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Money-Saving Tips for Beaders

8 Tips for a Tough Economy

I believe in having whatever I need to bead my best. It's so frustrating to portion out components or scrimp on materials.  I can't sit down to make a new design based on having only 5 bicones when I want 50, or 500. It's so contrary to being creative.  Limit my style? Never! And I am way past doing things as an "exercise" or a "challenge" so forget that admonishment. Don’t get me wrong, I am frugal and don’t make purchases I can't afford. These are tough economic times. And, I use my stash as wisely as possible. Who can afford to be wasteful?  So while I don’t base design solely on what I have on hand, or scrimp by trying to adhere to an exact measured snip of working wire, I do have some tips for saving and making the most of what you have.

1. Save pieces of WildFire longer than 8 inches. Keep 'em in a baggie on hand. Those pieces will be more than enough when you run out of thread just a few rows short or need a small length of thread to add a clasp or an embellishment bead. Longer pieces can be wound around an embroidery floss cardboard so they don’t tangle.

2. Have a bead soup bowl for straggler bits. Invariably after I clean up and put everything away I find stray jump rings, chain links, beads or other flotsam that escaped my sweep. I brush those components into one bowl, not wanting to waste time to sort them out. I can't tell you how many times I have needed one small bead, one single finding, and found it within my soup bowl!

3. Recycle "mistakes." We all have to start over from time to time, but I never throw away even the smallest beady clusters. I toss them into a "sampler" bin and eventually recycle the beads in another piece.

4. Be energy efficient. Those mistakes to be recycled? I don’t waste my "good energy" undoing them. I save that chore for time of the evening when my brain is toasted, but I can still snip and sort while watching TV.

5. Most of us use clear ziplock baggies ad infinitum, for storage, for protecting sold pieces, etc. Save the new, clean ones for your sold designs, and reuse old, scratched bags to store your beads. (They don’t care if they can't see out!) Just make sure they don’t leak.

6. When my velux bead mats get grungy, I wash 'em in a lingerie bag. If they frizzle, cut them into small pieces, tape to an index card, and stick your traveling needles in them.

7. Yes, putting a nylon stocking over a vacuum hose does help you collect spilled beads!

8. Get a scale. I don’t stand on one and bemoan my recent Oreo binge, but I have one for my beads. Learn how many beads you have and how many you really need before spending money.

I hope some of my tips save you time and money!

Leslie Rogalski
Beadalon Design Team Member