Just Bead It!
Instead of buying a souvenir T-shirt to remember your trip, create something you'll actually wear, like a pendant necklace or a silver bracelet. These 10 bead shops host private parties that make for a great afternoon or evening out--just be sure to reserve in advance. Bring some snacks, a bottle of wine (to most), and get beading!
Brina Beads Parties for up to 10 people cost $500, which includes a $30-per-person credit toward materials. A cheaper alternative: The store is open until 9 P.M. on Thursdays, when for $5 (not including the materials), you can bring in drinks and learn basic projects. 3231 Cains Hill Pl. NW, 404/816-8230, brinabeads.com.
Nomadic Notions After a $50 fee, parties are $10 per person, with a minimum of six. That covers an instructor and the private space; materials are extra. 3010 W. Anderson Ln., 512/454-0001, nomadicnotions.com.
Beadworks Events are held Wednesdays after store hours (6 P.M.-8 P.M.). For $75 with a maximum of six guests, you'll get two instructors, a workspace, and tools (but not materials). Alcoholic drinks aren't allowed in the store. 167 Newbury St., 617/247-7227, beadworksboston.com.
Caravan Beads After a $50 fee, parties are $10 per person, with a minimum of three guests. The price includes an instructor and a private room for two hours, but not materials. No alcoholic beverages. 3361 N. Lincoln Ave., 773/248-9555, caravanchicago.com.
Wahine Beads Parties are held during store hours and cost $25 an hour for up to five people, not including materials. The entire store can be rented for $75 an hour. 8877 Venice Blvd., 310/841-2988, wahinebeads.com.
Bruce Frank Beads Classes start at $75 per person plus the cost of materials. Private parties start at $500, not including materials, with a six-person minimum. 215 W. 83rd St., 212/595-3746, brucefrankbeads.com.
BumbleBeads Parties are held in the store and cost $10 per person with no minimum number of guests. Materials aren't included. 7833 Germantown Ave., 215/247-1909, bumblebeadschestnuthill.com.
Bead World The store's Traditional Bead Party for novices is $30 per person with a minimum of four, and includes materials, an instructor, and tools. 6068 N. 16th St., 602/240-2323, beadworldinc.com.
Let It Bead Parties run $15 per person per hour, with a minimum of four guests. Materials are not included. There's a $100 deposit if you bring food or drinks into the store (refunded when everything is cleaned up post-party). 733 SW Alder St., 503/228-1882, letitbeadportland.com.
Beadissimo Book the entire store and an instructor for $200 with a minimum of six participants. You must spend an additional $25 per person on materials. Events are held 6:30 P.M.-9 P.M., after store hours. 1051 Valencia St., 415/282-2323, beadissimo.com.