I Gotta Have That Beading Tool!

I came home from the Tucson gem, mineral and bead shows with more than just a new stash of beads. I came home with loads of new ideas! One thing is for certain as I look at my new goodies – I need some new beading tools!

I can't wait to start working on embellishing these vintage copper neck pieces from The Beadin' Path!

These wonderful textured copper neck pieces from the Beadin' Path just called out to me while I was browsing. I've always had a thing for beaded necklaces, and I'm particularly drawn to beaded collars ever since I first saw the work of bead artists like Sherry Serafini and Heidi Kummli. Of course, I loved the texture of the collars and didn't want to cover them up with a piece of bead embroidery, but in order to get something on those collars, I think I'm going to need to poke a few holes in them. Ah-ha! An excuse to buy a new beading tool!

I get the feeling that this combination hole punch and rivet setting beading tool is going to get a lot of use!

I talked to Jewelry Making Daily's Tammy Jones while we were in Tucson, and she showed me this wonderful little hole punch that she'll be using in some of her projects. Lightweight and compact, it can punch holes of two different sizes in several different thicknesses of metal. I'm sold! This beading tool can also be used to set semi-tubular rivets. (Cold connections, anyone?) I can already imagine a dozen projects where this will come in handy!

Fortunately for me, the other must-have beading tool that I need for some of my newly-planned beading projects is one that I already own: a cup file.

Vintage Swarovski crystal "disco ball" earrings? Yes, please!
My new cup file beading tool will let me make gorgeous and comfortable sterling silver ear wires!

I had asked Tammy about this a few weeks ago when I decided that I wanted to start making more of my own ear wires. While we were shopping in Tucson at Whimbeads, I came across these absolutely amazing, sparkly vintage Swarovski crystal rounds. Tammy kept calling them "disco balls" and on my flight home, I sketched out a couple of earring designs using them, both of which would look fabulous with some handmade sterling silver ear wires.

I've already had lots of practice using the cup file. While working on a pair of crystal earrings designed by Rachel Nelson-Smith, the ear wires I had purchased for the project broke. Since I don't have a local bead shop near me where I could buy a comparable pair of ear wires, I decided to make my own ear wires using sterling silver wire. Using the cup file on the ends of the wire made these ear wires go in so smoothly, I barely noticed them! (I now understand that I have absolutely no excuse for buying ear wires anymore.)

These wonderful filigree bending pliers give me so much more control when using brass filigrees to make my own custom settings for beaded cabochons!

One thing I saw everywhere in Tucson were lovely brass filigrees, both new and vintage. I've been wanting to try my hand at using those brass filigrees to make settings for beaded cabochon rings, earrings and pendants, but I was afraid to try bending the filigrees with my regular chain nose pliers. So one of my purchases while in Tucson was a pair of filigree bending pliers, also sometimes known as bail making pliers. These wonderful tools have uniform, round jaws, each one a different size to create a different bail or bend in your filigree. I've only used them once, but already I can tell they give me far superior control over my filigree-bending than my regular chain nose pliers!

Sometimes I think that the beading tools are one of the best parts of jewelry-making! I love opening up my tool bag and looking at my array of pliers, cutters and crimpers, and adding a new tool (and a new jewelry-making skill) to my collection is always a thrill. If you're thinking that it's time to add a few new beading tools to your collection, or even if you just want to use the tools you already have, check out Katie Hacker's Hip to Bead, now in electronic format! You can download this book instantly on your desktop or laptop computer, pick a project, and start creating right away! You'll find all the instructions you need right there, along with fabulous color photographs and illustrations for each of the thirty-two beading projects that cover jewelry, accessories and more. Download your copy of Hip to Bead and start creating with your beading tools tonight!

Is there a particular beading tool that has been on your wish list lately? What is it? Why do you want it? Leave a comment and share your thoughts here on the Beading Daily blog!

Bead Happy,

Jennifer

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