Today I thought I would talk about the supplies I use and have for creating my beadwork and where you could find them if you are interested.  I took a ton of pictures and I realized as I was uploading them and about to write this post, I forgot to photograph a few things, but it’s not that important, I’ll talk about them though.  Oh and I have figured out how to use my camera, well for the most part.  At least I’m getting it to focus better than it was!

So first, my typical work space.  I have a small travel beading box where I can keep a few colors of beads and all the other stuff and even parts of projects I’m working on.  It’s here where I keep my needles and some jewelry glue.  I use sharp needles, just seems to work better for me.  I do stab myself a lot, but I have very thick skin on my hands and don’t usually feel it.  I also have a small pair of scissors that fold up.  Also I use a bead mat, it’s a soft felty like material that helps keeps my beads in place when I’m working with them, such as here.  Red, white, and black seed beads are set out, I need to make another small red mushroom!  The silver thing is a bead scoop.  It makes it easier for getting beads in and out of the little compartments.  I didn’t get a picture of it but I have a giant spool of thread, just regular thread, it might be knitting thread.  I haven’t had any problems with it breaking unless I get a knot and am pulling on it too much.  I was having a lot of trouble with knots, but it’s been better since I started using this stuff called Thread Heaven.  It’s like a waxy stuff that actually puts a static charge on your threat and helps it stay apart (it basically repels from itself).  Some people also use regular wax, but I couldn’t find any.  Another key thing that’s in this case is a threader.  I am HORRIBLE at threading a needle, and these little things just make my life soooo much easier.  If you’re sewing or anything I highly recommend getting one if you haven’t been using one already.  This travel case has been very useful for me, if I want to take my work with me or something, just a nice little go-to box.  I believe I got it at Wal-Mart.  I’m sure Michaels would have some cases as well.

Typical Workspace

So now my supplies box.  I don’t have anything fancy, it all lives in a shoe box, but it fits.  The little baggies are my friend!  They work well for storing extra beads, and the fancy bead boxes can get pretty expensive.  Yes, that is a measuring cup, it works kinda like the scope when I have a bunch of beads out, such as putting them into a baggie or compartment since it has a spout.  There’s a lot of beads in this box.  You can buy nicer boxes at Wal-Mart and Michaels as well as any online supplier.  The mini bagettes I have only seen at Michaels, but they probably have them in the craft section of Wal-Mart as well.

Supplies box

The fancier thing I have is a little carry thing.  It’s not really that fancy, but it has a lot of stuff in it.  It has five detachable compartments around it that can store beads (you can see two in the picture here) and has a nice little handle.  The lid also comes off and there are some nice different shaped glass beads.  If you lift out the bead tray there’s room to store other stuff in there.  That’s where I keep my wire and some pliers and a few odds and ends.  This is the bucket that got me started back into beading.  This whole thing came from Michaels, it’s a good starting kit as it came with some thread, wire, and beading needles.

Bead bucket

Next is what I call my ‘finishing box’.  This is where I keep all my finished work as well as the items I need to finish them, such as findings.  Everything I’ve already pictured on here is in this little box for safe keeping.

Finishing box

Wait… slow down what was that word?  Findings?  What the hell is a finding?  Yeah I didn’t know what it was either until recently.  Findings are basically things you use to hook pieces together and stuff.  So clasps, key rings, earrings, jump rings (what you use to attach clasp or something to a piece of work), and clips.  The baggie in the middle has crimp beads in it, which are small beads that can basically be smashed, these help to keep items in place.  Wal-Mart caries a lot of findings as does Michaels, but Michaels is a wee big pricey when it comes to their findings.  The best place for findings is probably from an online supplier, such as FusionBeads.

Findings

Another of the tools I use for my work are pliers.  There are a lot of different kinds of pliers, but you can really get away with just one or two.  These are the ones that I use.  Both the purple and red pair are the same, they’re what’s considered a ‘3-in-1’ tool.  They have a needle/rounded nose as well as a wire cutter built in, I haven’t figured out what that third use is yet…  The blue handled pair is a more specially pair called crimping pliers.  Remember how I told you about the crimp beads?  These actually are specifically for those.  They’re not really necessary, but I thought they were neat and they give your finished crimp bead a nicer look.  If you want to see how crimp beads and pliers work, please look at the technique posted on FusionBeads.  Everywhere I’ve seen carries the 3-in-1 tools as well as the crimping pliers.  However, the best price on the crimping pliers is by far on FusionBeads (and they have free shipping).

Plies

Like thread, wire can also be used in beadwork and can give it a flexible/beady shape depending on the stiffness of the wire.  None of the works I have shown yet use wire, but I will be posting some wire made things soon.  I also have shown here bobby pins.  Yes, plain old bobby pins that are used to hold down stray hairs.  These will be used with the wire, but I don’t want to reveal anything just yet, so I’ll save that for another post.  Wal-Mart carries beading wire, as does Michaels.

Bead wire

And another oddity… one that has yet to be shown in my bead work, but shells.  I found this bag at a yardsale and it had some cute little shells in it, and some nicer big ones, and I thought that I could use these in my beadwork somehow.  I will be working with them in the near future, so come back and see what I make with them!

Shells

I didn’t get a picture of my thread, but some how I did remember to get a picture of some of the filaments I use.  It’s basically thread, but the monofilament is essentially life fishing line while the stretch cord is well… clear stretchy cord.  Both of these can be found at Wal-Mart.  There are other kinds called Fireline that are used, but I think this should be just fine.

Clear hreads

Bangles!  These are the type of bangles I’ve been using for the works I’ve shown so far.  They’re just cheap bangles from the jewelry section in Wal-Mart.  I think that’s one of the things I really enjoy doing is taking something cheap and kind of boring and then making it look much nicer.

Bangles

And last but not least… my one and only beading book.  Most of the patterns I use I either create myself or find online for free, but this book peaked my interest.  It has a lot of projects in it and none of them are overly complicated.  Most are things you could add on to as well, which is what I liked.  You may see something out of this book that I’ve created to use with the sea shells.

Beading book

Well, that’s it for today, just wanted to show you all the stuff that I have and what I can work with.  If you need any more information on findings and tools please visit FusionBead’s Beading Reference page.  Please check back for my colors page!  It will be going up shortly.  I will be posting pictures of all the colors I have as well as listing names of everything so that you can customize a piece to how you want it.  If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions, please feel free to email me at geekbeads@gmail.com.

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