I'm all for making tasks a little easier, especially when there are sharp things involved. So, I've put together some of my favourite craft tricks and tips to make craft bits and pieces easier to find, and craft projects more successful and altogether less frustrating.
Threading a needle
This is especially helpful with yarns that tend to separate easily such as embroidery thread or thicker yarns such as wool. It even works with string.
Wrap a small piece of sellotape around the end of your thread. Pinch the sellotape so that it flattens the thread. Trim off the excess sellotape on both sides so that it fits through the eye of the needle. Now your thread will move through the needle easily.
Another way is to cut a tiny piece of paper as shown here or stiffen the thread end with hairspray.
Storing ribbon on a paper holder
Loading your ribbons onto a paper towel holder keeps them all in one place and easy to use. Place the larger rolls at the bottom.
A bowl and a bulldog clip is all you need. Simply clip the bulldog clip to the side of the bowl. Place your wool in the bowl and thread the wool through the clip.
How to dry beads
I find it easiest to paint beads is to hold them and do one at the time. I've tried spray painting them in the past without luck as coverage was very uneven.
Once you've painted a bead, thread it onto a wooden skewer and rest the skewer over a bowl. This allows the beads to dry without touching another surface and gives you a better view of any spots you've missed.
Stray sewing pins and needles
Keep a magnet in your sewing bag to pick up those stray pins and needles (on the table and floor!) once you’re finished.
Keeping your scissors sharp
Cut through sandpaper several times to keep your everyday scissors sharp. Cutting through tinfoil a few times works as well and this method also keeps craft punches sharp well.
Remember to NEVER use your sewing scissors for ANYTHING other than cutting fabric. This is the best thing you can do to keep your sewing scissors sharp.
Making your hand stitches even
Make two evenly spaced pen or felt marks on the thumb you don't hand sew with. This is your distance guide of where to aim with each stitch you sew.
Keeping your iron clean
Mix a little salt and vinegar in a pot and warm on the stove (or microwave). Apply the warm mixture to your iron with a cloth to remove built-up grime.
Keep embroidery thread from tangling
Embroidery thread just loves to get tangled! To save a lot of swearing and gnashing of teeth, wind each individual colour around a clothes peg and secure the thread end with the peg. Here's a great example.
To reduce the number of stringy glue bits on your craft project, keep the sticks in your freezer until you're ready to use them. If you have any stray 'glue string' on your finished project, melt them away with a hairdryer, keep the blow pressure on low as you won't want to blow away any delicate work!
Storing bits and pieces
I love organised storage as much as making things. My husband would tell you I have an unhealthy obsession with buying storage, but we're not listening to him.
Use ice cube trays to store those fiddling little bits like jump rings, beads and buttons. The trays are inexpensive and can be stacked on top of each other to allow for more space - and more crafts - and more storage. You get the idea.