The next key jewellery making tool I'd like to feature is the humble bead mat. Often overlooked - this is one of the most helpful bits of kit for any work away from the workbench!
A Bead Mat - How does it help?
A bead mat is mostly used when working with beads or other small items - the spongy feel and fine, soft pile to the surface give an ideal surface to help control all those small parts from disappearing off the table. It helps to prevent beads rolling away from you, and gives a defined work surface.
Bead mats are useful when working with; - bead stringing, pearl knotting and stitched beadwork, but also when doing wire work, sorting and packing stock for shows or customers, photography backgrounds, and many other uses...
Bead mats are large enough to use to plan out and design a whole necklace or set of jewellery at once
Bead mats are soft so you can tuck needles or pins into the edge to keep them safe
Bead mats protect delicate items from hard tables or surfaces - you can lay out delicate stones for sorting or planning designs, use it to catch loose ends if you are trimming wires or bits
Cut them down and use to pad delicate items in transit
Lay them into a tray or box, to create a stable mobile workstation
Choose a colour that contrasts with the colour beads or thread you are working with to make it easier to see and work with your beads (especially with stitched beadwork and the tiny seed beads!
Have you got any other key uses for your bead mat/s that you'd like to share?!