Beading Supplies Tips

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How should I organize my beading supplies for greater productivity?

Beading Supplies: Organizing for Efficiency

You have your beading supplies and you are starting your home business, now it is time to get organized and stay organized for maximum performance. You may not realize how much time you will waste in a disorganized workspace, time that could be spent finishing products that will reward you with a profit. The key to organizing your workspace is to find what works best for you. Everyone is different and works differently, but here are some ideas that can help keep your beading supplies in order and can be purchased easily through a beading and jewelry supply company.

Organize your Beads: This includes using bead storage containers, cases, and jars. Use a word program to not only keep track of your inventory, but to record where you purchased them as well.

Don't neglect your worktable. Keeping your worktable free of debris will allow you to be more productive. Make sure that you have adequate lighting as well.

Protect your Investment- Make sure that you store your equipment, tools, and supplies in containers that will prevent them from rusting, deteriorating, or fading. This is also true if your workroom is in an area that is subject to humidity.

   
What is a bead board?

Bead Board

If you are a beginner, all of the beading accessories out there can be intimidating. Bead boards are a great tool for the beginning jewelry maker and it is definitely something you will need to plan out your bead necklaces and bead bracelets. A bead board is used for quick and easy jewelry beading. A full size bead board has three channels for designing necklaces up to 46" and three straight channels for making bracelets and anklets up to 9". A large bead board has 10 storage bins for organizing beading supplies such as beads, findings and stringing materials. A small bead board comes with three channels for designing necklaces up to 34" and has six storage bins for beading supplies. Don't worry about starting small and building up your bead supply.

   
How can I save money and buy beading supplies in bulk?

Buying Beading Supplies in Bulk: Start a Co-op

A co-op is a cooperative effort. For those who are just starting out with their jewelry business, starting a co-op for the purpose of purchasing discount beading supplies is an excellent way to begin building your inventory. You can find other beaders through local community events, classes, and associations. This holds many advantages, first you can purchase large amounts of beading supplies in bulk through wholesale and discount beading supply companies. However, by sharing the cost with your fellow crafters, you will have access to more beads for less cost. This is also beneficial to finding new beads and testing their market value.

   
My crimp tubes and crimp beads always seem to either break or not close, what do I do?

Crimp Tubes and Crimp Beads

If you're having trouble with crimp tubes breaking or not closing, you should look at your tools, findings and your techniques. Crimping pliers should be used instead of regular pliers. If you're already using crimping pliers, they could be damaged, so check the surfaces that come in contact with the crimp. Be sure your crimp bead or crimp tube is just big enough for the wire to go through twice. Using too large a crimp bead can cause problems. The first time you squeeze the crimp, put the crimp into the depression closest to the handle that has a "V". Don't squeeze too hard, just enough to meet the other side. Next, place the crimp into the outer depression and squeeze gently. This should fold the two parts over onto themselves. If you still have problems with breakage, you may want to get a better quality crimp bead. Sometimes paying a little more can make the job so much easier.

   
How many pieces of jewelry should I make when starting my business?

Beading Supplies: Mastering Your Art Form

When choosing to enter the market field with your jewelry, you may not know where to begin. Purchasing beading supplies may seem overwhelming and there is an abundance of items to choose from. Try beginning by making one or two pieces only. Master the art of one style earrings, bracelets, or necklaces, and begin by creating a number of different pieces for this one series. After you have mastered that piece, tackle another. This saves on additional beading supplies and helps to build your expertise one piece at a time.

   
Why type of glue is used in jewelry making?

Bead Adhesive

Many online and local bead stores stock all the jewelry making supplies you will need, including any adhesives or glues you might need in your bead jewelry making. The next time you buy beads, stock up on epoxy adhesive. A two-part epoxy adhesive is used to glue cabochons and gemstones to flat findings, such as ear pads or brooch pins. If you want to glue beads to metal, china or glass, consider epoxy resins.

   
Should I include the cost of beading supplies in my business plan?

Including Beading Supplies in your Business Plan

If you are starting your own company, your first step should be to develop a well-written business plan. The business plan should contain all of your goals, marketing research, required inventory, beading supplies, and the financial data to keep your business flowing smoothly. You should carefully research the cost of purchasing beading supplies and equipment through your selected wholesale supply company and include the data in your business plan. Every successful business began with a business plan and studies prove that without a business plan, your jewelry making business has a significantly lowered chance of success.

   
How can I tell if I'm ready to buy beading supplies for my business?

Beading Supplies: Selling Your Own Jewelry for Fun and Profit

You've been wearing your jewelry for fun and after having a large amount of people admire your handiwork, you've considered making some beadwork to sell. If you are toying with the idea of starting your own business, but would like to test the waters first, then you may want to start acquiring some beading supplies and make a batch of jewelry for marketing purposes. Your gut instinct will tell you which pieces will be big sellers, but now it is time to put the hunch to the test.
Beginning with a small amount of beading and jewelry supply, create your designs and test the waters. Chances are if people in your surrounding environment are interested in purchasing them, others will too. After selling your first batch, try selling them at craft shows or on consignment.

   
How can I prevent my pliers from making nicks in my metal findings?

Preventing Nicks on Metal Findings

To prevent nicks or dents on metal findings or jewelry wire (such as sterling), there are a number of options.

If you do a LOT of wire work, there are special pliers with nylon inserts called Nylon Jaw Pliers.

If you need temporary protection (for just one project or attachment) get some of the "blue tape" that painters use to protect trim when painting. A couple layers of the tape will protect your metal items, yet still be thin enough to not affect the operation of the tool very much. When you are done, just pull the tape off - the "blue tape" does not leave any adhesive residue.

You can also make your own version of the padded jaw pliers. Buy an extra set of inexpensive pliers. Glue pieces of ultra suede or any soft rubbery material (old dishwashing gloves?) to the inside of the nose.

   
How many beading supplies should I buy for my first project?

Beading Supplies: Basics for Beginners

If you are new to beading and would like to know how many beading supplies to get, you can purchase a prepackaged kit that will include all of the items that you need. This is a great way to try beading without investing a lot of money. Kits vary in level from child to beginner adult, and even include tools such as scissors and wire cutters. You can typically find a kit that includes beading supplies from a beading and jewelry supply store ranging from $10.00-$50.00 depending upon the complexity of the project.

   
What materials can I use for bead stringing? Why would I choose one over another?

Stringing Beads

Besides jewelry supplies such as leather and wires, you can string your beads on soft stringing products such as hi-tech braided beading thread, clear elastic cord and clear monofilament cord. Hi-tech braided bead thread is much stronger than silk-based threads, more resistant to fraying and doesn't need to be stretched before using. It is pre-waxed and stronger than silk with a break rating of 20 pounds. You can also string beads on different thicknesses of laces and ribbons. Ribbons look good sewn onto brooch findings and earrings.

   
How many beads should I buy?

Beading Supplies: How Many Beads Should I Get?

When you are new to the business and art form of jewelry making you may wonder how many beads you should purchase. If you are just starting on your first beading project, your pattern will let you know how many beads to purchase, but if you are trying your hand at a new business venture, it can be a little confusing to figure out how many beads to purchase from a wholesale beading supply company. The first rule of thumb is to purchase as many beads as you can, in the style that you like. If a particular bead strikes your fancy, simply purchase as many as you can afford. This is especially true if you are shopping at closeout prices or through specialty bead shops. In this sense, it is better to err on the side of abundance rather than run out of your favorite beads and later discover that you can't find the same beads again. So if it is a vintage or closeout deal, buy as many as you can afford.

   
How can I prevent my thread from fraying when I cut it?

Embroidery Scissors

Get the most expensive ones you can afford and have them sharpened often. A clean cut through your thread with a pair of very sharp embroidery scissors will prevent fraying and make threading your needle much easier.

   
How many beading supplies should I purchase when buying wholesale?

Shopping Wholesale and Minimum Orders

As soon as you are ready to begin your own jewelry business, you will want to buy beading supplies through a wholesale beading supply company. First, you will need to obtain a wholesalers license and a tax ID. When shopping with wholesale companies, you will most likely need to purchase a minimum order. Be sure to begin with a company that requires a small minimum or no minimum until you are ready to buy beading supplies in larger quantities.

   
What type of data should I record when keeping track of beading supplies and inventory?

Beading Supplies: Keeping Track of Inventory

When beginning your new business, it is essential to keep track of your beading supplies by keeping inventory records. You will use various beading and jewelry supply companies, and over the years you will find some companies that have lower prices, greater customer service, even better products. It isn't uncommon to use one wholesale beading supply company for thread and another company for beads. Keeping track of your inventory involves more than just a record of purchases made. You should keep track of your impressions of their company service, how fast they delivered their products, and any personal impressions of the company that you feel are noteworthy. You can use an inventory software program or create your own data records through Microsoft Word or Excel. However, it is essential to keep these records as your business grows over the years.

   
What is a tambour hook?

Sequin Tool

A fantastic tool for quick embroidery or adding beads or sequins is a tambour hook. This is a tool that gets its name from the embroidery stand or tambour that holds the fabric while it's being embroidered. It's a needle-like tool with a tiny hook at the end that is often set in a wooden handle to make use easier. The thread is held by one hand on the bottom of the fabric while the other holds the tambour hook. The bead or sequin is slid up to the top part of the hook and the tip is inserted into the fabric. The hook picks up a loop of the thread and pulls it through the fabric and the bead before starting another stitch. This creates a running chain stitch that makes attaching beads or sequins quick. Tambour hooks or tambour needles can be purchased from most companies that sell embroidery supplies. Some beading suppliers also sell them.

   
How do I maintain my jewelry making tools? Why is it important to care for my tools?

Beading Tools

Invest in good jewelry findings and supplies before starting to make your own jewelry. A good set of tools, including pliers and a wide range of threads and wires will give you the breadth of material you need to be as creative as you want! You do need to maintain your tools and materials if you want them to last. Remember that tools for beads should only be used for jewelry making and beading. When you use your tools for other things you risk damaging them or getting materials on them which can transfer onto your jewelry project later. Consider wrapping your pliers' tips in masking tape when working with wire. You can avoid scratching both the wire (especially important when working with enameled or plated wire) and the tool itself. You can't create a masterpiece without the right materials!

   
What kind of tools do I need to start making jewelry?

Beading Pliers

One of the essential tools in jewelry making is a good set of beading pliers. There are several kinds and each has its strength in making your bead jewelry. Round-nosed pliers are terrific for bending wire. You'll also need these pliers to form loops to attach ear fittings for earrings and clasps for necklaces and bracelets. Flat-nosed pliers are useful, too, for holding jump rings when you need to bend them. Wire cutters (sometimes called "side cutters") are handy for snipping wire or beading cable. If you plan on using stranded beading cable, Crimping Pliers are an important tool to have. The best way to determine what you need is to decide what kind of necklace or jewelry you want to make and then build your tool collection accordingly.

   
What is the benefit of using a bead board for jewelry design?

Bead Board

A Bead board makes jewelry design and stringing much easier. The board's curved groove lets you arrange beads just like they'll appear around your neck. You can move them around until you are happy with the arrangement. The bead board also has a measuring scale so that you know whether your necklace or bracelet is the right length before you start stringing. Most bead boards also have compartments to hold and sort your beads as you design. Their are several different styles of boards available. Inexpensive but functional boards are made from molded plastic. The best ones have a fuzzy surface applied to the plastic to assist in keeping the beads in the place you set them.

   
What´s are good scissors for cutting thread close to my beadwork?

Toe Nail Scissors

Yes, toe nail scissors are great for beadwork! They are available just about everywhere. I like them for cutting thread as their curved cutting end allows me to cut the thread very close to the beadwork.

   
What are the different types of cords with which I can make jewelry?

Jewelry Cords

Many popular jewelry styles feature using beads with large holes, strung on a variety of interesting cording material, such as leather, cotton and hemp. Specifically you will find waxed cotton cords, Greek Leather and "Rattail" satin cords (jet black and very shiny). Leather will give your necklace a more earthy feel. Waxed cotton cord can be in lieu of leather or hemp. Rattail satin cord frays a bit when cut, so most bead jewelry making books suggest dipping the cut end in fabric glue. The cord is about 1.5mm thick and is sold in custom cut pieces by the yard or by the full spool. Think about the style of jewelry you want to design or get some of each kind of cord to experiment!

   
What´s the best light to bead with?

Lighting

Good lighting is essential! At the very least, you should have a desk lamp or clip-on light at your workspace. If you can afford it, the best light is an OTT Light. It provides bright, full-spectrum lighting that allows you to see the true colors of your beads. It's also the best light for preventing eyestrain.

   
What beadworking tools should you always have on hand?

What's In the Beading Supply Tool Box?

The beading tools in you tool box contents differ, depending on what kind of beading you plan to do.

Off-loom beading: beading needles, extra-long beading needles, small scissors, thread conditioner (Thread Heaven or bees wax), plastic trays or small containers for holding beads that are in the process of being used, an emery board, and clear nail polish for sealing knots, a pair of needle-nose pliers (for pulling a needle through a tight bead) and wire cutters, in case you need to break a bead in the middle of your piece.

Jewelry Stringing (bracelets and necklaces): needle nosed pliers with a smooth (non-serrated) gripping surface, round nosed pliers, wire cutters (light duty), utility tweezers, bead design board (for laying out the design before stringing - and to determine finished length), crimping pliers (if using crimps with products such as Beadalon or Acculon). Optional tools that may be useful for certain types of jewelry: Split nosed pliers or tweezers (for holding split rings open just enough to slip findings onto them), a bead reamer (for filing rough edges inside of bead that may cut your stringing material) and a jump ring opener/closer (if you use lots of open jump rings in your designs).

Earring construction: needle nosed pliers with a smooth (non-serrated) gripping surface, round nosed pliers (for forming loops), wire cutters (light duty), utility tweezers (sometimes good for grasping small beads)

Wire wrap jewelry: needle nosed pliers with a smooth (non-serrated) gripping surface, round nosed pliers, wire cutters (may want to invest in flush cutting pliers), wire "jig" (for forming intricate shapes, loops and links), a coiling jig (for making well formed wire coils (spring shapes), fine diamond file (filing rough ends), nylon jaw pliers (to avoid marking wire)

   
What are the different types of beading looms?

Bead Weaving and Bead Looms

Are you interested in bead weaving? You will definitely need a beading loom. When you visit an online bead store, check out the variety beading looms. A good bead store offers plastic, metal and wooden looms. If you are looking to explore bead weaving as a hobby, plastic looms are inexpensive. Metal looms seem to be the mid-range option. They are longer lasting and hold the threads in springs while the thread is wound on wooden rolls. More expensive wooden looms last longer and are usually larger than metal ones.

   
How do I open a split ring?

Opening Split Rings

If you are going to do a lot of split rings, I suggest a special tool called a split ring pliers. This kind of pliers has a tip that will hold the ring open slightly so that you can slip your clasp (or charm, or whatever part) onto the ring.

Split rings are particularly sensitive to being opened too far. Open the ring just enough to slip it over your jewelry parts. If the ring still becomes distorted, you are using too small of a ring for the application.

   
What can I use to scoop up my beads?

Baby Spoon Bead Scoop

My favorite scoop for beads is a baby spoon. You can usually find these for pennies at a thrift store or garage sale. The long handle makes it easy to scoop beads out of a baggie and their tapered end makes putting beads back in those tubes a breeze!

   
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Guru Spotlight
Jerry Mayo