25 Beading Tips Learned Along The Way

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While I haven’t been at this that long, I have picked up a few tips I think are worth sharing.

  1. place a ruler at the edge of your worktable (near your chest) to stop beads from rolling off
  2. surround yourself with beading mats for your handy tools, no one likes to hear the sound of you constantly putting your flat nose pliers down on the table, over and over and over
  3. gather up what you “think” you will need before you begin a new project and keep those supplies within an arm’s reach to prevent interruptions
  4. when Plan A isn’t working, take a break, take a nap, sleep on it, a fix usually surfaces. Embrace your Plan B’s when it doesn’t.
  5. save imperfect beads for projects that don’t require perfection, don’t throw them out
  6. when you finish a project, continue to keep “those beads” on your work table for a few days, you are bound to find stray beads later.
  7. work under really good light. I have two Ott-Lites. A floor model and a portable one with handle.
  8. until you are able to eyeball bead sizes, keep the labels that came with the beads. If you transfer beads to a different container, move the label too.
  9. beads you are sure you will never, never, ever use… donate, giveaway, get them out of sight so you aren’t wasting valuable “thinking” time when you see them in your bead stash.
  10. wrap clear plastic packing tape around your hand, get down on your hands and knees to search the floor for wayward beads (or use a Crafter’s Vacuum)
  11. don’t throw out leftover lengths of beading thread, I use them when practicing a new stitch. Same with stringing wire. Keep anything longer than 12″.
  12. keep small baggies and small containers handy to keep projects organized
  13. to keep searching to a minimum, store like items together, such as clasps, spacers, jumprings
  14. if having trouble threading a needle, stick the tip of another needle through the eye opening, it could be clogged with thread conditioner
  15. when an idea hits me, I gather up like or complementary items and put them in a ziplock bag. When the mood hits, I reach for one of those project bags.
  16. eventually you will have to replace your beading tools, but hang on to the old ones. I use them for things such as pulling needles through stitches.
  17. hold up your finished item to the light and look for strands of thread fibers sticking out through the beads, use your “good” flat nose pliers to get a good grip on the fibers to pull out.
  18. store your finished jewelry in baggies to protect the metal used. You can also buy special anti-tarnishing bags and strips.
  19. make a note of ideas immediately, make a sketch, don’t let the next best thing since sliced bread vanish into thin air!!
  20. I keep a journal of date started/finished, supplies used, where purchased, measurements. Useful when offering items for sale; gold-plated, gold filled, sterling silver, etc.
  21. when designing make note of number of beads used. Example: to remake that perfect peyote toggle you made last month, check your notes. String 14 seedbeads (8/0) and peyote 4 rows. Your notes will prove useful and save designing time.
  22. keep manufacturer labels, you never know when you might need the exact name of something, color, measurements, details on how to purchase more.
  23. one of my favorite items I reach for again and again probably cost 10 cents. A red plastic spoon. I use it all the time to dish out beads when beginning a project. Separate colors. Scoop up beads when finished, to return to their containers.
  24. take photos, you will need them for craft show applications, contests, eBay, Etsy or just for your own enjoyment.
  25. Remember to have FUN!!