Saturday, May 28, 2011

What's A Bead Stringer?

A bead stringer, or beadspinner, is a tool used by bead artists to quickly and easily string beads on thread or wire. Basically it's a bowl with a hollow dowel through it, having the dowel supported by a pike on a stand.

What's this kind of tool used for? Well, beads are sold by bead shops loose in bags, in vials, or strung on hanks or master hanks. Getting the beads onto a length of thread or wire can be a tedious job if done by hand, especially if you're using Swarovski beads or other odd-size or odd-shape beads. The bead spinner or bead stringer makes short work of the project.

Personally, I make beaded flowers, which can take up to thousands of beads to complete. Even a smaller project, like friendship knot bracelets, can take so many beads that stringing by hand can be a real roadblock. In this age of automation, even a low-tech tool like a bead stringer makes sense and is a great investment.

Many artists have also made their own bead spinners out of materials that are readily available for less than the cost of a commercially-produced spinner. You may have everything you need at home right now. You can google the instructions for this project and make your own spinner in an afternoon's time.

How do you use a bead stringer or bead spinner? If you are doing beaded flowers, you will have to know how to use beading wire. Pour your beads into the bowl of the spinner. Open your spool of wire, and make a hook out of the last two inches of the wire. Dip the open end of the wire into the beads, and hold the end just under the surface of the beads. Slowly begin to spin the tool. It will take some practice to find just the right spot for the wire, and the right spinning speed.

Once you have found the right combination, you'll be delighted to see the beads onto your wire.

If you are doing a project where the beads have to be put on string, simply thread a needle with your string, and use the spinner in the same way.

Having a bead spinner will make your bead projects go 10 times faster. Search for "bead spinner" and you'll find several places to buy one, or the instructions to make one. Happy beading!

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