located near O’hare Airport off of I-90 in a strip mall with tight parking, but it makes great use of the space it has but is very organized and not cluttered.  The store  is packed with seed beads, Swarovski crystals, czech glass, findings, strands of gemstones, pearls, daggers, African trade beads etc.  The staff was very helpful and friendly and most importantly shares a love of beads. I can’t wait to go back!


491 Roosevelt Rd
Glen Ellyn, IL 60137

3928 North Rockwell Street
Chicago Illinois 60619

I have yet to visit City Beads but I have been told they have an open beading on Tuesday’s Afternoons and plan to go soon.  Make sure to call ahead as their hours vary.


1799 St Johns Ave
Highland Park, IL 60035


700 W Burlington Ave
La Grange, IL 60525

1098 S Milwaukee Ave
Wheeling, IL 60090

Found out about this under-advertised store when I saw Elka Design at the Ayla’s Wonderful World of Beads Show.  At the show she had tables and tables of irresistible gemstones, crystals, findings, leather etc.  I look forward to visiting the show room soon.


225 West Northwest Highway
Palatine, IL 60067

Facets of Isis is located in a cozy cottage style store front in the Northwest Suburb of Palatine.  As you walk in you feel like you are walking into you neighbors living room to enjoy some coffee and chat.  The store is FULL of everything a beadweaver dreams of: Swarovski crystals; Delica beads; Seed beads including Miyuki; Firepolished glass; Czech glass; Venetian glass foil beads; Natural stone and semi-precious beads; Lampwork glass,  Sterling silver, Gold filled, and Base metal beads and findings; and Fresh water pearls.  Everything is in pristine condition – organized, neat, and clean.   They also offer fabulous classes.

515 South La Grange Road
La Grange, IL 60525


103 E Morthland Dr #1
Valparaiso, IN 46383

Sadly the owner has announced that this lovely store will be closing soon. SO hurry in for sales and classes in the next couple of months before its closed for good. Imagine Beads is located in Northwest Indiana a good hour trip from the city.  However the store is very friendly and offers a great selection of beadweaving supplies.

1035 Havens Ct
Downers Grove, IL 60515

JBC Beads is located in the basement of an old office building just behind the busy corner of Main Street & Ogden Avenue in Downers Grove.  JBC Beads focus is on wholesale but the store is open to the public.  They offer 50% off of a $200 order or more that extends 60 days.  The store is very well lit to let all the Swarovski crystals, pearls, and gemstones sparkle and shine.  They also have a very good selection of findings.  The store offers classes as well.


123 N Waukegan Rd
Lake Bluff, IL 60044

4632 N Lincoln Ave
Chicago, IL 60625

1361 N Wells Street
Chicago, IL 60610

String A Strand is located in Chicago’s historic Old Town Neighborhood.  Its focus is semi-precious gems, 14 karat gold filled and sterling silver findings, chains, natural coral, vintage beads, crystal for stringing jewelry.  They offer jewelry making classes and parties.

28566 N Ballard Dr # C
Lake Forest, IL 60045


816 Waukegan Rd
Deerfield, IL 60015

141 Center St
Grayslake, IL 60030


112 W Main St
Griffith, IN 46319



7519 Madison Street
Forest Park, IL 60130

*Please let me know in the comments if I am missing any stores, any stores are closed, or if I have listed any at home businesses not open to the public. Thank you.