Wooden beads have been used by jewelry makers, and for the purpose of beading on garments for centuries. Many people think of the glass, porcelain, and ceramic beads when they are choosing items that will be long lasting, but do not over-look wooden beads if you want an item to last indefinitely.
When people think of wood they often think about the fact that wood has a tendency to deteriorate over time. The deterioration of wood is generally caused by exposure to the elements and not by the make-up of the material. Wooden beads can last a lifetime, or many lifetimes, if the material is properly prepared.
These crafting pieces can be made from very thin pieces of wood, or they can be made from thick pieces. If you want a bead that is harder to break then you want to get the thickest ones you can find. Thinner beads will be easier to break if they are dropped, stepped on, or sat on.
Wooden beads need to be coated with a protectant in order for them to last a really long time. This does not mean that you cannot have the natural look; it simply means that a sealer will need to be applied so the wood is not subjected to moisture in the air, or to the harsh rays of the sun.
You can apply paint to seal these wooden pieces, or a clear sealer. Most of the sealers will leave the pieces with a slight gloss. You can apply more layers of the clear sealers if you wish to have a higher amount of gloss on the pieces. You can also stain the wood before applying the sealer so that you get a color that you like.
If you own wood jewelry and it is starting to lose some of its glossy shine you can apply a coat of sealer to it and bring the shine back. As long as you can see the gloss on your wooden jewelry then it is protected from moisture in the air and will last a long time.
Ceramic beads, glass beads, and porcelain beads, are all much easier to damage than the wooden varieties are. Even plastic beads cannot have the same strength as a wooden one that has the exact same dimensions. By choosing to use wood pieces you get some of the strongest jewelry items, and the most durable items.
Wood pieces are less expensive than many of the other types of beading materials. Some beading crafters even make their own wooden pieces out of sticks they find in their own yards. You can take a small stick that is about one inch in diameter, skin the bark away to reveal the wood, drill a hole in it to accommodate the necklace chain, bake it to harden and dry it, and then seal it to make unique items that only cost a few pennies each.
Wood is a great material to use in crafting because it is natural, it is hypo-allergenic, durable, and reasonably priced.