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Simple Tips

Have a great beading idea, technique or time-saving tip? View helpful tips from other beaders and submit your own to share with the worldwide jewelry-making community.

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Many of my orders from Fire Mountain Gems arrive in flat Priority Mail boxes that are about 9 x 12 inches. A bead mat fits in nicely and any unfinished project that needs to be put on hold can be stacked and stored neatly.

- Mary from Washington
I use the clear plastic boxes that Swarovski crystals come in to store my pierced earrings until I am ready to sell them.

- PJ
Use your crimping pliers to close metal crimp covers. It closes them completely without misshaping them.

- Pat
Here is a simple way to display earrings for a show or at home. Use a staple gun to attach a piece of screening to the open section of a frame. Then just hook your earrings through the openings of the screen. Plain or fancy frames, whichever you prefer, they both look great!

- Carol
I like to work with lace, silk and other delicate fabrics on my bead embroidery projects. To prevent fraying and lumps, I use double-sided tape on the back side of my Lacy's Stiff Stuff™ or Ultra Suede. I fold the lace or delicate fabric carefully to the back side of my Stiff Stuff or suede against the double-sided tape. Without bumps and frays I can finish my work.

- Miranda
It's tempting to have a matched set of jewelry-making tools. But, I like the fact that the handles on my most-used tools are all different. When I had an all blue set I had to stop concentrating on my project to identify the wanted tool by its shape and function. Now when it's time for me to change from chain-nose (red handles) to round-nose (zebra-striped handles) pliers I only need a quick glance at my work surface to identify what I need next.

- Judi
While baking Kato Polyclay™ I burnt it black and was going to trash it. Do not trash it: 1) Let cool 2) Drill hole for a finding of your choosing 3) Cover with clear-drying glue 4) Then add glitter color of your choosing. Do steps 3 and 4 to the back and let dry over-night. If it needs more glitter, add more until it looks the way you want it. After it is done the way you want it, coat with clear varnish, as many coats as you want. Add clasp and chain. Voila, from trash to a piece of jewelry.

- Walter
I found out that a cheap toilet paper holder mounted on a piece of wood works great as a dispenser for the Silkon® brand thread. So does a vertical paper towel holder. Keeps everything organized, and it's easy to "reload" when I run out of a spool. For other spool types, I use a dowel rod resting in a Y-fork of some kind or another. Sometimes I mount it on a wall, sometimes I just leave it free-standing.

- Lara
I make many pairs of pierced earrings with earwires rather than posts. It is easy to turn a mesh wastepaper basket upside down and hang the earrings around the basket. For display, put the basket on a turntable or Lazy Susan and you can fill the inside with colored cellophane and secure a mirror to the top (which is now the bottom since you flipped it over!).

- Pam
I use scrapbook paper and make easy-peasy origami masu boxes. There are tons of tutorials on Google and then I reinforce the bottom with foam or cardstock. Probably you should practice first with paper before moving to scrapbook paper. A ring size box can be made with 6×6 inches for the lid and 5.5×5.5 inches for the bottom. Also lots of DIY box tutorials on YouTube with other simple boxes you can make with cardstock and a little cutting and pasting.

- Naomi
I use over the door shoe organizers with clear pockets to store my beads and focals. They are organized by color to make it easy to find what I am looking for when creating a piece.

- Bonnie
When I am doing a project that needs to stay together for a while, I use a hard eyeglass case. I get different colors so I know straight away what project is in them. It will hold the needles, thread, and the beads. It will even hold crochet hooks for the wire work. Great for camping trips too, it just slides right in my purse or pocket.

- Renee
I use the plastic containers from baby food to keep my beads. They line up really nice in a drawer. I then organize by color in each drawer. If you know someone with babies, ask them to save the containers. The lids stay closed are good to pour out enough for your project.

- Ginny
Use a mold and polymer clay. Press the clay into the mold to make a pendant. Use a small object to make a hole and take the same mold and press polymer clay to make a second object. The second object you can cut it in half and make a small hole in the top of each to make a pair of earrings. Bake them in a regular oven on about 200. Once they are hard, you can open the hole with a bead reamer and add jumprings to make the earrings and attach the pendant. I used off-white with a queen head mold and then I painted the polymer clay and sprayed it with matte gloss. Happy jeweling.

- Rita
When I receive an order, I leave one piece of each item in the vendor's original labeled bag so that I can easily reorder at a later date. Additionally, I have an ''inventory backup'' I keep in a shoebox with extra large labeled Ziploc™ bags; one for large beads, one for turquoise beads, metal beads, earring findings, crystals, gemstones, etc. Makes it so easy to find the original supplier when needed.

- Renee
I am making glass multicolored bracelets with corresponding color lampwork beads. I put all my pink beads into one Ziploc® sandwich bag and do the same with all the other bead colors that I have. I also have two Ziplocs filled with just pearls or just clay flowers. And I also put my different colored 4mm bicone beads into one larger Ziploc bag and mark the outside 4mm. I do the same with all my other size bicones. If I need a 5mm, I know which bag to pick up. If I need pink leaves or blue leaves, I know which bag to look through. I've made a bag for each bracelet and placed most all the beads I'm going to use into that project bag and put that bag into a shoe box. I put the glass flowers, butterflies, cubes etc. into one Ziploc that I keep on my beading table. My beading table is a roll around table that is used in hospitals that comes around the bed, for eating meals. It's adjustable and I have attached my light with a mirror to it. I also use a plastic roll around 3 drawer cart, and I put all my supplies and beads into it; it's right under my bead table. I've added a tall pole lamp that helps quite a bit! It helps to keep my beads in the little bags that they come in from Fire Mountain Gems. This way, it's easier to re-order from them. Hope this helps someone else.

- Susan
Magnetic personality. I found a couple of magnets when working with lots of jumprings, small metal beads and findings really help. I use them to pick up leftovers I've spread on my work area. Also, pliers stored on or near magnets at varying distances develop varying degrees of magnetism. It saves time and frustration working with the little buggers.

- Magan
Mouse in the house helper. Most of you have probably figured this out, but I'm just getting started. My favorite tools are now a large mouse pad with a picture that inspires me when I bead. When I'm more serious, I have an old pad with no fabric cover. I flip it over and work directly off the black neoprene.

- Magan
I like to see all my beads, so I use clear glass to store them. I buy vases, candle holders and glasses at thrift shops and garage sales. My friends also help by giving me their unwanted (but still very pretty) glass.

- Denise
To store multiple small items and small amounts, I use plastic bobbin boxes that I buy at the fabric store. I cut a piece of thin foam rubber to fit in the lid to keep the beads from getting mixed, if the box is tipped. They're small and don't take up much room.

- Shari
358 Items(s) Found.
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