Tools of the Trade
Collaboration over competition. Any day.
There are so many tips and tricks that we can pick up along the way from each other. From mom hacks to business advice - every one of us has expertise and experience in so many different facets of life! We can contribute to building each other up by taking the time to share together.
If you read Our Story, you’ll know Kelly-Ann and Cara started off with a chewelry handmade business. As they got to know more makers and see how other shops designed and made their products, they were given advice. Best ways to tie off soother clips. Better knots and techniques for making safe products. So many tips were shared to help them get started - and Kel and Cara will always tell you how thankful they were for learning some of those tips!
But it seems everyone has a slightly different set of tools that they use to make their products! We have our own set of tools that we think are invaluable to creating beautiful chewelry and teething toys, and we’ve been wanting to share them with you! Things we’ve picked up along the way - the ‘tools of the trade’ if you will ;) .
OUR ‘MAKER STATION’ SET UP
Every maker has their own set up when they’re making products, each with varying tools! When we’re sitting down to make chewelry crafts, this is our typical set up!
- Adjustable Flame Lighter
- Crochet Hook
- Soap/Vanity Dish
- Silicone Thimbles
- Knot Grippers
- Needle Nose Pliers
- Color Cord
- Sharp Fabric Scissors
- *NEW* Crafting Needle
- Bobby Pin
- Paper Clip
- Sticky Tack
- *NEW* Silicone Craft Mat
- *NEW* Bead Boards
So many awesome tools! Let’s break them down!
ADJUSTABLE FLAME LIGHTER
We bet your first lighter that you bought for your handmade business made you feel a little sheepish ;) Or was that just us??
There are so many cute lighters in endless colors and patterns - that’s right! You don’t have to settle for a cheap ugly one! Get it as sparkly or fun as you want ;) Aside from a cute design, what you’re looking for specifically is an Adjustable Flame on your lighter!
If your lighter is adjustable, there will be a little switch at the top of your lighter with a plus and minus side. Plus for a larger flame, minus for smaller.
Everyone works at a different pace, and you may find some lighters are a bit too hot for melting cording. Everything burns instantly. Some lighters don’t get hot enough. If you can find a lighter with an adjustable flame, you can easily change the flame to be more or less intense. It makes fine work easier and melting larger sections of cording much faster. We’ve loved having the flexibility an adjustable lighter gives!
CROCHET HOOK & NEEDLE NOSE PLIERS
Some tools you need to have around just in case. We’ve used our crochet hook a couple of times for our DIY Projects (like our Crochet and Wood Ring Teether, or to help us fish jersey cord through beads for our Facemasks). They’re so handy!
Needle Nose Pliers are an absolute must for us. We found this mini plier at our local craft store, and it’s been so handy to have around for pulling through crafting needles, making fine adjustments to our crafting, or finding and pulling through fused cording that mmmaaaybe should have been fused a bit longer. They’re so useful and once you have one that you love, you’ll use it more often than you think.
DO YOU KNOW ABOUT THESE?? When we found them, we had a serious lightbulb moment.
Why oh why did we spend years accidentally burning our fingertips when all we needed was a silicone thimble?!
They’re amazing for handling hot cording & fusing ends without a worry. Make sure you don’t try to use your metal sewing thimble - hot and metal don’t generally mix well. These silicone thimbles have been a serious finger saver and we love using them! **COMING SOON - Stay tuned for when they arrive in our shop!!!!
SILICONE CRAFT MAT
Meet the newest product in our tools and accessories lineup! We are in LOVE with our brand new Craft Mats!
They’re a beautiful velvety silicone, in 12 gorgeous shades. Aside from being the most beautiful mats around, they’re so practical! You can keep your workstation clean for products, and these mats are easy to wipe and wash. They’ve even got a handy little loop at the top corner for you to hang and dry after washing!
Seems simple, and it is. We were looking for a low container where we could stage extra beads and rollable items. A quick look through our favorite home store, and we settled on using a cute simple soap dish of all things!
These dishes are slightly heavier than a regular plastic container, so they’re not going to get bumped off your workstation easily. So many cute options are available, but we always seem drawn to any small white dish, and that’s what we’ve been using! Soap and Vanity dishes come in a lot of different styles and shapes, so you’ll easily find one that works best for you. We even noticed that some of the toothbrush holders could work awesome as tool storage for your pliers, crochet hooks and rulers!
If you’ve been around for long enough, you know we can’t get enough of our new Knot Grippers from Wheatland Woodshop! This tool has been a finger saver for so many makers, and we think it’s such a worthwhile investment for your handmade shop. Watch our video tutorial on the knot grippers here!
CRAFTING NEEDLE, BOBBY PIN & PAPER CLIP
We love sharing a good tool with you, and the moment you guys first saw our large crafting needle on some of our Tutorials you blew up our DM’s about where to find these needles! We knew we had to source them for you, and we’ve done just that!
Our new crafting needles have an extra large eye for you to easily thread cording. The end is a bit blunt, which is perfect for pushing through soft silicone beads and chewelry crafting. Sometimes it isn’t possible to get a cord back through a small bead, and we have LOVED having this crafting needle for those moments. We’re so excited that it's available for you too!
If you’re new to the chewelry world, you’ll look at the next two items and raise an eyebrow. A bobby pin and an opened paper clip??
Sister, trust us. These tools will easily loop thick cording and with an iron grip (or those handy pliers…), you can pull through just about anything!
We’ve all done it. You have a handful of beads you're sorting or setting up to be crafted. You have a butterfingers moment and a bead slips from your fingers.... and as it rolls away from you it collects some lint. What do you do?
Our photographer Sarah actually turned us on to this one! Sticky tack! When Sarah photographs our products, some colors (basically anything somewhat dark) is a magnet for tiny particles and dust. Once a studio light flashes, dust particles you couldn’t see with your eye show up! Wonderful. It doesn’t matter how clean your home (or studio) is - the beads will find the dust spots. No big deal though.
Simply stretch out your sticky tack so it's pliable, and dab it on to your bead or product. The sticky tack picks up and holds every particle. Your bead is dust free and ready to be photographed! You can also reuse your sticky tack quite a few times - just keep stretching it out and folding it onto itself to trap all those dust particles.
*Just to show you how well this works, we’ve purposely made a black bead dusty - can you believe that before and after?!
We have been so excited to share this new product with you, and we’re so excited they are finally here! If you’re sick of beads rolling away or if you just want to picture the length of your items before actually stringing all the beads, these boards are for you!
They come in two different styles - necklace/rounded form and bracelet/straight form. They’re covered in a soft velvety finish, have measurements and rulers printed right on them, and even have handy little sunken areas to store your beads when you’re in the middle of making products. They’re amazing for visualizing your ideas before you even string them! We LOVE this tool and have been using it for our own crafting projects (you know we’ve gotta test drive these new products out for you :P).
These are some of the tools we use regularly when we’re crafting and creating, but we’re sure that there are so many more out there! So, lets share! Do you have any tools or hacks that you use?? Pop them in the comments below for us and your fellow makers to read!