The Four Must-Have Beading Tools


And Where to Buy Them Online

beadingtools1You don’t need to spend a million dollars on your basic beading tool kit, but if you get the very cheapest, it’ll probably just make your life harder-especially if you’re just starting out.

You’ll see some cheap tools if you search on Google, but if they’re ridiculously cheap, they also might be ridiculously small, which can be hard to tell from a picture online.

I’m providing links for places that sell the tools I am suggesting, because I thought it would be a lot more helpful than just some vague recommendations. That said, I haven’t bought from all the retailers listed here–I just found them when I searched and their prices seemed fair.


bothpliersYou need two sets of pliers: round nose and chain (flat) nose.
I know that there are a lot of choices of pliers out there and it can feel overwhelming. Don’t believe the hype–at least at the beginning.

So really, for almost everything you do, you just need two types of pliers. I’ve been beading a long time and I just use these two styles. Some folks will disagree with me and swear by different styles of pliers, but no one would disagree that if you are just starting out, round nose and flat nose are the way to go. There’s plenty of time to be a plier snob later. (More likely is that if you continue to bead, you’ll just get yourself another set of both styles in slightly different sizes. Two of the same can be handy.)

Here’s a couple of link for simple decent pliers from an online retailer I haven’t bought from, but they’re both a good price:

Round Nose Pliers

Chain Nose Pliers:


flexcuttersYou can get wire cutters that are called¬† “side cutters”, and they are fine. But you can also get wire cutters specifically designed to cut bead wire called “flex wire cutters”. Since I’m basically recommending in another post (coming soon!) that you only use beading wire to create your necklaces and bracelets, I recommend that you get yourself some “flex wire cutters”. I own a pair myself. The flex cutter will also cut your other wire too–head pins, eye pins, etc., so no need to get both side and flex cutters.

NOTE: Neither the flex nor the side cutters will cut memory wire, which require its own specialty cutters because the wire is so very hard, hard, hard. If you want to create pieces using memory wire, buy the cutters especially designed for them so you don’t ruin your everyday workhorse wire cutters.

Here are two links for the flex cutter–I haven’t bought from either retailer myself, but not everyone carries these, so I thought I’d share what I found:

Flex Wire Cutter

If you already have side cutters or flush cutters, great, use them in good health and don’t worry about it.¬† They might wear out a little sooner when you cut your bead wire, but no biggee.


crimping_pliersOkay, you need this weird tool if you are going to make necklaces because I believe you really should use flexible bead wire to make necklaces and that requires using crimp beads to close them off. I mean, gluing and knotting cord is usually just a big drag (and harder than it sounds to make a strong decent knot), and why bother when crimping bead wire is strong, easy and look so profesh?

Not sure what I mean about bead wire and crimip beads? I’m going to have a blog post about that soon, but in the meantime, has a great lesson on how to use the crimp tool to finish your necklace–make sure to scroll to the bottom of the page to watch the excellent video:

Oh, and here’s a link to buy the crimper (they offer several sizes, but I think this is fine for getting started):

I hope this helps.
Did I forget to mention a tool you think is a must-have? Please share your thoughts and experiences about beading tools in the Comments section below!

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Categories : Beading, Supplies


  1. Andree says:

    I love this idea! I’m in a photography group, ShootStyle, and we’re doing a photo assignment right now, open to everyone, aimed at illustrating a particular phrase. Open to however anyone wants to interpret it.

    I love the idea of creating art in collaboration. Seems like a photo could be take either before it gets shipped off or just as it arrives and perhaps those could be shared digitally.

    Hmmm… it’s getting me thinking.

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