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Simple Tips

Being "over" 70 years of age and having arthritis, I very frequently drop/spill beads. Sometimes an entire container. I have a manual lightweight carpet sweeper. I keep the retaining compartment clean and use it for nothing else but getting up my spills. It is easy to use and store. Handle was made bendable by the manufacturer so I do not have to bend over! Best investment I have made to be used as part of my beading tools. This way I seldom have beads get into the powered vacuum cleaner, which makes my daughter happy too! I also use a "reacher" (made for us elderly and handicapped) to pick up small drops/spills as soon as they happen. Thanks for all the assistance you have provided.

Simple Tips

Since I am only starting out, the only jewelry I actually sell are my cancer-awareness items. However, I do design and make other jewelry, including matching/coordinating sets (seriously, how many beads can I love at one time?). My pierced ear holes can be hyper-sensitive, but one day, I could not figure out why I was having excessive trouble putting in one of my recently made earrings. Finally, I looked at the ear wire with my reading glasses AND a magnifying glass. Sure enough, there was a microscopic "drop" on the end, big enough to irritate my ear hole and prevent me from getting the wire through. So I took my metal nail file and a reamer to it, smoothing it off carefully. Perfect fit, no irritation! Now I file any item I make that is supposed to be a piercing. This may be common sense to experienced jewelry makers, but I'm far from that just yet! :)

Simple Tips

A new letter opener, usually rectangular or square, is a great bead thread cutter, as well as being useful for other threads. Scissors are great, but using this style of letter opener lets you get close to the work, and when I embroider, I often use it without having to flip my work over, so I can cut threads close to the work, without having to see it.

Simple Tips

Whenever I am working, I use a silicone baking sheet. I have one for working with glue, as it peels right off and saves your working table. The other is fantastic for ensuring your pieces don't go flying while you are beading or wiring. Saves tons of time from looking for your parts on the floor!

Simple Tips

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.

Simple Tips

My dog's moist food comes in little plastic white trays. I (obviously!) wash them out and reuse them to hold current bead projects. They're also perfect for paints and powders. The octagonal shape of them even allows me to poor the tiniest seed beads back in the bag.

Simple Tips

Cigar boxes to hold plastic templates and cash box. Broccoli elastics that hold lots of things in place. Christmas ornament hooks for displaying. Painter's canvas drop cloth for a tablecloth. Soup can tins to hold my scissors and tools. Toothpicks to spread glue. White plastic takeout containers with clear lids for sand and quill storage.

Simple Tips

You can keep your creations in cellophane bags, or take photos of them, so you can visualize your progress.

Simple Tips

I use antique pipe stands to hold hand tools, such as pliers and cutters. Originally intended to hold a variety of smoking pipes, some of these stands also have boxes incorporated that initially held tobacco. These keep tools organized and close at hand.

Simple Tips

I use "parts cabinets" to sort all my jewelry making supplies. The labels from Fire Mountain are easy to trim, leaving the item # and the name and size beads etc., these fit the individual drawers. Makes things easy to sort and find.

Simple Tips

I use a 3-tier shoe tree for displaying necklaces. Slip the necklace over one or two shoe holders and you can hang matching bracelets too. The best part is each of the 3 tiers rotates. And the tower takes up vertical space on my display table, leaving room for other items.

Simple Tips

I use display inserts and little plastic vials w/lids (H20-2404PK) to hold my beads. Several of these will fit in each section of my sectioned bead box. I organize by color so this keeps the beads separated nicely.

Simple Tips

I use Tic Tac and pill bottles to store beads. The Tic Tac holders have the convenient hole in the top and are great for smaller beads.

Simple Tips

I store my beads in clear plastic bags, either 2x3 or smaller, inside clear plastic shoe boxes. I have 12 boxes labeled according to type such as Czech, Swarovski, pearl/MOP, wood, silver, gold, nameable gemstones, black/white/hematite, etc. On the bags I label: size, cost, bead name and then I figure price per bead and write that on the label as well. I also keep the Fire Mountain label so I can order again.

Simple Tips

I use lids from plastic containers such as yogurt, cottage cheese, etc. to place my beads in while I am making my bracelets or necklaces. They are small enough to fit several on my desk, even if I have many different types in one project.

Simple Tips

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

Simple Tips

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

Simple Tips

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!

Simple Tips

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.

Simple Tips

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.

Simple Tips

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.

Simple Tips

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.

Simple Tips

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!).

Simple Tips

Do not allow sterling silver to come in contact with bleach. It tarnishes permanently. For example, when cleaning with bleach remove any rings and wear gloves.

Simple Tips

If you don't have a beading tray or you need an extra one for a friend or a class, here is a quick and cheap fix. Raid the kitchen for a cookie sheet - the kind with sides all round. Place a small hand towel or kitchen towel that will cover the bottom of the pan. This will keep tools from scratching up the pan surface and will hold your beads in place while you work. For a better or more permanent work surface, cut a piece of velvet, suede or rubber shelf lining to fit the bottom and secure it with double-stick tape. If you decide to secure the lining to the bottom of the tray, you should cut the lining large enough to go up the sides of the tray also. That way any tiny beads etc. will not have an open seam along the bottom of the tray to hide in. While you are in the kitchen, grab a couple of those plastic ice cube trays. They are great to hold your beads in the separate compartments. Each ice cube tray has 10 to 14 compartments. One tray will hold a lot of different beads for you to work with. What, no ice cube trays? I bet you have eggs! Just put the eggs in a bowl or pan and steal the egg tray. There, now you have 12 to 18 bead cups in a handy carry tray. Also measuring spoons, the kind that have a flat tapered front edge, make great bead scoops. And you have several sizes, too. When you are done for the day or taking a break you can cover the top of your tray with clear plastic kitchen wrap.

Simple Tips

I was looking at beads and other items recently at a local Walmart® store, and ran across a wooden thread spool holder (the kind with several holders) that I quickly saw I could use as a holder for displaying not only my jewelry, but the jewelry I make and sell. It is a great way to hang all of my jewelry. It also has two foldable arms that I can extend or fold down to place inside my organizer bag. It's a really great way to show off all of my designs, whether it's a single necklace, or up to a three-piece set!

Simple Tips

When making jewelry with stretch cord, hemp or any other materials where you will be tying a knot, seal the knot with instant dry nail polish before wearing it. Instant dry will seal the knot and be ready to wear in a few minutes.

Simple Tips

If you're out of beading needles, use a threader dental flosser instead! Make a knot in the loop and voila! :)

Simple Tips

Another bead board tip: A quick and simple way to stabilize that bending bead board is to cut a piece of coreboard (available at any craft store) and use thumbtacks to secure. Place bead board on top of coreboard, trace outline, and using a razor knife, carefully (and easily) cut through the coreboard (use scissors if you need to trim). Using thumbtacks, you may need to punch a hole in edge of plastic bead board first to secure to the coreboard. Works for me!

Simple Tips

When stringing beads on ribbon, I use a 6-inch piece of beading wire folded in half as the needle.

Simple Tips

To store Nymo® thread I use stitch holders meant for knitting. I just open the safety pin like device and drop on my thread and then close. I can just pull the thread as needed without any problem.

Simple Tips

Keep on hand different colors of nail polish to touch up stripped color on wire, to color crimp beads, all kinds of "whoops!" times. You'll be happy to know this tip, if you don't already! I have black, cherry red, silver, gold, copper, aqua, these days, the skies are the limit!

Simple Tips

My daughter and grand babies have allergies that require shots and her allergist has started saving the cases the needles come in for me. They're approximately 1' deep and 5' square, and perfect! I put all the stuff I may make into something in them, to decide on the end design later. And when I'm in the middle of beading they will hold different opened packs of findings, focals, beads, chains, even small tools! Her allergist loves it because they aren't just being thrown away, and I love the ease. I have over 100 now, and use them more than any other tool.

Simple Tips

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.

Simple Tips

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.

Simple Tips

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.

Simple Tips

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.

Simple Tips

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.

Simple Tips

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.

Simple Tips

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.

Simple Tips

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.

Simple Tips

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.

Simple Tips

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.

Simple Tips

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.

Simple Tips

I design very large chunky jewellery so storage becomes a challenge. I have found that the Dollar Stores® hooks for clothing that hang on doors. They come single or multiple. These work really well and be sure to use on both sides of a door.

Simple Tips

CD holders made of wire make a nice display for hook earrings. The wires are about 1/2 inch apart, so they lend themselves nicely for earrings.

Simple Tips

For earring makers: I use an ice cube tray to store beads for earring projects. As I find pairs of beads in my bead boxes, I toss them into one of the compartments of the ice cube tray. When the tray is full, I have all the materials ready to go to make 16 pairs of earrings at one time.

Simple Tips

I reuse the clear plastic clam shell type packaging from crystals to display small earrings that I am selling. Easy to hang on a rack, and protective too.

Simple Tips

I use 7-day pill planners for storing beads 4mm and smaller. These work great. I like the 7-day size. There is a double size one with 14 compartments, but I find it cumbersome. So far I use them for crystals and glass beads. I may start using them for crimps, crimp covers, and all those tiny little parts we need to keep organized and at hand!

Simple Tips

For National Breast Cancer Awareness Month you may want to get a mammogram. When I went last week I asked for and received a pink sponge-like mat for beading which had been used to cushion the coldness of the machine from your skin. One side is spongy and secures your beads and the other side is sticky and keeps your mat stationary.
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