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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I have a suggestion to make wire loops more even. I slip a cone (item H20-2256FN) over one side of my round-nose pliers (it fits perfectly). I mark the cone with my wire cutters, then I make all my loops at that mark. It works well. Maybe you can make a cone set with markings on it. I don't think anyone suggested this before.

- Hazel
I use a pair of magnets to hold the ends of projects. It works great, and is portable too!

- Paula
I use plastic shrink tubes used to cover electrical repairs which are easily found at hardware stores to cover my needle and bent-nose pliers. I cut a small piece for each tong and blow dry it to fit snug. They last for a project and can be easily removed. They are also very inexpensive.

- April
I like to use an old coaster with cork lining to hold my seed beads. It has just enough of an edge the beads don't run off. A nice mini beading board.

- Anna
If you use tweezers with very fine points, you know that the points seem to try to get bent. I found a way to prevent this when I went in for a flu shot last fall. The shot came with a plastic cover over the needle, which I grabbed before it was tossed in the wastebasket. It is a perfect fit for my tweezers. The cover is usually thrown out, so a request is probably all it would take to get your new tweezer cover. Just make sure that they know you want the cover, not the needle.

- Scott from Virginia
I make beaded angel pins using the straight bar pins and could never find a nice way to display them. Had a very pretty, but smallish piece of velveteen material and a thick square of styrofoam. Glued some of the material onto the foam, wrapping it around neatly to the back. Now I just push the pin straight down into the block, arranging the brooches attractively. This either lies flat on the table, or can be placed at an angle using an old typing stand.

- Donna Marie from Nova Scotia, Canada
I use an old computer lap desk for working with seed/Delica® beads. The 'flock' finish keeps things from sliding around. I removed the wrist pad and glued down a short plastic ruler and a fridge magnet (the business card size companies give away as promotions) black magnet side up to hold needles, metal beads, etc. Finally, took a length of foam weather stripping with sticky adhesive on one side and stuck it down following the top outside edge of the lap desk. When beads spill, as they always do, the foam 'lip' saves them from rolling onto the floor. We also made one for a friend using plywood, homemade bean bag attached with wide tape Velcro® and fine-knapped fabric covering the top.

- Donna Marie from Nova Scotia, Canada
Using foam insulation boards (from DIY stores) and 3M stick-ups, it is possible to "paper" walls with these "boards/panels." The glue on the stick-ups will not remove paint or wallpaper.

Needing to see what pendants, etc. you have to work with is easy IF they are pinned to the panels with 1" brads--call them inspiration boards, if you want ...

Also, the glue (on the 3-M picture tabs--IF you use enough of them) will hold up a panel with finished jewelry so that you can see completed items quickly. I use 10-12 stick-up tabs/panel, otherwise one might find the filled panel on the floor.

- Judith from Virginia
For showing my jewelry I use window screens. Stand them up, put the prices down the wood side, and hang your earrings. After, I just set the 2 screens I use back to back, drop them in a large black bag, and put them aside 'till the next showing.

- Janet
Static Attraction

I have had very good luck wiping the velvet with a dryer sheet to remove dust and debris attracted to the material by static cling.

- Helga King of Granny Knots
Clip for Cash

Best tip I can think of to save money is to use ToeNail Clippers in place of cutters to trim your ends, on your beading wires and threads. Saves more money for beads!

- Sara from New Jersey
Dawn Clean

To safely clean jewelry, put a small amount of Dawn Foam soap in the palm of your hand, sprinkle baking soda on that and rub your jewelry in this mix. Then, rinse off with warm to hot water and dry with a soft cloth. This will take tarnish off of sterling and it is chemical free. This solution won't harm metals or hard gemstones. It also brings luster back to pearls. Thank you for your great information and fantastic website.

- Debra from Minnesota
Anti-scratch Heat Shrink Pliers

I use the heat shrink tubing that normally goes over exposed electrical wires to place over pliers so they don't scratch the metal. I just use a hairdryer to shrink it nice and close to the tools so they never scratch the surface of wires or beads.

- Rachael from Michigan
Easy Clean Up for Bead Spills

If you spill beads, stretch a knee high nylon across the opening of a vacuum hose and secure the nylon with either tape or a rubber band so that there is a little bit hanging loose that will suck up into the vacuum hose end . Then "vacuum" up the beads. Hold the vacuum over a dish when you turn it off and all the beads that were sucked up into the nylon will fall into the dish. Really makes it easy to pick up the beads!

- Sherre from Virginia
Bead Board Support

Bead boards are a great tool, but they are a little weak. There have been several occasions where I have picked up my bead board with one hand and the board buckles because of the weight and how I picked it up. To correct this, I purchased some 1/4-inch plywood from a home improvement store, cut it to be just slightly larger than the bead board, and then permanently glued the bead board to the plywood. Once dry, you can place little rubber stick-on rubber discs onto the bottom of the plywood board so it won't scratch tabletops or slide around. Now you have a sturdy bead board that won't buckle on you when you pick it up.

- Christopher from Indiana
Binder Clip End Keepers

I use binder double clips on the end of my projects, so the beads keep on the wire and don't fall to the floor.

- Adel from Pennsylvania
Finger Clipper Wire Cutters

Don't have flush wire cutters? A pair of fingernail clippers does just as well and can get in really close to beads.

- Alicia from Arkansas
Don't Pinch The Digits

This is probably obvious, but I recently discovered this little tip. When you are using a crimping tool, make sure you keep your fingers well away from the jaws or you could end up crimping your fingertip instead. I didn't realize I knew words like that! And so many!

- Angela, Ontario, Canada
No-Fray Thread

Wax or condition your thread to prevent the end from fraying.

- Fire Mountain Gems and Beads Tip
The Secret to Threading

When threading your needle, hold the thread in your non-dominant hand so that just a tiny portion--about the size of the dot in this ''i'' - sticks up between your thumb and forefinger. Place the needle eye on the dot and slide the thread up through the hole.

- Fire Mountain Gems and Beads Tip
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