When you need to pick up those tiny beads and just can't seem to get a hold of them. I found that using tape, either regular or double-sided, and wrap it around your pointer finger of the opposite hand you're holding the needle, eyepins, etc, it makes it so much easier to do. The tape not only picks it up but holds it still so you can thread it.
When threading needles, instead of bringing the thread to the needle, hold the very tip of the thread between thumb and forefinger and lower the eye of the needle onto the thread. I find this technique much less frustrating.
I use cake pans (9x13 or 8x8) to put my beads in while I'm beading. I line them with felt or tea towels to keep the beads from rolling around. You can scrunch up the towel into sections to keep bead groups separate.
When doing mass production of earrings (i.e., 24 pairs for a cheerleading squad), I put all the beads on each headpin and line then up "assembly line" style. I place a rubber earnut to hold the beads in place until I go back to form the loop and attach it to the earwire. There is no reason you couldn't do this for any pair you're making; doesn't have to be for a large number. I find them easier to use than beadclips.
I made an inexpensive bail using a 3" eyepin. I uncurled and straightened the end, measured the length and folded the wire in half using my round-nosed pliers. At this point I added a jumpring to the bend. Holding the assembly by the jumpring I measured up about 1/3" from the jumpring and used the round-nosed pliers to bend the two wires forward 45 degrees. Then I bent both wires into a large curve backwards with the round-nosed pliers until the wires met the jumpring. I draped the wires over my necklace after I spread the wires apart in a "V" so that each wire lay on either side of my center bead on the necklace. I grasped the necklace at the center bead and used my flat-nosed pliers to wrap one of the wires around the bail above the jumpring in a downward wrap. This traps the second wire. I then wrapped the second wire in a upward motion over the previous wrap. Clip both ends if needed. The bail looks good from front and back.
If working with polyclay and you want to give an antiqued look to an item, after baked and cooled, get a glaze used for bisque. You place it aside for 10-15 minutes then wipe. Then use clear fingernail polish or a resin and cover it. Glaze collects in the creases and gives piece more dimension.
I have another suggestion for Terri, who asked the experts on Tuesday, about using a broken briolette. I had one and I glued it to a silver bead cap. Before I glued it, I used a head pin to make a wrapped loop out of the top of the cap and then glued the broken tip of the briolette into the cap. It is now beautiful, the broken edge doesn't show and I don't have to worry about stressing the repair.
When you need to make many identical lengths of chain, as when you are making a tassel, I like to use the Chain Sta, item #H20-3511TL. Put an eyepin in one of the clamps. Hang the correct length of chain on the eyepin. Now just hang another length on it and use the original as a template to cut more. I also like to put a small bend on the eyepin so my chain does not fall off as I cut.
When I bead, I cover my worktable with a piece of white cotton flannel. I have it long enough to lie in my lap like an apron. 1. The beads don't roll. 2. The apron catches beads that are dropped. 3. This beats having to pick them up from the floor.
I use crimp pliers to hold a crimp cover when I am placing it over the crimp bead. It fits perfectly in the groove and I have the pliers in my hand to quickly close the cover before it falls out of place. I also use the crimp pliers to open and close jumprings. They don't slip as easy as the looping pliers do.
Crimp covers make such a difference in a project. Sometimes I have a bit of a tight fit over the crimp bead. Instead of smashing the crimp bead tighter and risk it breaking, I use the tip end of looping pliers to stretch the crimp cover. It always fits perfectly and closes flush.
Want a handy way of making jewelry without dropping or losing your beads? Take a plastic lunch tray with divided sections and use double-sided tape and tape pieces of a bead mat into each slot. That way your beads stay in the individual slots. No more rolling off into the floor only to have to search and search for your beads.
I usually take about 6 organizer bins with me. They are 11"x14" with multi-compartments. Well the new trend in grocery shopping is to use those fabric grocery bags. My bins fit perfectly inside. I found a great funky grocery bag with long shoulder handles. It works to great.
When working with very tiny beads, place beads on a flat surface such as a plate. To quickly pick up, wet your finger and press down on beads so that they stick to your finger and easily thread beads by sticking end of line through beads stuck to your finger. This works best when using something semi-stiff for stringing, such as wire or monofilament.
This is from my friend Barb, who does jewelry appraisals: Never use rubber bands (or any rubber) near silver or silver plating. The chemicals in the rubber will actually burn through the silver (or SP) and leave nasty black marks--permanently ruining the piece.