Skipping Through Summer … light and easy beading tips!

Skipping Stones photo by Angela Bailey on Unsplash

Like any art form, there are ways to approach a craft that immediately boost your creativity and productivity. Now, there is something to be said for experimenting and learning on your own. That does take time.


Being a “hasty pudding” type, I like to skip ahead and make progress with less effort. And so, for those of you like me, i.e., a bit lacking in patience LOL, here are some tips that will help your beading become more polished, faster!




When your bits and bobs are organized for findability and mobility, you will have things at your fingertips and that means saving time (not to mention not getting super frustrated, which when working with tiny beads, can lead to a “bead soup” mix).

Bead tube organization

Start off right and pick up a few items that will keep your beads grounded and your gear organized.

  • A beading mat is a must corralling seed beads
  • A bead board is a must if you’re designing a string of larger beads
  • Thread Zap efficiently removes little nibs of Fireline or Wildfire threads from your work
  • Keep size 10 & 12 needles on hand, and perhaps a Big Eye needle and Twisted Wire needle for special applications. I’ve found both useful, for example, to get a thread through a bead with a smaller-than-usual hole or to avoid splitting a thread in a design with multiple passes of thread. You’ll find these, as well as bead cases, threaders, and beeswax/thread conditioner at the link above.
  • Tools to grab, hold, shape, and cut

And there are more, depending on what kind of beading or jewelry making you’re into! Check out the website – we stock over 7,000 products! And here is how I use the Bead Pavilion Shelf and Tubes, held on IKEA’s Mossland photo shelf (love IKEA)!


Beadwork Station

Depending on your craft – loom work, big or small, wirework, macrame, metal jewelry fabrication, bead embroidery, stringing – where you work may or may not be portable. For inspiration, I suggest Pinterest.

I have both a table (actually a “gaming” table for online gaming enthusiasts), a Canadian Tire item that fits my space and suits my purposes. But I also have a laptray suitable for beading while watching TV.


How to Handle a Mistake

Who among us hasn’t made a mistake, which goes undetected until it’s way too much work – or impossible – to take apart and fix. Here are a few ideas on how to fix your attitude if not the mistake!

  • If there is a pair, make the second one with the same “mistake.”
  • Avoid mistakes by checking often, like a knitter who checks each row when knitting cables.
  • Knot bead embroidery regularly, predictably, to make a repair easier.
  • If you’ve used too many beads remove one with pliers (wear glasses or contain the bead in case pieces of glass spray). Replace an incorrect bead by removing the offender and adding the correct bead with new thread (the old thread will disappear or you can add a pindrop of glue to keep it under or beside the new bead).


The truth is that most mistakes are visible only to the maker. A few mantras to consider if you find you’re too much of a perfectionist?


 “Only our Maker makes no mistakes.” (Borrowed from quilters.)

“Done is better than perfect.” (Said by a beader I know!)

“Everything is perfect and there is always room for improvement. (Shunryu Suzuki)


On the Fringe

It’s a balance to get fringe just right – tight enough so that thread is not exposed and yet not so tight that the fringe sticks out at an awkward angle, rather than dangles freely. Here are a few ideas:

  • Loosen the tension by holding the piece over steaming water.
  • Use a thinner thread with light beads, i.e., Nymo.
  • Ease up on your tension.
  • Rather than going up one bead into the body to which the fringe attaches, go up two beads. Somehow, the end result is a less visible thread track.
  • Round seed beads – aka rocaille – are best for fringe, but if the body of the work is in delicas, try a couple of strands in delicas to see how it looks. Be sure to switch out to a soft thread, like Nymo; no Fireline needed on a light fringe. If you do go with seed beads, be sure to purchase the same colours before you begin the project to ensure that the colour is not discontinued, that a new dye lot doesn’t change the shade just enough to notice (yes, it happens!), or that you’re left waiting for a shipment…supply chain issues being a reality today.

Bead Soup

Cat Paws

No matter how organized we might be or how “zen-like” our energy, bead soup will happen. Between cats (is it my imagination or do so many beaders have cats??) and kids …any number of human or 4-legged blunders can mix the 15/0s – in many colours – into a daunting mess.

When this happens, I add these to my bead soup jar. I either use it for random projects in which particular colours are not critical, or I simply gift the jar when it is full!


Bead fast, Bead tidy-ish, Cathy

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published