Top 5 Tips for Traveling with Your Beading Supplies

Whether you’re headed to Bead Fest Philadelphia or just taking a weekend trip to the mountains, bringing your entire beading studio can be difficult. What if inspiration strikes and you need to create? What should you pack and how should you pack it for safe and easy travel? The Beadwork editors are here to help! With summer just beginning, make sure to check out these tips for traveling with your beading supplies before you take off on your next adventure.

Also, check out Beadwork Technical Editor Meredith Steele’s awesome picture from her weekend trip to the mountains above!

Travel Tools Beading Supplies

1. Always Pack Your Beading Supplies

I bead a lot for work. I also travel a lot for work. I never travel without beads or my tools, even if I’m going on vacation. This is a lesson I learned a long time ago when the urge to bead struck while I was on the road. I was visiting a bead store and while in the store, I decided that I needed to take on a new project. Sound familiar? Then you won’t be surprised when I tell you I had to buy all new supplies right then and there! Don’t get me wrong—I don’t mind shopping, not at all. But when you find yourself buying a third beading awl, a third pair of good scissors, and seed beads you know you already own, you eventually realize that you should just pack all the beading supplies you might need, then throw in some more for good measure.
—Tammy Honaman
Editor, Beadwork magazine and Group Editorial Director, Bead & Jewelry

Travel Tools Beading Supplies

2. Find a Good Beading Tote

I carry my beadwork back and forth between home and work a lot. For a while, I was just using a small beading pouch that held my needles, thread, scissors, and in-progress work. But sometimes I have multiple projects going at once, and I’m not sure which one I’ll have the time (or energy! or eyesight!) for in the evening. I came across a collapsible tote that resembles a grocery basket. It’s the perfect size to hold a couple of issues of Beadwork; my Bead On It Board; the pouch with my needles, thread, and scissors; and a few in-progress projects in separate zip-top bags. The tote even has a separate pocket that holds my high-powered reading glasses (a necessary tool at my age!). Some people might prefer a beading tote that closes, especially for travel. But my basket works great for quick trips between home and the office.
—Lavon Peters
Managing Editor, Beadwork magazine

Travel Tools Beading Supplies

3. Keep Your Beading Tools Protected

My beading tools are an extension of my hands, and I treat my tools well in my studio. In order to feel good about taking my tools with me, I needed to find a way to take care of them, even while they’re stowed under a plane and out of my care. I also wanted the solution to be reusable and easily stored when I’m back in my studio. I now place flexible tubing (found in hardware stores) over the tips of my tools, then put the tools into their own zip-top bags. I gather the individual bags inside a larger zip-top bag so they’re confined to one area and they don’t rattle around. Now, as long as my suitcase shows up on the luggage belt, I know my beading supplies will be ready for use. When I get home, I store the tubing inside the zip-top bags and collect all the bags into the larger zip-top bag until my next trip.
—Tammy Honaman
Editor, Beadwork magazine and Group Editorial Director, Bead & Jewelry

Travel Tools Beading Supplies

4. Know the Airline Regulations

I recently flew to my parents’ house for a quick visit and only brought a carry-on bag. At the last minute, I threw in my beading supplies, not even thinking about what was allowed on the airplane. Unfortunately, I had to throw away my Fiskar’s Scissors in the security line. The airport security personnel wouldn’t even let me donate them! After that incident, I carry shorter scissors (any scissors with blades less than 4 inches from pivot point are allowed) and an addressed and stamped envelope in case I do bring something that I need to ship back to myself. I’m still a little upset about having to throw away perfectly good scissors.
—Marissa Bouska
Assistant Editor, Beadwork magazine

Travel Tools Beading Supplies

5. Bring Some Beading Resources and Inspiration

The last time I took a long road trip, I was a beginning beader. I couldn’t figure out the technique I was trying to learn, and knew I was doing something wrong. I was also going through Nebraska and didn’t have access to the internet. I wished I had brought along some beading resources. I was stuck until we got to our destination. Now I make sure to bring along a few beading books and an issue of Beadwork for the techniques section in the back and as a little inspiration for new projects. Even if I’m stuck on the road for hours, at least I can get through a pattern!
—Marissa Bouska
Assistant Editor, Beadwork magazine

Where are you traveling this summer? Do you have any tips for us? Leave them in the comments below for all to enjoy and use. We can’t wait to see you at Bead Fest!


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