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Beading on a Budget Tips — Storage and Supplies

Baby Spoon Bead Scoop
There are special bead scoops you can purchase at jewelry stores; however, a more economical version is a baby spoon. These can be purchased very inexpensive at thrift stores and garage sales. You may even have some stored away. The small spoon makes it easy to scoop out beads from bags, or return them to those small tubes.
Bead Board
Bead boards come in handy for beaded jewelry making, as the curved groove mimics the shape and feel of how a necklace will look around your neck, or a bracelet around your wrist. Many bead boards come with holders for the beads and measurements. If you are concerned about the cost of a bead board, inexpensive plastic boards can be purchased for around $6 in most jewelry beading supply stores, and can save you a lot of time and aggravation in your jewelry making projects.
Beading Pliers
If you are just starting out with making beaded jewelry, but don't want to spend a lot of money on beading supplies to get started, here are the bare essentials you will need. You will need a set of beading pliers, such as round nosed or flat nosed. A small pair of wire cutters is handy for clipping off wire at the end of the project. You will also need beads, and thread or wire to string the beads with. Those are the basic essentials to getting started with making beaded jewelry. As you create more projects, and expand your skills, you can better determine what tools would be of further use.
Making Your Own Big-Eye Needle
If you're looking to save a bit of money, consider making your own bead stringing needle. Cut a piece of wire twice as long as the final length of the needle. 18 gauge or thinner is a good size for this project. Fold the wire in half, making a small loop in the center and twist the rest of the lengths tightly around one another until you reach the ends.
Bead Storage Container Options
Finding the best bead storage container for your needs is crucial for organization. There are many bead storage containers on the market, which can range from inexpensive to quite pricey. The best features to look for in any bead storage unit are clear containers, same size containers that stack and containers that are easy to label. If you are looking for a less expensive way to store your beads, consider using small zip bags for each kind of bead, and store them in a Tupperware container. To label, you can write on zips using a permanent marker, such as a "Sharpie". This will get the job done, and keep your beading area clean and organized.
Bead Storage Tip
Using zip bags for bead storage is an economical way to store your supplies. However, on occasion when you open the bags, some may seem to jump out at you when you try to pour them out. To solve this problem lightly blow into the zip bag, and the moisture will calm down those jumpers. Instead of pouring the beads, you may want to consider using a bead spoon, or a baby spoon to scoop out what you need.
Flip Top Boxes
There are several ways you can store seed beads. One of the easiest is the use of flip top boxes (like a tic tac container). You can purchase new ones or simply recycle old Tic Tac containers. More inexpensive ideas include old film canisters and prescription bottles. Just make sure that they are washed and clean prior to use.
Toe Nail Scissors
You will want a pair of small scissors to cut thread on your beadwork projects. While you can purchase specialty scissors for the job, a more economical way is to use a pair of toe nail scissors. You can find these almost anywhere, including dollar stores or discount stores. The curve works well for cutting close to the beadwork and findings, and you won't break your bank on an expensive pair of scissors.
What's In the Beading Supply Tool Box?
Your beading tools will vary depending on the type of work that you do. However, standard tools for most tool boxes include smooth needle nose pliers and rounded pliers. Below is a list of essential tools for a variety of beading techniques. Off-loom beading: You will need to have beading needles, small scissors, thread conditioner, small containers for beads in use, emery board clear nail polish (sealing knots), needle nose pliers and wire cutters. Most of these items can be picked up at a dollar store, and do not need to be specialty beading tools. Jewelry Stringing: You will need a smooth set of needle nosed pliers (two if you use jump rings), round nosed pliers, wire cutters, tweezers, and a bead design board. You can purchase specality tools such as a jump ring opener/closer, but to save money, you really only need two sets of needle nosed pliers. Earring Construction: You will need smooth needle nosed pliers, round nosed pliers, wire cutters and tweezers. Wrap wire jewelry: You will need smooth needle nosed pliers, a wire jig, coiling jig, fine diamond file and nylon jaw pliers.
Colored Copper Wire
Copper wire comes in a wide variety of colors these days, such as silver, red, green, purple and more. Copper wire is pliable yet strong, and perfect for making copper jewelry. You can use it for bead stringing, making wire forms, wire wrapping, and more! Copper wire generally comes on a spool or coil and comes in a variety of gauges. Copper wire is perfect for beading on a budget, because of it is inexpensive and versatile.
Starter Kits and Package Deals
You can purchase jewelry making supplies at a discount if you look for starter kits or pliers package deals. Keep an eye out for closeout sales and other clearance specials. You can purchase what you need to get started and slowly upgrade your jewelry making supplies as necessary.