If you're interested in making very many of the critters I've posted here on my blog, or the over 1400 patterns on my website, you might be wondering, "Where can I find all these colors of beads?"
A trip to the craft store reveals that there are not very many colors available in the 6x9mm pony beads--maybe 8-10 colors at the most. And if you want 4x7mm mini pony beads, there are even fewer choices. Most stores will have only 1 or 2 colors, or maybe an assortment, if they have anything at all in that size.
So what's a beadie critter fanatic to do?
I did a little poking around today to see what was out there. There are several stores that carry a variety of colors in the regular (6x9mm) pony beads, the mini (4x7mm) pony beads, or both. Here is a listing of just a few:
http://www.bolekscrafts.com/ Bolek's Crafts has the largest selection (70 colors) of pony beads in both regular and mini sizes. Made in the USA, and better quality than the ones you see in stores. Their site is more than a little hokey, and there is no online ordering, but I've gotten my beads from them for years and never had a problem. $.60 for 75 beads, $3.60 for 1000, in the regular size. (To find the pony beads--click on "Click Here to See Our Online Catalog" then scroll down until you see the words "Need Pony Beads?" You'll see the listing for regular-size pony beads there. To get to the mini pony bead listing, look for "More Pony Beads" toward the top of this page.
http://www.makingfriends.com/ has 20 colors of Darice beads in single-color packs of 720 for $2.99, and mixed packs of 1000 for the same price. Only a mixed bag of the mini size. Also has stars, hearts, and magic beads. This site also has more patterns for beadie critters, all free!
http://www.shipwreckbeads.com/catalog/Beads/Plastic-Beads/Pony-Beads/ has over 50 colors of 6x9mm pony beads available, as well as hearts, stars and magic beads (that change color in the sun). You can get a package of 500, 1000, 4000, or 10000 of one color. 500 costs $2.95 and 1000 is $4.35. They have a showroom in Lacey, Washington, where you can go and buy beads and other things, if you live in the area.
http://www.craftsuppliesforless.com/kidscraftsupplies_ponybead.html This site has about 20 colors of what looks like Darice Beads, as well as several color assortments, and magic beads. Most beads are $3.75 for a bag of 720 to 1000. They have larger quantity bags as well.
http://kwikcrafts.com/ Another site with a nice selection of regular-size pony beads, $3.99 for 720 in a single color. A small selection of mini pony beads, in assortment packages.
http://www.ebay.com/ A search for Pony Beads will find several choices. One of them is chellynk2's store where she offers a bag of 100 single-color 6x9mm pony beads for $1.25 (but $1.75 shipping for the first package, $.40 for additional bags on the same order). She has a nice selection of colors and some that Bolek's doesn't have.
http://www.etsy.com/shop/KandyLand?ref=seller_info Kandyland offers some truly unique pony bead colors, including frosted pony beads, in the 6x9mm size. She also has skull, halloween, crown-shaped, and other pony beads. Her prices are a little on the high side, $3-4 for a bag of 100 pony beads, but her unique offerings might make it worth buying a couple of them.
With all that said...I have been thinking about offering small bags of beads from Bolek's (and maybe other locations) on an E-bay or Etsy store. I would have to charge higher prices than Bolek's, because of listing and sales fees, and the value of my time...but what do you think? Would you be interested in buying a small bag of a color you need for a couple of beadie critters, to be able to avoid having to buy them 1000 at a time, and paying a $9 shipping fee for Bolek's?
I'd love to hear from you on this.