Beading Tools: Where Do I Start?
It's easy for beginning beaders to get carried away when presented with an array of beading tools. Heck, it's easy for ME to get carried away when presented with an array of beading tools, too! It seems like there's always something new and exciting in the world of beading tools, and while I'm at Bead Fest Philadelphia this weekend, I'm definitely going to be on the lookout for any useful beading tools I can add to my collection.
Do you ever wonder if there's anything missing in your collection of beading tools? Or maybe you have too many beading tools, and you want to cut back? Here are a few suggestions for making sure you have a well-stocked tool box, without going off the deep end!
Beading Tools for Every Beader
No matter what type of jewelry-making you like to do, a set of high-quality jewelry-making pliers is a must for every beader. Because these can be used for so much more than just wirework or wire jewelry-making, it's important that you find the best quality tools that you can afford. At the very least, make sure you have each of the following: chain nose pliers, round nose pliers, flat nose pliers, and a pair of flush cutters. If you do a lot of wirework in your jewelry-making projects, consider purchasing a combination pliers (one jaw round and one flat), and a good wire straightener.
Of course, a good set of tools can really break your budget, so consider adding them to your collection of beading tools one at a time as you can afford them. Over the long term, using high quality beading tools really DOES make a difference!
Other Basic Beading Tools
For those of us who do oodles of bead-weaving, a good pair of embroidery scissors and a thread cutter are absolute necessities. I'm in love with my Fiskars embroidery scissors, so much so that I have two pairs of them, and for cutting my Fireline and WildFire beading threads, nothing compares to my heavy-duty Fireline scissors from Xuron.
Embroidery scissors are indispensable for doing bead embroidery, where you'll find yourself doing lots of fine cuts to trim both your bead embroidery medium and your leather or suede backings. Keep your embroidery scissors sharp, and just like your jewelry-making pliers, investing in a high-quality pair of embroidery scissors will be a smart move in the long run.
Other items that are a must-have for your set of beading tools include a color wheel (a small, portable color wheel that can be tucked into my tote bag is a must for bead shopping these days), a ruler, and a good tape measure, all of which can be found at pretty much any craft store or local bead shop. Once you start working with these beading tools on a regular basis, you'll wonder how you ever got by without them!
Go For a Little Luxury
It's fun to splurge a little now and then, right? Don't forget about your beading tools when you think you might deserve a little treat! In the last few years, I've tried out the Bead On It Board and the CraftOptics telescopes, and they are most definitely worth every penny. Yes, you can always bead on a clean dish towel or an inexpensive velvet jewelry pad, but there are benefits to using a well-made bead mat. And, really, there's nothing wrong with a little luxury when it comes to your beading tools, because after all, you (and your beading projects!) are worth it!
Speaking of luxury… Have you seen the Fall 2013 issue of Jewelry Stringing magazine? With 75 new jewelry-making projects, including Debbie Blair's Gold Mine, you can make jewelry that makes you feel like a million bucks! Plus, you'll find the latest and greatest in handy beading tools, trends in jewelry making, and heaps of inspiration from your favorite jewelry designers. Subscribe to Jewelry Stringing magazine and give yourself the gift of beading bliss.
Do you have a suggestion for beading tools that should be in every beader's collection? Leave a comment here on the Beading Daily blog and tell us about them!