[Video] 9 Essential Items For Beaders

by Mandi Ainsworth on March 21, 2013

I know many of my readers are intermediate to advanced beaders, but I want to have some more posts on the basics so we can corrupt invite beginners into our community and help them get started.

  1. Project Box- Helps keep you organized and its portable if you want to take your projects with you. I prefer Snap ‘N Stack.
  2. Beads- Many basic projects can be completed using only size 11 seed beads. I have several free projects using a variety of beads that are suitable for beginners.
  3. Needles- Most of mine are size 10 or 12, and I’m not too picky on the brand. Size 12 has a bigger eye, and a good size to start with. I forgot to mention Tulip needles, which are stronger and don’t bend as easily. Those are great if you use them before you lose them.
  4. Thread- experiment and figure out what you like best. I prefer One G or K.O. but many beaders I know like Fireline. It’s a fishing line that is carried at sporting good stores and bead shops. I think 6lb clear would be a good choice to start with.
  5. Scissors- Sharp scissors are essential for thread, but grab a pair of cheap, kid-friendly scissors for Fireline.
  6. Scoop- I was beading for years and years before I discovered this! Really does make clean up a snap.
  7. Pen- For writing notes on your instructions, or sketches for ideas. I always have sticky notes or a sketch pad around, but any napkin will do. To make your own beaded pen like in the video, sign up for my email newsletter, and download the free Beaded pens eBook.
  8. Bead Mat- I use to put my beads in little dishes, but the bead mat keeps them from rolling all over the place. The case I referred to in the video is called a Design Save ‘N Go and you can check out my review on them here.
  9. Good Lighting- Essential to reduce eye strain and keep you beading longer and more comfortably. I love my Ott light! When you are choosing beads for your project, you want to look at them in good light to really see if you like how the colors play together.

Aside from the Ott light and the projects box, I can find everything at my local bead store. I would encourage you to choose your LBS first because they can also share their wealth of knowledge as you learn.

What do you think? What do you think of my list? Is there anything you would add? Please share with us in the comments below. I read and appreciate each one!

{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Ralonda March 21, 2013 at 12:35 pm

Where is THAT like button?! Awesome!

meg March 21, 2013 at 12:35 pm

Thanks for the video. I’m just starting out with beading, so I have a lot to learn. I have an old goose-neck lamp that I use. I replaced the regular lightbulb with a fluorescent dayllight bulb, and the difference is amazing.

Lori Clarida March 21, 2013 at 12:54 pm

Very nice video! Where were you when I started beading and had to find out all this stuff for myself???

Mandi Ainsworth March 21, 2013 at 12:57 pm

Thanks so much for sharing, Meg! I’m glad you liked the video, and let me know if you have any questions I can answer for you :)

Patty March 21, 2013 at 12:58 pm

I loved this video, good information!!

Mandi Ainsworth March 21, 2013 at 1:00 pm

Ralonda- a little to your left :)

Lori- I feel the same way since I didn’t know anyone else who beaded. I learned the hard way, but I’m happy if I can help someone else!

Mandi Ainsworth March 21, 2013 at 1:01 pm

Thanks, Patty! I appreciate your feedback.

Sherian March 21, 2013 at 1:45 pm

Very nicely done! You did forget the wax or thread heaven for those of us who tangle or break our thread. Also…where did you get those wonderful bead tube holders?
I’m super happy to see you online and helping other beaders!

Mandi Ainsworth March 21, 2013 at 1:54 pm

Thanks, Sherian! Yes, I could have added wax in there, but I forgot since I don’t really use it. Definitely worth mentioning, thank you! For the holders- Google “Bead Pavillion” and choose your favorite supplier :)

Mandi Ainsworth March 21, 2013 at 2:14 pm

Just got a wonderful email from Ruby, and her list has 19 things on it! A few from her list: Wax and Thread Heaven, origami box for threads, Hypo cement, roll up tape measure for wrist measurements etc. and a metal ruler to measure the progress of your beadwork since the roll-up may be too flimsy.

Bette Greenfield March 21, 2013 at 2:54 pm

I like to use a Thread Zapper when I need to get a very close thread finish. I find that is is neater easier to use instead of scissors when I use Fireline.

LoriF March 21, 2013 at 3:30 pm

I definitely vote for Thread Heaven and wax (they are two completely different things, for you newbies) also, and the Thread Zapper is also really useful. I’d also add a pair of good quality chain-nose pliers (or 2) for when you’ll inevitably need to do a closure or….just pull that needle through a tight bead!

Loretta March 21, 2013 at 5:47 pm

Very good vidio Mandi. I learned the hard way myself but i bought me some of the plastic display trays that are about 3/4 ‘ deep and also the display pads but turned out the velvet pads didn’t work so i cut off about 2″ of the bead matt to fit the tray to work on, i also left the display pad in for height.
Work great for me.

Erin Simonetti March 21, 2013 at 6:07 pm

Great list Mandi! Even the ideas of added items, listed inthe comments sections, will be very helpful. But, hey, let’s add a “Loom” too! It is a one time purchase, for your bead studio and can round out your beading skills.

I felt compelled to add this thought, mainly because I was just talking to so done, about this very supply.

meg March 21, 2013 at 6:46 pm

Mandi – What’s your favorite way to store your seed beads? I see that you have a lot of beads in tubes, but what do you do with seed beads that come prestrung or in bags?

Sherian March 21, 2013 at 8:27 pm

Thank you so much for the info on the bead storage. I’m going to order a couple of those.
Do you ever have a problem getting the beads out of the tube they came in? Static electricity?

Barbara Brown-Wyche March 21, 2013 at 10:06 pm

This is so cool!! Thanks so much for the helpful tips. Michaels carries a great variety of Ott lamps, get the coupons and get a good deal on them.The tulip needles are great for detailed projects, more durable. Getting beading board my next order from firemountain gems,great tips, thanks

Mandi Ainsworth March 22, 2013 at 5:36 am

Bette- I love my thread burner, too! Thanks for mentioning that :)

LoriF- Can you tell me more about why you like to use both. I use “naked” thread, hehe. I’ve used the pliers method= awesome. Thanks for sharing!

Loretta- a friend told me that beading trays are as varied as the beaders themselves! You have to find what works for you. Thanks for sharing what you did to help give someone else an idea!

Mandi Ainsworth March 22, 2013 at 5:38 am

Erin- I would love to have you so the show to sell everyone on a loom ;) Sharing your amazing work would start a loom revolution!

Mandi Ainsworth March 22, 2013 at 5:50 am

Meg- I like to have as many of my beads in tubes out on my table as possible. I’m more likely to use them if they are in easy reach. However, in those Snap N Stack cases, I referred to, I have one for each of these- bugles, 15s, 11s, 8s, and 6/0 and up. They are all in baggies or tic tac type boxes. I hope that helps!

Sherian- I do run into that problem occasionally. I try to shake them into submission, adding back in some beads to help knock the other ones loose, hehe. Hope that helps!

Barbara- Thanks so much for your comment, and I’m happy you will be getting a bead board! You will love it :)

Becca March 22, 2013 at 6:18 am

Mandi – this is awesome! Great tips, thx for sharing your insider wisdom. <3

Mandi Ainsworth March 22, 2013 at 6:24 am

Thanks, Becca!

Marilou March 23, 2013 at 11:19 am

Nicely done!

Mandi Ainsworth April 2, 2013 at 7:55 pm

Thanks, Marilou!

Cindy Allen May 24, 2013 at 7:53 pm

Thanks for the helpful hints! I always use fireline, but I am going to order the one G thread right away! So thank you!

josephine July 10, 2013 at 1:00 am

Hi Mandi!

I find your posts very helpful, especially for beginners like me.

I would like to ask a question about organizing beads. What is the best way to organize beads? Should the beads with the same color, size, etc. come together in one box snap on box or do you have any tips I can follow for a better organized workplace? I somehow find it difficult to organize the beads I have. I would really appreciate your help on this. Thank you so much!

Twinkle April 20, 2014 at 4:29 am

I’ve found a small ruler or tape measure to be very helpful when making bracelets and also an old pair of tweezers.

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