Vermont Assistive Technology Program

Adaptive Crafts Series: Beading

Winter is the best time for crafting. The days are short, it's cold outside, and it can feel cozy and calming to curl up with a project until spring. I like to make jewelry and paint, among other crafts. I am curating a series all about adapting crafts, and this week I'd like to share a few tools and techniques for beading with reduced dexterity and/or hand tremors. I also find that artistic expression supports my mental health, especially when I’m quarantining at home.
The ergonomics of your station are important. This woman is sitting comfortably in her chair with her feet on the ground, her knees and hips at about 90 degrees, and her desk height is just below her elbows. She has a task light on her desk.


  • Consider where you’ll be working. Find a comfortable chair with good support and set up at a table you can reach with your arms relaxed, elbows bent between 90-120 degrees.
  • Use your core, larger arm muscles and joints at your elbow and shoulder to steady your grip while working. Try to maintain a neutral spine and body alignment, with your hips and knees bent at around 90 degrees. Keep your shoulders relaxed and use a small stool or a few books under your feet so they are flat on a hard surface.
  • Soften the edge of your table with a towel and avoid leaning your wrists on any sharp edges.
  • Frequently change your posture to reduce stress at your joints. Maybe bring your project to the counter with a cushion under your feet while you stand; or, prop your project on an angled surface like a slant board, binder, wedge cushion, easel, desk riser or drafting table. Changing the angle can support your upper body joints and alleviate neck tension from all that time looking down.
  • Keep all materials within reach to avoid overextending your upper body.

Tools and Techniques

Someone holding the Vigor easy hold round nose pliers. The handles of the pliers are built up and are connected by a spring so that they don't open up to far. They are also wearing a forearm weight which is similar to a bean bag. It is tubular shaped and is worn on the forearm.
  • Try to select textured beads with larger holes to make threading them easier.
  • Try magnetic clasps or create necklaces that are long enough to slip over your head.
  • String a heavy bead on one end and clip the string to a cork board with thumb tacks to keep your project in place or use large clips.
  • Use waxed linen or thick wire that will hold its shape to make it easier to string beads without a needle and thread.
Spools of waxed linen string in 8 different colors and an example of how large beads are more easily strung on the waxed rigid string.
The bead smith tray has 5 indents - one at each corner and another in the center, to hold different kinds of beads for easy access. There are three long semi circular trenches in the centeer of the board used to lined up beads in a pattern so that you don't have to design as you are stringing the beads. There is a place to hold the thread.
Enjoy making jewelry with a kinder set up for your body. Be gentle with yourself as you experiment with new ways to make your favorite crafts.

Disclaimer: this is purely a list of potential assistive technology solutions and is not designed to fit everyone’s needs. If you have questions or would like more ideas, please reach out to the A.T. Program and consult with a specialist to discover the best A.T. for your unique experience.

The contents of this newsletter were submitted by Quinby McLellan; A.T. Access Specialist serving Chittenden, Grand Isle, Franklin, and Addison Counties. Check out past editions of our newsletter  and if you have a suggestion for a newsletter topic, use the Make a Suggestion button below!
Make a Suggestion
Contact the Vermont Assistive Technology Program by calling 1-800-750-6355 or by emailing For more information visit our website (
Vermont Assistive Technology Program Logo
Vermont Agency of Human Services, Department of Disabilities, Aging, and Independent Living
Center on Disability and Community Inclusion, The University of Vermont Education and Social Services College.
VocRehab Vermont, a proud partner of creative workforce solutions.
The Vermont Assistive Technology Program is part of the Vermont State Government’s Department of Disabilities, Aging, and Independent Living. The Vermont Assistive Technology Program partners with the University of Vermont’s Center on Disability and Community Inclusion to provide assistive technology services.
Subscribe to these Newsletters
Forward Forward
Share Share
Tweet Tweet
A.T Program Website
A.T Program Website
YouTube Channel
YouTube Channel
AT4ALL Inventory
AT4ALL Inventory
Copyright © 2021 Vermont Assistive Technology Program, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

This email was sent to <<Email Address>>
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences
Vermont Assistive Technology Program · 280 State Dr · N.O.B 1 North · Waterbury, VT 05671-1090 · USA

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp