Question of the Week: What is Your Must-Have Beading Tool?

As my collection of beading tools grows and grows, I find that there are a couple of beading tools that I must have handy when I sit down to bead. My favorite scissors for cutting Fireline and Wildfire are a simple pair of Rapala fishing line scissors, given to me by NanC Meinhardt. My favorite beading trays and work pads are the Designer's Workpads from Designer's Findings. But my new favorite beading tool – one you might never have guessed – are the simple plastic floss bobbins that I can get at my local craft store in the embroidery department.

These bobbins are great because I like to work with a lot of thread. I hate adding new thread and tying in my thread tails, and I'll do anything I can to avoid it. Because I'm also a little obsessive about doing things in perfect symmetry, what I very often do is start a beadwork project in the middle and complete one side at a time. So that I don't have to add a new thread when I go back to start the second side of my beading project, I'll wind a long length of thread around one of these bobbins, and ta-da! There's my long thread, just ready and waiting for me to start stitching!

So this week, I asked our panel of bead artists and experts about their must-have beading tool.

Mikki Ferrugiaro: Besides CorelDraw which is my favorite computer program for illustrating, and my ottoman so I can bead with my feet up, and my Ott light so I can see, is that little scoop tool with the tweezer ends. I use that little bead scoop for a million little tasks. It's so important I now have two in case I misplace one again!

Kelli Burns: My homemade bead tray – I stole one of the shopping trays from our bead store and cut a felted mat to fit inside the tray. The tray has a small lip to prevent beads from falling off and I can carry it anywhere. When I change bead projects and bead colors, I just cut another mat to fit it and wash the old one.

Rosanne Andreas: The BEST beading tools? There are so many! My Ott task light with the attached magnifier; English beading needles; Fireline beading thread; sharp scissors; high quality jewelry pliers (round-nose and flat-nose); high quality wire cutters; and a good mat to keep the beads in place!

Jean Campbell: Other than the regular–scissors and needles–I really don't feel "right" unless I've got my beading awl nearby. It helps untangle knots, break unwanted seed beads, and shape RAW units. It's a great little tool!

SaraBeth Cullinan: Without a doubt, it would have to be an Ott Light.  When the owner of the bead store that I was working at showed one to the beading class that she was teaching I just knew I had to have one of those fabulous lights for myself.  At the time I was living in a tiny, poorly lit studio apartment and was trying to bead by the light of an ancient table lamp that my Grandmother had given to me. Now I have four of them: two of the original folding style, one of which I keep on my night stand just in case I want to bead or crochet in bed, a floor lamp, and a desk lamp on my beading cart.

What is your must-have beading tool? Is there something you find that you just can't bead without? Share your favorites here on the blog!

Bead Happy,


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