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How to Pick Tools for Beaded Jewelry

Updated on April 1, 2016
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VirginiaLynne loves crafts and scrapbooking. She shares her original ideas and tips for how to make crafts quickly and easily.

Handcraft Your Own Jewelry

Beaded necklace with glass heart.
Beaded necklace with glass heart. | Source

Which Beading Tools Should You Buy?

Just started beading? You may wonder what tools you need to buy? Or perhaps you want to expand to making new types of beaded jewelry and want to know what tools can help you. Or maybe you know someone who makes beaded jewelry and would like to buy them a gift.

This bead tool guide will explain the different tools and how they are used. Bead tools are not expensive and if you buy a kit with several tools, you will save even more money.

First Bead Tools to Buy

Needle Nosed Pliers and Wire Cutters are the first tools to buy.
Needle Nosed Pliers and Wire Cutters are the first tools to buy. | Source

Starter Bead Tool Kit

So what tools do you need? To start beading, you need:

  • Needle-nose Pliers
  • Chain-nose Pliers
  • Wire Cutters
  • Scissors

If you have Needle-nose Pliers and Wire Cutting Pliers, you can do almost all the tasks of beaded jewelry making, so just these two tools are the first I'd put in any kit. What can these tools do?

Beading Tool Kits

Even though you can do most of your tasks with the three tools above, many of the other beading tools help you make handmade beaded jewelry faster and easier. Here are some of the additional tools which are used by most people crafting beaded jewelry. Most of the pliers can be bought for under $10.00 separately, but they are cheaper if you buy them in a kit.

  • Crimping Pliers: For attaching crimp beads to flexible beading wire.
  • Round Nose Pliers: For bending and twisting wire, especially into loops of different sizes.
  • Bent Nose Pliers: For holding beads in difficult positions and bending wire.
  • Loop closing Pliers: For closing jump rings and bracelet rings without bending, scratching or distorting the shape.
  • Split-Ring Pliers: to open jump rings
  • Bead reamer: to enlarge the holes of beads and pearls
  • Tweezers: to pick up beads
  • Awl: to help you knot string very tightly.
  • Beading Needles of Various Sizes: for stringing smaller beads.
  • Bead Board: Curved plastic board with measurements around it. Use to help you put beads in order for your jewelry, to hold beads in place and to measure how many beads you need.
  • Hammer: used to flatten the ends of wire.

High Quality Bead Tools

What makes a good beading tool? Beading tools need to be precise and well made. Generally, tools from well-known companies like Beadalon or Beadsmith are reliable choices. Look for tools which:

  • Have rubberized handles so they are comfortable to hold.
  • Are able to open and close smoothly.
  • Made from smooth, forged steel.
  • Are finely made so they grip firmly and come together precisely.

Beading Tools Explained

Why Buy a Starter Beading Kit?

For my birthday, my husband gave me the starter beading tool kit below. I love the quality and the fact that it has a variety of tools for me to use. I love this kit! Here's why:Before I got the kit, I thought my long-nosed pliers were enough, and I would definitely suggest that as the first and most important tool. However, after I got the kit, I found that many times another one of the tools worked better for a particular task. If you buy a set, the tools are cheaper than purchasing

  1. Variety of Tools for Every Task: Before I got the kit, I thought my long-nosed pliers were enough, and I would definitely suggest that as the first and most important tool. However, after I got the kit, I found that many times another one of the tools worked better for a particular task. If you buy a set, the tools are cheaper than purchasing
  2. Better Value: If you buy a set, the tools are cheaper than purchasing them separately.
  3. Can Do More Types of Jewelry Making: As I used the tools, I began to see that I could do new things. Moreover, when I look up a beading project on Pinterest, I know I can do that project because I always have the right tools.

Wire Cutters

The second essential Bead tool. Used for:

  • Cutting the flexible wire that is used to string on beads for bracelets and necklaces.
  • Cutting the ends of eye pins and head pins so that you can use in making ear rings and bead charms.
  • Cutting wire used in making wire pendants.

Needle Nose Pliers

Needle Nose pliers are my go-to beading tool for many purposes. I actually have the exact ones shown to the left and although it isn't labeled as a jewelry pliers, it is perfect for beaded jewelry. Buy these and wire cutters and you will be ready for most beaded jewelry tasks. Needle Nose Pliers are a type of Chain Nose pliers which have a much longer and more tapered jaws. These can be used for:

  • Gripping beads and wire.
  • Turning and bending wire.
  • Opening and closing jump rings, loops and wire.
  • Attaching crimp beads.
  • Bending back memory wire
  • Making beaded wire pendants.

Bent Nosed Pliers and Round Nosed Pliers

Bent Nosed Pliers and Round Nosed Pliers are probably the next most used bead tools.
Bent Nosed Pliers and Round Nosed Pliers are probably the next most used bead tools. | Source

Round Nose and Bent Nose Pliers

Similar to Chain Nose pliers, the Round Nose pliers have a variety of uses. Like their name, the two jaws of the pliers are rounded, and tapered. This makes them good for:

  • Making loops in wire.
  • Holding while making a loop
  • Adjusting the size of loops by moving the loop up or down on the jaw.

Bent Nose Pliers have curved jaws which I find often allow me to reach in to grab a bead or a wire which I can't grip otherwise. It took me a while to remember I had these pliers in my kit at first, but now I find I reach for them a lot for:

  • Grabbing to hold beads or wires which are hard to reach.
  • Holding your wire while you are putting on beads or crimping.

Wire and Bead Pendant

Chain Nose Pliers can help you made wire pendants.
Chain Nose Pliers can help you made wire pendants. | Source

Chain Nose Pliers

One the most basic tools in your beading box is Chain Nose pliers. These come in different sizes for working with different sized beads and findings. Chain Nose pliers are pointed and are flat inside the blades. You will use these to:

  • Grab beads and findings.
  • Grip beading supplies tightly.
  • Opening and closing jump rings and loops.

Crimping Pliers

Crimping Pliers
Crimping Pliers | Source

Crimping Pliers

These specialized pliers have two grooves in their jaws. Some crimping pliers also have a cutting edge. Crimp beads are small, large-holed, beads with thin walls which are used to secure the ends of flexible beading wire. They come in many colors, but are usually silver or gold to match the wire. You can fold and flatten crimping bead with Chain Nose or Needle Nosed pliers, but if you are going to use flexible wire often, you probably need Crimping Pliers to make this task easier and neater. You use Crimping Pliers to:

  • First, fold crimping beads in half in between the two grooves in the jaw.
  • Second, roll the two halves together to secure the crimp bead.

Crimp Beads attach clasps on flexible wire.
Crimp Beads attach clasps on flexible wire. | Source

Choose Quality Bead Tools

Bead tools help you to bend and finish wires professionally on your beaded jewelry.
Bead tools help you to bend and finish wires professionally on your beaded jewelry. | Source

Specialized Beading Tools

Some Tools won't be used by all people making beaded jewelry, but will be helpful if you are doing a particular kind of beading. Here are some of the tools which can be very useful for advanced beading:

Flat Nose Pliers: For working with colored wire so that color doesn't come off.

Hole Punching Pliers: For making holes which have no sharp edges in metal sheets.

Gem Setting Tool: For fastening the prongs of set stones.

Multi-Function Pliers or Rosary Pliers: These pliers come in a variety of styles and sizes. Usually they combine wire cutting, needle nosed and round nose pliers. Especially useful if you are traveling and don't want to take all your beading tools, want a tool to use in teaching, or want to just buy one tool when you get started.

Bead Tools

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    • charlynjune profile image

      Charlyn June 2 years ago from Philippines

      Thanks for the great information.. I already have the cutter and round nose pliers but was looking for a tool for other purposes and you definitely gave me the idea.. Will be checking for crimping pliers and chain nosed pliers at the shop..

    • Jacobb9205 profile image

      Jacob Barnard 2 years ago from Gloucestershire

      Awesome way to pick tools!

    • Glass-Jewelry profile image

      Marco Piazzalunga 4 years ago from Presezzo, Italy

      Hello VirginiaLynne,

      As I am a glass jewelry manufacturer, with regards to the pliers, of almost any kind, I just want to remember that it is important to emphasize that, as regards the manufacture of jewelry and costume jewelry, it is important that the inner faces of the pliers are flat and not knurled.

      Very good overview of tools. Thank you for sharing.

      Marco

    • VirginiaLynne profile image
      Author

      Virginia Kearney 4 years ago from United States

      So glad this helped Magicfive. I love beaded jewelry because you can start with just a few tools and then add on as you go.

    • MAGICFIVE profile image

      MAGICFIVE 4 years ago from New York

      I've been thinking of getting into jewelry making, and wasn't sure exactly what tools I need. This hub is very helpful!

    • VirginiaLynne profile image
      Author

      Virginia Kearney 4 years ago from United States

      You know I've been writing and researching about Alzheimer's and one of the things which has struck me is that learning new things and stretching your mind is one of the best ways to keep our minds healthy for our whole lives! Thanks for stopping by Pauline!

    • VirginiaLynne profile image
      Author

      Virginia Kearney 4 years ago from United States

      Thanks Angelo!

    • Pauline Davenport profile image

      Pauline Davenport 4 years ago from Isle of Man

      So much information and so refreshing to read about this lovely hobby. I've always enjoyed doing 'fiddly' things, and this hub has fascinated me to the point where I'm going to have a go myself. It's something that's only ever been in the 'think about it' stage for me, but this has really inspired me.Thanks so much VirginiaLynnne

    • Maddie Ruud profile image

      Maddie Ruud 4 years ago from Oakland, CA

      I love beading! I took a workshop a few years ago, bought my tools, and made a few pieces, but life got in the way! You've inspired me to dig them out and start creating again.

    • Angelo52 profile image

      Angelo52 4 years ago from Central Florida

      Excellent information for making bead jewelry. Sharing on facebook. Voted up +

    • VirginiaLynne profile image
      Author

      Virginia Kearney 4 years ago from United States

      Glad to help kissayer!

    • kissayer profile image

      Kristy Sayer 4 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Oh my sister is really into making jewellry, I am sending this straight to her! Great hub :)

      Voted up!

    • VirginiaLynne profile image
      Author

      Virginia Kearney 4 years ago from United States

      Thanks so much lady rain. I actually learned a lot while researching this Hub. I want to get some of those specialty tools I listed!

    • lady rain profile image

      lady rain 4 years ago from Australia

      Great information on the tools. I have a couple of the pliers but hopefully will be able to find a full kit with all the tools I need. Voted UP and more..

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