72-Hour Bead Bonanza

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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The cords of different colors that are made of rubber, to put on memory wire, can be used as earring backings. You simply cut a pair of small pieces, and you have instant backings! The whole in the tubing is just the right size for the size of earring wires.

- Heidi
If the stretch elastic breaks on your bracelet or necklace, use single or doubled strand bobbin elastic (used in sewing and "honey-combing" clothes) to replace and rejuvenate your bracelet or necklace. Finish the knot with a dab of glue.

- Cecilia from Singapore
When making a necklace using wire/coated thread, use a plastic earnut as a temporary end (as a placeholder). I found this great when seed beading--for the beginning tail and then when you put down/pick up your project again.

- Kathie from the U.S.
My "Memory Necklace" a few months back I started a charm necklace, using old jewelry dating from my baby locket to a pink ribbon charm--and all sorts of things in between. I've added single earrings, my grandmother's ring that is too small for me to wear, a high school charm and much more. Looping across, near the bottom, is a silver charm bracelet I had as a child. Also on my necklace are meaningful and interesting new charms, beads and chains that reflect elements of "me." I keep adding to it and it has become a very personal treasure which I proudly display on the wall when I'm not wearing it. The fun thing about this necklace is that each maker can create something unique, meaningful and truly personal. Such a necklace could also be made for a friend or client.

- Janna from California
When starting a chain mail piece, I put a twist-tie through the first ring(s) instead of a paper clip. Then I don't have to worry about scratches on my piece. And when I drop it, the tie won't slip out. I also use them as place keepers and markers.

- Kit from New Hampshire
When I filled up every jewelry holder, box and all other usual things for keeping my jewelry where I could see it and not become tangled, I hung a wire shelf from the top of my bedroom door. Sometimes things would get knocked off so I used shower rings because they can be closed tight and are big enough to put whole sets on 1 ring. When that shelf was full, I hung another shelf (this one was for a Barbeque grill) I used dog leashes so some longer items can hang down behind the second shelf to avoid tangling. Needless to say, I live alone, but I'm sure something similar could be constructed. I believe in "Where there's a will, there's a way!"

- Joyce from Virginia
I use SNAPS for quasi-permanent bead keepers. (I needed lots for some project ideas and examples to test/compare) Run beading line up thru a hole, straight across and down thru the opposite hole--then SNAP the other piece on. The snap should be at the very end of the line because, as you can imagine, it will bend/kink it too much to use.

- Kimberly from Texas
Those containers that sliced meat come in that are recyclable with red lids make great containers for loose beads and bead strands. They are stackable, and contents are visible from all sides and the bottom, too. They also make great storage boxes for completed jewelry sets, too!

- Janet from Ohio
I organize my beads in a clear box with different compartments. I have several of these containers and I separate my beads in them by color. I label the top and the side and store the containers on a shelf. I separate my findings the same way as well. Silver, gold, copper, etc. I keep my necklace findings separate from my earring findings. I have found this works for me but you really have to find what works best for you.

- Deborah from Alabama
I started small and kept changing for the increase. I found the wheeled carts with shallow covered boxes (drawers) they make for scrap booking are fantastic! I have a couple thousand jewelry size zip lock bags in each ''drawer.'' But category, color, size, for beads, gems, pearl, shell, findings everything. It's not as ''professional'' as tiny plastic containers, but extremely more affordable.

- Brenda from Nevada
I use an old wooden cup rack that you can hang on the wall to store my finished necklaces on ... Not only does it keep them from getting tangled up but it makes a really great display and it doesn't take up precious counter space in my workroom.

- Christie from Michigan
I currently use the empty plastic Crystal Light containers. Once you remove the wrap you have container that provides the ability to easily view the beads. Also, attach the Fire Mountain Gems product label to the container so you can easily re-order the item.

- Darlene from Virginia
I use single serve plastic containers to store beads. I then use the lids to spread them out to find what I am looking for. I use an old time clothes dryer rack to hang my jewelry from for display. It allows the jewelry to hang nicely and supplies lots of levels for different lengths.

- Pixie from Arizona
To help organize small bits of chain or earring findings--actually anything small with a hole in it--I string them on large safety pins and they stay perfect!!

- Pat from Florida
Sometimes when I'm working with very fine wire (26-gauge and up) it isn't practical to do a wrapped loop on either side of a bead. So I'll make the wire piece just long enough to bring it around another full-turn. More security, and very fast.

- Lara from Washington
When you want something to do while waiting for an appt. or any other situation where you can't really sprawl your work out, just put everything you need--beads, pre-cut stringing material, needles, etc in a small "mint tin." I actually have a 2-inchx2-1/2 inch tin pill box from the '70s that I love to use!

I just line the bottom with a piece of fuzzy beading mat that I cut to fit snuggly and fill my tin's inside bottom and then add the materials I need to complete a stretchy ring or other small and fast project! I put my cutters and crimp in my purse. I don't use any adhesives untill I am home where it's alot less mess to use!

Having a mini "shinies box" in my pocket or purse is a great way to get rid of the lobby-waiting blues!

- Penny from Minnesota
Like to bead in bed? Here is my tip for doing just that! I use the very long, hard oak cutting board that is recessed into my kitchen cabinetry and put a king-size pillow case over it to keep the board clean. I then take it to my bed and lay out my beading mats over it's surface and even use the tidy finger-pull groove that is cut into the board as a needle and tool holder since it is still accessable even with the pillow case over it! My board is very long (2+ feet) so it makes the perfect lap table in bed!

- Penny from Minnesota
I found a broken baby gate, took it apart and spray painted it black. My earring holders fit it just perfectly. I also have room to hang necklaces and other things on "S" from the screen. I then mount both on my display table with "C" clamps. Good to go.

- Kathie from North Carolina
I use the plastic peanut butter jars to hold beads and also the jars that grated cheese comes in. I find that these jars are big enough to hold large amounts of beads and also cards of various chain so that they are all in one place.

- Sue from Virginia
To display your earrings, use wire CD racks, usually 3 sided, and the 4th side cut out plastic needle point mesh to size for your studs. Use a small metal binder clip and attach to the top wire to hold in place, un clip to add more. Works great. I have 3 racks full which is about 150 pairs of earrings.

- Andi from Idaho
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