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Beading Essentials Top Ten Tips

My Favourite Beading Tools

by Lynn Firth

Lynn has been beading for over over 20 years and understands that setting youself up with a new hobby can be quite daunting. What materials should you buy, what are the best tools to use, what beads should I start with, so many questions.

Lynn gives you her Top Ten Tips of what you might like to  have in your beading kit and, of course, if you have any questions on anything you are more than welcome to contact us at the Studio.

1.Tulip beading needlesThese needles are great and are available in long or short lengths and various sizes.They are very forgiving and won't bend like a normal beading needle. Bent needles I find difficult to pick up and use again, you never hold them in exactly the same place, so my go to needles are alway Tulip.

2. Tulip Awl is one of my "essential" tools and always on my beading mat. The awl is a metal point inserted into a plastic handle and is just brilliant when you need, as we all do, to unpick your beadwork or to unravel a tangled thread.

3. Bead On It Beading Board. I understand the Bead On It Boards are expensive but they are a worthy investment if you are hooked on beading. Seed beads fall hole side up making it much easier to pick up the beads and with the bumper around the edge offer a safe beading surface from spills. If you are just trying beadwork for the first time then a beading mat on a table or lap tray will suffice.

4. Good sharp small scissors are essential for cutting the beading thread. If you use blunt scissors you end up without a sharp cut to the thread which can make threading a needle more tricky. Don't use your thread scissors to cut Fireline, Supplemax, or Wildfire though as they will blunt the scissors very quickly (see below).

5. Xuron High Durability Snips are what I use for cutting the threads mentioned above. They are sharp and precise and won't blunt with these tough threads. Again, these are an investment and well worth it if you are going to use Fireline frequently as I do. If not for you at the moment keep an old pair of scissors just for these threads.

6. A good light. Good lighting is essential for beading and, if you can, sit near a window whilst beading during the day. In the evenings or on dull days use a good light with a Daylight effect bulb which will give less eye strain and make colour matching easier.

7. Bead scoops are very useful for collecting up the beads and putting them back in their boxes or tubes. They come in various shapes and sizes and my favourite is the Scoop Eez. This is a curved long metal tool and you can just scoop the beads up using the curved side and then, with the pointed end, tip them safely back into their tube. 

8. Bead storage. We all need this as it's not long before you have accumulated lots of different beads but don't know where to put them and I love storage boxes, have tried many systems over the years, but my favourite is the Bead Storage Tray. This is a tray which homes individual storage containers inside. Mine has 78 of the "Tiny Containers" which are just perfect to take the quantities from our 3" and 2" bead tubes.

9. Microcrystaline Wax is great when you need to "firm up a thread". It is not sticky like beeswax so I find it easier and nicer to use when I need it.

10. Thread Zapper. This is not an essential tool but something that is really useful to have. The Thread Zapper is a metal tipped tool that heat up via two AA batteries. You place your thread inside the metal loop, push the button on the Thread Zapper and it will then heat up and melt your thread away. This can help give a neat finish to those tiny threads you can't snip off with scissors.