THOSE are Beading Supplies?

Oct 10, 2011

Yep, we beaders are definitely a creative and thrifty bunch. When it comes to our beading supplies, there are lots of items that we "borrow" from other crafts that work just as well when it comes to our beloved beads!

Recently, I discovered a few really great beading supplies and beading tools that do double-time as supplies for other crafts and hobbies!

Yes, we beaders can get pretty creative when it comes to our beading supplies! Pictured above: fishing line cutters, plastic rings (used for crocheted potholders) and floss bobbins.

Thread bobbins. I hijacked these beading supplies from the cross-stitch and embroidery section of my local craft store. These handy little plastic thread bobbins are perfect for when I start a project with an extra-long length of beading thread. I wrap the thread around the bobbin starting in the center and use the first half. Then when I'm ready to start beading the other side of the project, I just unwind the thread, add a needle and go! No worries about adding a new thread. You can find these thread bobbins in both plastic and cardboard. (I prefer the plastic ones because they hold up longer.)

Rapala fishing-line cutters. A few weeks ago, my husband was looking for something to cut the fishing line on his favorite fishing reel, and his eyes fell on the Rapala cutters on my beading tray. "Rapala?" he spluttered. Well, of course it makes sense: since I use Fireline for pretty much all of my beadweaving projects these days, these scissors are the perfect cutters for me! You can find these scissors at most outdoor stores in the fishing section. (Right next to the Fireline.)

Tackle boxes. And speaking of fishing gear - one of my all-time favorite bead storage and carrying cases is this soft-sided tackle box that I found in a local department store. The big advantage here was the price: it cost me less than half of what I would have paid for a similar carrying and storage case had I purchased it through a regular beading supply company. Another benefit of this tackle box/bead storage bag is that it has lots and lots of pockets for my color wheel, sketchbook, extra pens, and other beading supplies!

Another reason to hit the outdoor supply store with my husband: I scored my favorite tackle box/beading tote!

Dental floss threader. These beading supplies can come in handy for keeping your teeth shiny and clean, too! A few years ago while pregnant with my son, I discovered that using my dental floss threader was a great way to get my beading wire through a tight spot. (One of many things that I discovered while dealing with pregnancy-related insomnia during the long nights of winter!) To use a dental floss threader, slip your beading wire through the large hole, leaving a short tail. Insert the long end of the threader into the bead and pull gently until the beading wire is through the bead. These beading supplies are great for when you just need that little extra "oomf!" to get your beading wire where it needs to be.

Plastic craft rings. My mom and my grandmother used to make crocheted potholders, and they made a LOT of crocheted potholders. Consequently, we always had lots of these little plastic rings around the house when I was a kid. Well, in her latest book, Rachel Nelson-Smith has come up with a brilliant use for these little rings: bead around them and make them into custom beaded toggle clasps for your beadwork! They are the perfect size for necklace toggles, and you can use either herringbone stitch or right-angle weave to make easy custom toggles for all your handmade jewelry projects!

Take a good look through your bead and crafting supplies: which of your beading supplies is pulling double duty? Leave a comment and share your favorite "unusual" beading supplies with us here on the blog!

Bead Happy,


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on Oct 12, 2011 3:41 PM

I have a range of knitting needles, usually orphan ones from a local charity shop, that I use as mandrels to make jump rings.

My partner who works in Polymer clay has "borrowed" my icing tubes to make patterns in the clay!

nysart8902 wrote
on Oct 12, 2011 4:08 PM

We use a tackle box from Flambeau for our supplies when we do shows. It's got 6 large boxes where we keep beads, and a small box that we keep most of our findings in. We're talking about getting another one, so I have one to carry pre-made kits I make for myself when I travel to horse shows.

I think I'l be looking for the Rapala fishing-line cutters or something similar when we go out to Walmart tonight. I've been looking for something to cut the Fireline, since my scissors are tearing the thread more then cutting.

WeaveABead wrote
on Oct 12, 2011 5:31 PM

I use tweezers to flatten the end of the heavier weights of fireline. I just pull about an inch of fireline through the pinched tweezers.  The flattened fireline goes right through the eye of the needle.

TashaMc wrote
on Oct 13, 2011 2:24 AM

Most of my pliers - and my wire cutters - are from the local electrical supplier. My travel kit is a carpenters' bag. I use a piece of rubber tubing as a grip for pulling needles through tight spaces. But my absolute favourite non-beady beady supply is my 'bead mat': I use waffle-weave tea towels from the local pound shop (dollar store?). Beads are trapped in the weave so don't roll around, they cost just 20p each and they are completely washable!

ShoshanaCB wrote
on Oct 19, 2011 2:40 PM

Love this blog post because I think that artist need to be inventive when it comes to supplies. There is no need to buy everything at our local bead or craft stores (which can be so over priced!). I look to thrift stores to find supplies, like baskets, storage containers and some places have fabrics, findings etc. Even buying old jewelry can be awesome for unique beads and findings!

eliz1967 wrote
on Oct 31, 2011 1:42 PM

I uus an ice cream maker with a bowl on top for an electric version of a bead spinner. Works really well!


AJBeader wrote
on Jun 26, 2012 10:25 PM

I havge found some of the coolest supplies!! I have seen this stuff on the web before (I guess it's getting quite popular), but i couldnt believe this places prices! I saw them at Bead and Button a few weeks ago and i am really bummed i didnt see them before making some other purchases. I can't get over the quality for the price... and they even wholesale! This place is a well kept secret and I am telling all my fellow bead-a-holics about it!.

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