Craft Tools That Will Change Your Life: The Bead Reamer

Welcome to our first installment of “Craft Tools That Will Change Your Life.” Will there be a second installment? I can’t promise anything.

This stabby little marvel is called a bead reamer and, despite its giggle-inducing name, is one of the handiest pieces of equipment that you can add to your crafting arsenal. EVEN IF YOU ARE NOT A BEADER.

Wait. What? It’s ok. I’ll get to that.

The sad fact of crafting is that into every crafter’s life, a few bad beads will fall. Sometimes it’s more than a few beads. Sometimes it’s the whole @*&$-ing package.

You know what I mean – the cheap wooden beads with too-small or weirdly shaped or non-existent holes. Try as you might, you just can’t. get. the. string. through.

So, after a bit of a struggle and some colourful language, the offending bead goes into the reject cup or, worse, gets tossed behind the couch or into a nearby houseplant. What’s a girl to do?

Say hello to the bead reamer (giggle), your affordable answer to wonky bead holes!

Just look at the difference it made in these (cheap) wooden beads! On the left are the beads straight out of the package; the same beads, freshly-reamed, are on the right.

Want beads like the ones on the right? It couldn’t be simpler.

  1. Stick the pointy end into the hole of the janky bead.
  2. Twist, gently working the bead up the shank (giggle), if necessary.
  3. Repeat on the other side of the hole.
  4. Enjoy your perfectly usable bead.

20190116_110358.jpgSee all those teeny scratches in the metal? They’re just abrasive enough to file rough edges, get rid of bead boogers and open the bead hole, without causing any damage.

Starting a project with wonky beads? Take a few minutes to mindlessly ream all your beads (sorry, not sorry) and your crafting will go a LOT faster, I promise.

I picked my bead reamer up at Michael’s for under $10. ($9.99 less 40% – remember to use those coupons, kids!) So far, it has saved me at least 10 times that in rejected/discarded beads and general frustration.

Also important to note: In my experience, this particular reamer works only on wood and clay beads; but, to be honest, I’ve only had trouble with those two materials. If you have metal or glass beads with too-small holes, buy finer string or wire.

I kid! There actually are reamers made for glass and gemstone beads. They’re a bit fancier, with much thinner shanks and (I kid you not) a diamond-dust coating that has to be used wet. I am nowhere near that hardcore.

Other uses for the bead reamer? I’m glad you asked.

It’s a sharp, pointy stick, so there’s that. You can use it for poking holes in things, obviously, but it’s also super-handy for positioning little bits of stuff, placing stickers and, of course, self-defense. I’ll update this list as I remember more…