Glossary of Beading Terms

Tools

Bead Loom

Bead Loom

Similar to a regular fabric loom, with beads strung on the weft (the thread that passes over and under the warp threads). Typically one bead is positioned between each warp thread, and then the weft is threaded around the final warp and back through the beads to secure them in place. Loomwork is a beadweaving technique that uses a bead loom.

Bead Tray

Bead Tray

A felted tray that lets you organize your work in progress and lay out your bead design. Some trays have integrated storage.

Chain Nose Pliers

Chain Nose Pliers

Pliers that are rounded on the outside but have flat inside edges. They are good for gripping wire or a jump ring, as opposed to round-nose pliers, which are better for making loops.

Glue

Glue

Bead cement or craft glue can be used to keep thread knots from unraveling or keep small pieces in place. Temporary glue can be used to hold work together while assembling it. Use craft glues, or one of the several glues specifically designed for beadwork.

Jig

Jig

A board with pegs in it that is useful for bending wire into specific shapes that can be replicated. They can be made out of wood, or configurable metal ones can be purchased. photo credit

Needle Nose Pliers

Needle Nose Pliers

Also known as long nose or pinched nose pliers because of their appearance, they often have wire cutters built into them. They’re usually made of steel and have rubber handles you can easily grip. When shopping for pliers, be sure to get jewelry pliers rather than electrical or hardware tools.

Needles

Needles

For regular stringing, twisted-wire needles work well as the large eye closes to fit through the beads. For seed beads, use beading needles. These resemble sewing needles but are usually longer and thinner. The larger the number, the thinner the needle (to match sizes of seed beads).

Stiff Stuff

Stiff Stuff

A brand name interfacing made by Lacy’s, useful as a beading foundation for bead embroidery. Stiff Stuff can be dyed or colored with fabric markers to match your piece so the background is less noticeable. Buy from Amazon

Wire Cutters

Wire Cutters

A tool used to cut metal wire or beading wire. Diagonal wire cutters should cut flush. Be sure to buy yours at a craft or bead shop: hardware store cutters and pliers are usually too large and imprecise for jewelry making.