** This site is neither sponsored by nor sponsoring any of the retailers listed below. These tools are my personal suggestion and not meant to solicit any purchases or sales. **
When you start a new hobby it’s not uncommon to ask, “What tools will make my projects easier?” In this post I hope to be able to answer some parts of this question with my top five tool suggestions.
My first suggestion is a good set of pliers. Now I could fill my top five list with just pliers but most of the commonly used pliers come in sets containing: Flush cutters, round nose pliers, chain nose pliers, needle nose pliers and bent nose pliers. These sets are sold at various retailers and range from under twenty dollars to the more spendy sets at nearly eighty dollars. If you are just starting, I wouldn’t break the bank with an expensive set of pliers, but a good tool will always make your job go smoother. Michael’s, Joann’s and even Amazon have affordable sets in various colors and most come with a case. There are other pliers that are very handy that I haven’t seen personally in sets but are sold separately: bail making pliers, forceps pliers, crimp cutter pliers, one-step looper and tweezers. These will help round out a new collection of tools.
My next suggestion for a beginner is to have a beading mat or a felt mat. Beads are notorious for rolling and bouncing when dropped, and a mat helps deaden the fall. Some mats are indented or have walls to keep the beads in certain areas. Most mats will also include some sort of ruler or measurer to determine the bead’s size. There are also beading design boards which have grooves and cut-outs to allow the beads to sit in and not roll around. Like with the pliers, most crafting stores will sell beading mats ranging from the low teens to mid-twenties. No matter your hand coordination, beads will get loose; it never hurts to be prepared.
Beading needles are my next suggestion, with sizes 10/11/12 being a good place to start. Beading needles don’t resemble sewing needles much, they have larger eye holes and are quite flexible. They more resemble thin twisted wires, but even though they feel flimsy, they can bend and weave in repetitive. Beading needles are very affordable and come in bundles of different sizes. With some experimenting and practice, a beading needle will help you keep your bead count consistent.
If you are like me and have difficulty seeing, a pair of magnify glasses or a magnifying head lamp is my next suggestion. Beading can be difficult on the eyes, and magnification can at least make one of this hobby’s difficulties easier. There are head lamps with different magnification level lens to guarantee you can find just the right level to see up close. Find yourself a set that is comfortable to wear and you will save yourself from eye strain and headaches.
My last suggestion comes in “handy,” if you ever need an extra hand. A third hand tool has small clamps that allow you place your item in a sturdy grasp, giving you the ability to use your free hands to solder or glue things together. They look a little weird but being that most components of jewelry has small parts and connectors, holding your piece still is crucial. They are small and won’t take up much room in your crafting space and are not expensive on Amazon.
These tools are just a suggestion and in no way a shopping list for you to be able to craft wonderful jewelry. Spend your money on beautiful beads and buy a few tools at a time. Enjoy your crafting as it is an outlet for your creative side.