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Basic Beading Tools

Updated on September 23, 2014

Basic Beading Tools

Beading jewelry tools can be as basic or as in depth as you wish to take it. We will explore many different jewelry making tools and the uses for them.

If you are looking to learn as much as you can about tools then you may need to explore more. But if you are looking to learn just the basics then you are in the right place.

I focus on the simple basics to give you a good foundation to start, where you take it from there is strictly up to you.

But I warn you it can be addicting and 'catching the beading bug' is one of the best things that's happened to me. Read on to see what you already know or what you are about to learn. It's easy, it's affordable and best of all FUN!!

Three Basic Tools - Just three?

Three basic jeweler's tools are all you need to get started on any beading project. Necklaces, bracelets, earrings, bookmarks and what ever your imagination can think of are only a tool away.

It is best to use tools intended for jewelry making and not the typical household tools. Jewelry making tools are specifically made for the sensitive materials that will be used in jewelry making projects. You will be able to tell them apart by the smooth finish at the nose of the pliers. (Here is a test, if you run your finger over the inside of the nose of the plier and it feels rough, then it will be rough on your materials and will scratch the finish.)

An average length of 5" is a good start. I would encourage you not to go smaller for an average adult hand as this will be more difficult to use and your hand will become restless in using the smaller tools.

These tools are very simple to use once you know what you do with them. So read on and let's get started.

  • Chain Nose Pliers
  • Round Nose Pliers
  • Wire Cutters

The Cost of Beading Tools

you get to pick the price range

These basic beginner jeweler's tools are affordable.

A moderate cost for a good starting tool will run around $8-$15. Do not settle for the cheaper made tools just to cut corners. They will mare or damage your work and may not operate as smoothly, this may create frustration during the learning process.

But on the other end I also recommend you not invest in the high end tools either. Take this time to familiarize yourself with your new tools and don't invest a great deal until you are comfortable with your skills and ready to upgrade.

Allow yourself time to know that beading is what you want to do and that you are going to like it well enough to invest more. The basic tools will always come in handy and this moderate range will not break the bank and will provide you with a good enough tool to last a long period without investing a fortune.

If you decide you do want to continue to bead the mid grade tools will be easy enough to sell and you should get most of your initial investment back.

I still use these three basic tools even today, so I have certainly gotten my money's worth.

Chain Nose Pliers

the most essential tool for basic beading

Chain nose pliers are a must to have in any jeweler's toolbox. This is the foundation tool of all your tools.

With tapered tips, smooth jaws and half rounded edges this basic tool allows for precise work on your project. Chain nose pliers are used to compress your crimp bead and countless other tasks.

They resemble the household needle nose pliers but this is a jeweler's tool. The smooth jaws are what separates this tool from the common household tool bench tools. I'm repeating myself but I can not stress enough to make sure that the inside jaws are smooth so not to scratch your project. (thank you for your patience)

I like having at least two pair available and generally use as a second hand, but it's not necessary. That's just personal preference. I tend to use one chain nose to hold my project while the other chain nose is performing the task.

Wire Cutters

Very sharp, Use with Safety in mind

Wire cutters or 'nippers' are used for cutting beading wire or soft gauged wire. There are a few different wire cutters and we need to make the distinction. The thicker the gauged wire is the stronger the cutter you will need. Caution should be used here on the difference of the strength of your tool, if you use a cutting tool intended for beading wire on heavy gauge wire you run the risk of damaging your tool so take care in using the right tool for the right job.

Use with Caution and Safety - Tool #2

Cutters, flex wire cutters, flush cutters, side cutters, a tool of many names but the same use, cutting. This is another essential tool for your beading tool kit. You can't do beadwork without a good pair of cutters. The more you get into beading jewelry you will find yourself wanting to purchase a few different pairs based on your project.

Round Nose Pliers


Round nose pliers look very much like the chain nose pliers with the exception that the jaws are completely circular. This tool is used to create either a single loop or wrapped loop with a head or eye pins for making earrings. The tapered jaw allows for creating varigated sizes in loops depending on what your project calls for.

And again, with this tool, like the chain nose pliers you must make sure that the nose has a smooth finish so not to scratch your metal in your project.

Use the Right Tool for the Right Job - Tool #3

Round nose pliers are the necessary tool for making earrings and charms. Sometimes found as a multi-tool I much prefer buying a single tool for a single job and these will get the job done.

Beadsmith Jewelry Fine Round Nose Micro Pliers PL513
Beadsmith Jewelry Fine Round Nose Micro Pliers PL513

Round nose pliers look very much like the chain nose pliers with the exception that the jaws are completely circular. This tool is used to create either a single loop or wrapped loop with a head or eye pins for making earrings. The tapered jaw allows for creating varigated sizes in loops depending on what your project calls for.And again, with this tool, like the chain nose pliers you must make sure that the nose has a smooth finish so not to scratch your metal in your project.


Beading Mats - Another Essential Tool

Another essential tool needed will be a beading mat. You will need something that will absorb and cushion your materials while working on your project to keep them from rolling away from you. Working on a hard surface will not accomplish that.

Beading mats are all moderately priced and a must have for any project. My best recommendation is to make sure it is big enough to hold a decent amount of items while you are practicing. You don't need the added frustration of losing your materials.

There are a variety of items that can be used as beading mats so let's look at a few options and discuss them a bit.

  • Towel: The most economical bead mat is a household towel. What ever type you use is obviously your choice and a real money saver.
  • Fabric: If you are like me you are probably a crafter that does more than one hobby at a time so more than likely you have something else around your house that can be used as a substitute bead mat. Again the main objective is to have some type of cushioned work space so that your loose beads will not roll around on you.

Beading Board

Another essential tool to work on your beading projects will be a beading board or a beading mat of some kind. Whether you choose to purchase one or use something you have around your house the choice is yours.

Here are just a few selections that I use for my own projects and provide for my students in class.

Give them a look, they are affordable and very nice to have on hand. They wear very well.

Beadalon Bead Board 34-Inch
Beadalon Bead Board 34-Inch

These are handy to have on hand for easy storage of unfinished projects.

Bead Design in Beading Board and Gray Flock with Lid, 9 by 13-Inch
Bead Design in Beading Board and Gray Flock with Lid, 9 by 13-Inch

Same bead board as listed just above but this has a handy lid to secure your project and unused pieces stay in place. How handy is that?

Mini Bead Board w/Lid, 3 Straight Channel (7.75x11.25in) - BBS3
Mini Bead Board w/Lid, 3 Straight Channel (7.75x11.25in) - BBS3

This is a different style of the same bead board. Having the right tools for the right job are important.

Bead Mats 11" X 14" (Set of 3)
Bead Mats 11" X 14" (Set of 3)

I love these bead mats best of all. Easy clean up and after several uses (I do mean several) you can just throw in the wash and they are good as new. Now available in larger sizes, mine only measure 12" X 8". I think I will be moving to the larger size.


Want to Learn More About Beading

basic beading learning center

If you found this information helpful and want to learn more about beading for beginners then I invite you to visit my new home Beading Jewelry 101.

This is where learning how to make basic beaded jewelry is focused on you, the beginner.

At this writing, June 2013, it's still in it's infancy stage but growing everyday. Detailed instructions and videos are what is coming your way to help you learn just the basics to get your footing.

Come by for a visit, see what's happening and sign up for the Bead At Home newsletter to stay informed.

I hope to see you there and remember I always enjoy knowing when I have had visitors so please let me know by signing in.

Happy Beading.

Other Useful BeadingTools

There are many different beading tools available and they all have their uses. Some do the same thing as the three basic tools, some do completely different task. I don't necessarily like introducing these tools to beginners since I try to keep it simple but it's good to know these other tools are out there.

Let's look at other tools that are useful but not necessarily essential.

  • Bead Crimping Tool
  • Multi Task Tool
  • Split Ring Pliers
  • Hollow Nose Pliers
  • Bead Reamers
  • Flat Nose Pliers
  • Bent Nose Pliers

Video of Other Useful Beading Tools

This is a continued session covering some of the other useful beading tools I have listed above.

This is a well informed video sharing good information and showing some demonstrations of how the tools are used.

Be watching for more updates to this lens.

You Have Only Scratched the Surface

Now that you have seen the basic beading jewelers tools to get you started go now to visit the basic beading techniques that you will use these tools on.

Beading for beginners starts at the beginning which are the basics. I am here to help you with that.

Go now to view the 2 simple techniques then come and visit me at beading jewelry 101 to see how you can apply these and learn how to bead using just 3 basic tools and 2 simple techniques.

How Else May I Help You?

I like knowing when a fellow or future beading buddy has come to visit. Please rate this page if you found this introduction of basic information helpful. All feedback is appreciated.

If you feel there needs to be more info share your thoughts what else you would like to see in the comments box below. I am here to serve you and want to hear what your needs are.

If you found this helpful please still let me know in the comments box below and please share it with your friends.

All feedback is appreciated. Rate and sign in before you leave.

Thank you.

Bead At Home Mom

Did You Find This Introduction Information Helpful?

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    • bead at home mom profile image

      Teri Hansen 3 years ago

      Hey Jacobb9205, thx for stopping by for a visit. Appreciate your kudos!

    • profile image

      Jacobb9205 3 years ago


    • bead at home mom profile image

      Teri Hansen 4 years ago

      @Donna Cook: thanks for sharing, love hearing others perspective on how they do their beading. Glad you stopped for a visit always enjoy meeting new beading buddies.

    • profile image

      Donna Cook 4 years ago

      Terrific lens! The first thing I bought was a bead board-had to have it! Crimping pliers are at the top of my tool list after round nose pliers.

    • bead at home mom profile image

      Teri Hansen 4 years ago

      @Tricia Deed: So glad to hear that my intent for this page shines through. Thx for your visit.

    • Tricia Deed profile image

      Tricia Deed 4 years ago from Orlando, Florida

      I have to agree with Lara23 you did write this lens as a useful resource. Great information for any level of beading craftsman.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Lara23 . Very useful resource . Trying to gather information I'm a beginner.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Trying to gather information on beading, especially for the beginner, like what tools are needed etc. Well, this looks like a good place to start!!!

    • bead at home mom profile image

      Teri Hansen 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Hi Renee, always glad to hear when someone wants to join in the fun of beading. Teaching all the basics has been just as fun. Good news is that it is really simple and easy. I'm glad this was helpful and always glad to help you out if you have more questions to help with your learning.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Hi Im interesting in beading and have no clue where to start. Information on what tools to obtain is very helpful.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Many thanks for the clear nfo!

    • CrossCreations profile image

      Carolan Ross 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      excellent beading tutorial! Long ago I did some beading for awhile and believe I still have some of these tools, so glad I found this how-to resource.

    • Franksterk profile image

      Frankie Kangas 6 years ago from California

      Excellent. I learned a lot . I like that you included videos and the tools for sale. Blessed. Bear hugs, Frankster

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Nice Post. check More Jewelry Tools at This company manufacture almost al type of Jewelry pliers

    • retta719 profile image

      Loretta 6 years ago from United States

      Great lens outlining the tools ~ I've done more than string a few seed beads together myself, but I feel confident I could take this info and get myself started. *~*~*~left a little angel dust~*~*~*

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      This site has been very helpful for a beginner beading person. The videos are great!

    • Beaddoodler profile image

      Jennie Hennesay 7 years ago from Lubbock TX

      Great lens. I don't do this type of jewelry (I have tried and my hands and pliers just don't work together), but you've narrowed down the absolute necessities to get started. Too many jewelry maker beginners think they have to have way to much to get started.

    • puerdycat lm profile image

      puerdycat lm 7 years ago

      You have so many grrrreat lenses! Thank you for this help with beading equipment. Finally I'll quit the tweasers, ooo.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      yes i wanted to know where did you learn how to start doing beaded jerwerl

    • bead at home mom profile image

      Teri Hansen 8 years ago

      @eclecticeducati1: Thx for the visit and the plug. I have so much I want to share on this topic but still have so much to learn in navigating around squidoo. This is a work in progress. Do you have any words of wisdom to expediting this?

    • eclecticeducati1 profile image

      eclecticeducati1 8 years ago

      Great lens! Blessed by a Squid Angel and lensrolled to my beading lenses. :)