Traveling with Beads

Traveling with Beads
by Barbara van Look, Content Development Group, Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®

Traveling with beads or jewelry-making tools is easier than it might seem. Some travelers knit at every spare moment, yet never consider the "travel-ability" of the French knitter, Viking knitter, bead stringing and wirework. Whether you're at the bus stop, on the train or riding in the car, your beading and jewelry-making tools can come with you. When it comes to air travel, most pliers measuring seven inches or less in length are allowed in the cabin. Of course, you must make sure you check the latest information from the TSA to see what supplies and tools you can bring on the plane. It can be frustrating to discover that you have to move that essential tool to your checked baggage, or even have to throw it away!

There are plenty of places to create while you're traveling: waiting rooms, rest stops, airplanes, trains, by the pool, next to the kids' ballfield, in the tent or RV during a rainstorm and plenty more. Even if you have the bad luck to be at the repair shop--that's somewhere to bead, too. (Who knows? You might get a chance to barter off some of that bill.)

Why? Well, why not?

Why would you take your jewelry-making on the road with you? Plenty of reasons, from the creative to the productive:
Portable Beat Mats and Bead Boards
  • Getting out of the house can mean getting out of a design rut. Take a project on the road and see how a new environment can give you a new perspective.
  • Being seen making jewelry means more opportunities to sell what you're making, get commissions or hand out your business card or website address
  • You're at a show? If your booth is tidy, you have a chance to create. In fact, wherever you're selling is a great place to be creating, too. Customers also love seeing the process and it gives you a chance to really connect with them.
  • You're new to the area? Plenty of our customers have mentioned they BIP (Bead In Public)--and that it's been a great way to meet new people and create friendships.
  • Handmade is hot. In this mass-produced world, people are craving the personal, individual touch. You can give it to them and they can see you making it for them.
  • It's a three-dimensional portfolio! Potential customers can see what you make and the quality of your work.
  • If you have your own supplies with you, you can create quick jewelry pieces to match an outfit you picked up on vacation, repair a favorite piece that got damaged en route or even help repair someone else's jewelry. Would it be too strange if you made money on the road?
How to make it happen

When you decide to take your creativity on the road, you have the power to choose easily portable projects. Some ideas are:
  • Beaded wire crochet: Beads are prestrung on the wire, the wire is rewrapped on the spool and all you need is a hook plus finishing components like cones and clasps.
  • Kumihimo cord: Kumihimo cord weaving, with the soft foam disk and flexible spools for the pre-measured thread, travels neatly. With no metal tools involved, it's also ideal for air travel.
  • Wirework: All you need is your favorite wire and a pair of rosary pliers. Rosary pliers include round-nose tips and a built-in side cutter.
  • Single-strand strung jewelry: Pre-attach a clasp to carded thread with an attached needle or a pre-cut length of Accu-Flex® professional-quality beading wire. Bring your favorite beads in a sealed or roll-up traveling board and bead on the go. Also ideal for continuous knotted gemstone bead or pearl necklaces.
Wire Working Wire
  • Stretch jewelry: No clasp needed! Just bring your preferred color of Powercord® and your bead supply--if you're using longer beads or beads with a small hole, add a twisted beading needle. Don't forget your glue for the knots.
  • Earrings: Compact treasures that store small and travel well, earrings let you show your creativity and expertise without taking up a lot of luggage space. You also have the chance to whip up a pair to wear the next day!

Traveling Suggestions:
Plier Sets