Beading Tools: Where Do I Start?

Aug 19, 2013

It's easy for beginning beaders to get carried away when presented with an array of beading tools. Heck, it's easy for ME to get carried away when presented with an array of beading tools, too! It seems like there's always something new and exciting in the world of beading tools, and while I'm at Bead Fest Philadelphia this weekend, I'm definitely going to be on the lookout for any useful beading tools I can add to my collection.

Do you ever wonder if there's anything missing in your collection of beading tools? Or maybe you have too many beading tools, and you want to cut back? Here are a few suggestions for making sure you have a well-stocked tool box, without going off the deep end!

Beading Tools for Every Beader

No matter what type of jewelry-making you like to do, a set of high-quality jewelry-making pliers is a must for every beader. Because these can be used for so much more than just wirework or wire jewelry-making, it's important that you find the best quality tools that you can afford. At the very least, make sure you have each of the following: chain nose pliers, round nose pliers, flat nose pliers, and a pair of flush cutters. If you do a lot of wirework in your jewelry-making projects, consider purchasing a combination pliers (one jaw round and one flat), and a good wire straightener.

Of course, a good set of tools can really break your budget, so consider adding them to your collection of beading tools one at a time as you can afford them. Over the long term, using high quality beading tools really DOES make a difference!

Other Basic Beading Tools

For those of us who do oodles of bead-weaving, a good pair of embroidery scissors and a thread cutter are absolute necessities. I'm in love with my Fiskars embroidery scissors, so much so that I have two pairs of them, and for cutting my Fireline and WildFire beading threads, nothing compares to my heavy-duty Fireline scissors from Xuron.

Embroidery scissors are indispensable for doing bead embroidery, where you'll find yourself doing lots of fine cuts to trim both your bead embroidery medium and your leather or suede backings. Keep your embroidery scissors sharp, and just like your jewelry-making pliers, investing in a high-quality pair of embroidery scissors will be a smart move in the long run.

Other items that are a must-have for your set of beading tools include a color wheel (a small, portable color wheel that can be tucked into my tote bag is a must for bead shopping these days), a ruler, and a good tape measure, all of which can be found at pretty much any craft store or local bead shop. Once you start working with these beading tools on a regular basis, you'll wonder how you ever got by without them!

Go For a Little Luxury

It's fun to splurge a little now and then, right? Don't forget about your beading tools when you think you might deserve a little treat! In the last few years, I've tried out the Bead On It Board and the CraftOptics telescopes, and they are most definitely worth every penny. Yes, you can always bead on a clean dish towel or an inexpensive velvet jewelry pad, but there are benefits to using a well-made bead mat. And, really, there's nothing wrong with a little luxury when it comes to your beading tools, because after all, you (and your beading projects!) are worth it!

Speaking of luxury... Have you seen the Fall 2013 issue of  Jewelry Stringing magazine? With 75 new jewelry-making projects, including Debbie Blair's Gold Mine, you can make jewelry that makes you feel like a million bucks! Plus, you'll find the latest and greatest in handy beading tools, trends in jewelry making, and heaps of inspiration from your favorite jewelry designers. Subscribe to Jewelry Stringing magazine and give yourself the gift of beading bliss.

Do you have a suggestion for beading tools that should be in every beader's collection? Leave a comment here on the Beading Daily blog and tell us about them!

Bead Happy,


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Judy Sanders wrote
on Aug 19, 2013 8:00 AM

What about a crimping tool? I find that essential however, I have heard there is a newly designed one out there that is really good. I would like to know more about it.

jrabbott47 wrote
on Aug 19, 2013 8:23 AM

The one tool I cannot do without is my jewelers screwdriver. I work with size 11 and 15 seed beads on a Mirrix loom and I'm always needing it for something or another. It's really great for separating sticking warps.


Rose Mary Abbott

Amybeader wrote
on Aug 19, 2013 8:34 AM

You don't need an expensive, heavy duty pair of scissors for cutting Fireline and similar beading/fishing lines! A nice, cheap pair of Fiskars children's scissors will do the job just fine. There's a great story about how one of the developers of PowerPro discovered this by accident, his kids got ahold of some of the stuff when he'd brought it home and he was finding bits of it cut up around the house. They were using their kid's scissors, which totally blew him away.

on Aug 19, 2013 9:01 AM

Question- I have used a combination plier in a class situation and found it quite useful.  Have had trouble locating one to purchase for home use.  Any recommendations on where to find one or a brand?

Thanks for the article today!  A good light is one essential tool for me!

jlee1057 wrote
on Aug 19, 2013 11:15 AM

Am I the only one has trouble with beads rolling into the crevices of the Bead On It Board? I find it really frustrating having to continually dig them out, especially the small sizes like 15/0s. .

Raymax wrote
on Aug 19, 2013 11:39 AM

I love your articles and would love to print them out without getting all the blogs. I would just like the article with the info and pictures because they are so helpful . Thanks, Dee

Dekwa55 wrote
on Aug 23, 2013 7:35 AM

Does anyone have any recommendations as far as a 1 step 3 step or 6 step looper? I have so much trouble with eye pins and ear wires, Thanks

Sandy Kania wrote
on Aug 25, 2013 7:50 AM

# 1 Beading tool??? magnifying glasses

SueK@59 wrote
on Apr 28, 2015 12:48 PM

Yes, the Bead-on-it Board is a bit of an investment, but I don't know how I got along without mine.  It's aesthetically pleasing- I feel good just getting it out to use, but it functions better than any other surface I've tried. It.confines the beads and tools even when it is tipped a little. Other surfaces shift or spill everything with tiny motions, which never improves my mood.Now if they could develop some kind of snap-on lid,. That would be better than the big zip-lock I use between beading sprees.

SueK@59 wrote
on Apr 28, 2015 1:57 PM

May I ask a question here? I've spent hours today surfing lots of sites, but haven't found an answer. Is Thread Heaven a microcrystalline wax? If not., can someone direct me to a brand name and, ideally, a source? Thanks so much!