Tips for Traveling With Your Beading Tools

May 20, 2013

It's that time of year again -- I can't believe that summer is back already! Pretty soon, I'll be packing my bags and hitting the road for places like Bead Fest Philadelphia, a couple of trips down to do some serious bead shopping in New York City, and ending my summer travels with a trip to the Colorado Bead Retreat, hosted by Beyond Beadery's Betcey Ventrella.

Of course, while I'm on the road in various planes, trains, and automobiles, I'll have some beading projects with me to keep me busy, and I'll have to bring along my beading tools for the fabulous workshops at Bead Fest Philadelphia and the Colorado Bead Retreat.

Traveling with beading tools isn't always the easiest thing to do: there are security rules at airports and plenty of opportunity to lose or misplace beading tools while you're on the road. But I've got a couple of ideas for ways I can keep my beading tools (and my beading projects) organized while I travel this summer!

Of all my finds at last year's Bead Fest Philadelphia, I'm completely smitten with this luxurious tool wrap from Lisa Kan. It's an extremely well-constructed beading tool wrap, with plenty of pockets for your jewelry pliers (like my favorite heavy duty Fireline cutters from Xuron), and a zippered pocket where you can stash a needle case, bead scoops, and other tiny beading tools that make beading on the road easier.
If you're planning to spend a lot of time on airplanes and need a sturdy, compact organizer with a built-in bead tray, Ezel Finding's new Beading Pal is my first choice. With plenty of straps for organizing your beading tools, seed bead tubes, and a handy mesh pocket for small spools of thread, this is the essential beader's travel kit. It zippers shut all around, and is small enough to tuck into a large purse or your carry-on bags, leaving plenty of room for other travel essentials.
For cutting your beading thread, you might have to improvise a little if you're planning on taking your beading projects with you on an airplane. Since airport security can vary widely between airports, I prefer to stash my favorite thread cutters in my checked bags and instead make sure that I have a new, sharp finger nail cutter tucked into my kit of beading tools. It works in a pinch, and I save the really fine trimming of threads for when I get to my hotel and can use my scissors.

Of course, for reading material, I've have a few issues of Beadwork magazine tucked into my tote bag, and downloaded onto my tablet computer. Beadwork magazine has always been my number one source for inspiration and information when it comes to beading tools, new beads, and of course, extravagant and innovative beaded jewelry designs. Subscribe to Beadwork magazine today and take your inspiration to go during your summer travels!

Do you travel often with your beads? Do you have any tips for us beady travelers? Or maybe you have a question about traveling with your beads, and you'd like some feedback from our readers! Leave a comment or question here on the Beading Daily blog and let's share our experiences and advice for traveling with our beads!

Bead Happy,

Jennifer


Related Posts
+ Add a comment

Comments

on May 20, 2013 5:53 AM

I keep a tiny keychain flashlight in my traveling beading workshop, to help finding beads that drop and roll under a chair in the waiting room or down the side of the seat in the car. It's come in handy a number of times. I also have a small clip-on light that I take with me, for beading in dim light. I always surprises me how bad  the lighting is in so many places!

pdu2pdu2 wrote
on May 20, 2013 6:27 AM

Personally I do not find beading the most portable activity for me  but sitting still there is little else I would want to  be doing.

Don't know what side fireline you use but primarily I use 6lb and rarely 8lb  and

if I didn't have access to a scissor I have  found that those plastic letter openers which is merely a one sided razor blade and I try not to use it to open letters to keep the blade sharp will do when i have nothing else available.  Just make a loop with my fireline  and run the letteropen so that the thread his the blade and with a little tug against the blade and the fireline is cut.  I too save the  added threads for a time when I have my scissors nearby,.    It's an idea in a pinch.,

Loued007 wrote
on May 20, 2013 7:06 AM

I use a dental floss container to cut thread and fireline on a plane.  Or, there is a sewing notion called a thread cutter pendant that can hang from a cord and it looks like a necklace.  This is a wonderful cutter I wear on airplanes.

Crafters love gadgets and organizers, and the Beading Pal is certainly well thought out.  But it's $100.  Perhaps Ezel can make them out of different material and bring the price WAYYYY down.  I'm sure they would sell at $25.

Thanks for all of your blogs!

on May 20, 2013 7:21 AM

I've found my memory wire (flush) cutters to be good all purpose (for wire, thread, fireline etc) if I only have room for one cutter while traveling. Anybody else have input on this? And of course my miniature pliars go everywhere.

sillybart wrote
on May 20, 2013 7:44 AM

I've had beading needle and embroidery needle taken off me on the flight, on seperate occasions. Anybody got a solution for this problem?

Kjsuke wrote
on May 20, 2013 7:54 AM

These are great tips. Thank you. I do a lot of crochet beaded wire projects while on a plane. One crochet hook Doesn't seem to cause much trouble. And I use my nail clippers to trim the 24/26 gauge wire.

I was wondering I'm traveling to New York for the first time this summer do you have any suggestions for bead store(s) I shouldn't miss?  Your help would be appreciated. Thank you.

Kris.

on May 20, 2013 8:40 AM

When I first learned to bead in 2001, my husband and I traveled and worked out of a motorhome.  A flat comparmentalized plastic box intended for fishing tackle worked really well for storing small ziptop bags of beads.  For tools and larger items, I bought a flat plastic box with a latch at an office supply store.  I remember it was called a "project box" and was probably intended for kids to keep crayons, scissors and construction paper in.  I lined a square cardboard candy box with pieces of rubber matting to do my beading in and also to keep works-in-progress in.  I still use these three items to this day.

magpiet wrote
on May 20, 2013 12:39 PM

I live in Alaska and do a lot of travel, which means sitting in airports a lot or being on long flights.  I use a Frisbee with a piece of bead mat cut in a circle to fit the bottom and extend a bit up the sides as a lining and another circle as a top.  I put pre-cut pieces of Fireline under the mat.  I store it all in a one-gallon zip plastic bag.  The curved edges of the Frisbee keep the beads from sloshing out.  The work surface is large enough to provide a real work platform but small enough to fit on an airplane tray or a lap.  The new sticky mats will probably improve this system.  These bagged Frisbees stack so I can take several projects in  carry-on luggage.  This system doesn't allow for fine finishing work, but as several people have commented, you can do that later.  I've never had TSA take any part of this set up away -- needles can be just run through the matting, no scissors.  I keep one of those Clover thread cutters -- the one that looks like a pendant -- under the mat.  Those also survive TSA.  

on May 20, 2013 12:59 PM

I have never crocheted with beads, but would love to learn to do it ,do you have a beginners pattern I could try       Email address.  s2names@yahoo.com

katchmoleen wrote
on May 20, 2013 2:32 PM

I use project boxes from the office supply store to make beading portable. I get the ones that are about 10x12 and I put in a small pencil box to hold my beads, scissors, thread, and needles. I then line the remaining area with one inch foam and put a beading surface on that. Over the top I put a 1/2 inch piece of foam. I have also found it helpful to have a piece of cloth that folds over the whole project. I have one of these boxes for each project so I can just grab and go. The foam keeps the loose beads in place so I don't have to put everything away, and the piece of cloth to fold around it all is just a little extra security (I had a box pop open once when my husband was not as careful as he should have been loading it into the car, but the folded cloth kept it all in place.)

dolce@3 wrote
on May 20, 2013 6:49 PM

Thank you for the wonderful traveling ideas!  I own many zip-around pencil cases to carry beads and projects.  (Purchased cheaply around Back to School events.)  When working on multiple projects at the same time, each is contained in their own color easy to grab and go!

mslhedge wrote
on May 21, 2013 11:26 AM

Love the Ezel Bead Pal but $100???

Stella@30 wrote
on May 22, 2013 3:14 AM

Beading certainly made a recent UK-Australia flight more bearable. From the information on the airline's website I thought my thread cutter pendant would be problematic as it contained a fixed blade, but the cutter on a dental floss container was perfectly adequate and raised no alarms. I have a stack of empty 200 ml body moisturiser tubs for travel projects; the screw top lid keeps everything secure and doubles up as a mini work surface when space is tight.

on May 22, 2013 10:04 AM

I travel a lot and for long distances and I take a lot of beading projects with me. I use a soft toiletry bag with pockets to help organize my tools and projects. I use a thread cutter pendant to cut my threads. I keep it in the bag and don't wear it. No one has ever taken it away from me from the airlines. I tried bringing cut fire line and/or Nyoman thread but they got tangled and noted

I use a small tin box with a pice of bead a lot tacky bead  mat cut to size inside the box to hold the beads still.

I also keep a pair of clip on magnifiers on the bag to help me thread the needle better. Especially during turbulance.

on May 22, 2013 10:04 AM

I travel a lot and for long distances and I take a lot of beading projects with me. I use a soft toiletry bag with pockets to help organize my tools and projects. I use a thread cutter pendant to cut my threads. I keep it in the bag and don't wear it. No one has ever taken it away from me from the airlines. I tried bringing cut fire line and/or Nyoman thread but they got tangled and noted

I use a small tin box with a pice of bead a lot tacky bead  mat cut to size inside the box to hold the beads still.

I also keep a pair of clip on magnifiers on the bag to help me thread the needle better. Especially during turbulance.

wdb5252 wrote
on May 22, 2013 5:10 PM

I have been trying to juggle my job as a cab driver with my beading hobby so I have been searching relentlessly for anything that would allow me to transport my beads and supplies without being too bulky and cumbersome. I shop my local thrift stores and I have found several large sized makeup bags with zippered compartments that work perfectly. As for the bead tray, I found one similar to the one pictured for about

2 dollars, it zips all the way around and has a netted compartment to hold tubes of beads or small tools. I cut up a piece of bead mat to fit it. For those of us on a budget, go to thrift stores or yard sales and just keep an eye out for small compact cases and nice sized makeup bags that may suit your purpose.

scsuber wrote
on May 25, 2013 2:33 PM

I use a rectangle make up bag that zips around. Looks almost identical to the Beading Pal.  Just not quite as pricey.

pschraff wrote
on Jun 9, 2013 1:17 PM

I noticed my sister-in-law's key chain had a white key. Having never seen a white key before, I asked her what it unlocked.  Turns out it's a small razor blade that slides out of the long end!!  Her mom found it somewhere.  I think that would be convenient and wouldn't arouse suspicion!  Also, check out diabetes kit bags at your local drugstores or medical supply stores.  They usually have wonderful pockets, meshed pockets, and holders for tools.  They also come in a variety of sizes.  You can also find them (sometimes really inexpensive compared to kits designed for beading) on Ebay.