Bead Boards

Written by Sarah Provost
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Bead boards are a great convenience when designing necklaces and other jewelry. At its simplest, a bead board is just a molded plastic tray with grooves or channels to put your beads in. The grooves may be straight or curved in a U shape, and the purpose is to help you envision your necklace before stringing it, and to keep the beads organized while you are working. There are also usually compartments for extra beads.

Many bead boards are covered with flocking to help keep the beads from rolling around. They come in various sizes, generally up to about 40 inches. Buy a longer one, since you can always put fewer beads in for shorter necklaces, but you can't adapt a short board for a longer necklace.

You can also get bead boards with grooves for multiple strands. Again, I recommend this. It's extremely useful for envisioning multi-strand works, and you can always use just one groove.

Other Types of Bead Boards

Plastic trays without backing are flimsy, so many are backed, with everything from cardboard to polished wood. The trays themselves may be made of wood, and some come with straps and covers for transporting them with beads in. If you want to get really fancy, there's a solid-oak bead board covered with ultrasuede. There are also bead boards especially designed for use with liquid silver, liquid gold, delica beads, seed beads, bugle beads and other tiny, hard-to-handle varieties.

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