I have a huge plethora of glass beads, from hand-blown larger pieces, to the tiny tiny little beads that are a total turd to string. I have every color of glass (and ceramic) beads imaginable, and I love to buy them at a cheap price. Here are my favorite places to shop for glass beads to get a great deal and selection.
eBay. My goodness, I love eBay. I can shop for glass beads for hours, and my favorite seller for glass beads since they have a great selection at an awesome price (and give discounts for multiple orders and ship immediately after payment) is dalghouse. I have purchased beads from them over a dozen times, and you can get beading accessories, such as string and hooks, as well.
Thrift stores. I love to peruse their hodge podge selection of necklaces, and often find a necklace strung full of antique glass beads or wooden beads that I just HAVE to buy and take apart so I can create something else. The necklaces typically go for less than a buck, and one person’s trash is certainly my treasure. I do the same thing at yard sales- if I see a necklace I like with a bunch of cool beads on it- score! It’s a great way to expand a bead collection and get antique or wooden beads for a super cheap price. You can even re-use the clasps that come with them.
I like Honk’s Dollar Store’s selection of beads as well. I’m surprised by the beading materials they also carry for a buck. On $.88 Tuesday I can go in and get a massive amounts of glass beads and strings for simple crafts at a tiny cost. Much cheaper than going to Michaels craft store for beads (although I love Michaels- you can’t get me out of that store), and a decent selection on both large and small crafting beads in a lot of cool colors.
Wal-Mart is OK- if you’re picky. I’m usually not too thrilled with their craft selection, but will browse their aisles for a basic bead if I just want to add onto my collection. Most of their glass beads are either huge pendant styles, or just a few beads in a pack, with the majority of their bulk beads being the tiny ones or plastic beads. Still, it’s worth a look-see now and then.
And of course, there’s always Joann Fabrics and Michaels for beading supplies and glass beads. If you shop in the discount section, often you can get great beading supplies and glass or ceramic beads at a decent price. I don’t go too often to these stores, because I too often wander and get hundreds of bucks worth of stuff, but the bead selections (and supplies offered) is super impressive. If you have control over your shopping impulses, these are the coolest stores for beads.
Oh, and don’t forget your local merchants as well. A lot of people sell beads for beaded watches, necklaces and other crafts locally for a fair price, if you are willing to buy in large bulk or dicker a little bit. I got a beaded watch kit for a dollar from a local seller just for the awesome purple beads. I gave the watch face to my sister and kept the beads for myself. Not too shabby of a deal.