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I'd like to fly with my crafting projects as carry-on (backpack, tote bag, whatever). Think: sewing needle, fabric scissors, glue gun, metal beads, crochet hook, knitting needles.

big scissors tiny scissors kid's scissors

While non-metal alternatives are available for some supplies, it's not possible for all of them (bamboo needle?) I'm hesitant to put them on carry on because sometimes crafts can be elaborate, delicate, or too time consuming for the standard throw-toss-kick treatment of luggage on some airlines.

I'd like the question to be as generic as possible (I'm a US traveler).

Question: Are there any objects which are not allowed period? What are things to watch out for? Are there any objects one should inform security screeners about? Are there any acceptable alternatives - for example, tiny scissors instead of the large ones above, or kids scissors, or would it not matter as they all contain metal?

Also, would it be permissible to do simple crafts such as sewing, knitting, or crochet while aboard the airplane?

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Why do you want to put it carry-on? Anything particularly expensive or fragile? Even though TSA might have a published list, I would never want to be in a situation where I'm running late for a flight and have to then start explaining myself to airport security. –  Ankur Banerjee Nov 10 '11 at 23:11
    
@Ankur Because "united breaks guitars". –  rlb.usa Nov 10 '11 at 23:12
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up vote 7 down vote accepted

The TSA website has a full list of items prohibited from air travel, broken down by carry-on and checked luggage.

Scissors with blades shorter than 4 inches are allowed.

There is no mention in that list of sewing or knitting needles; I've flown with a small sewing kit in my carry-on bag before and it wasn't a problem at all. The closest category I found for knitting needs would be tools, and if they are 7 inches tall or smaller, they're permitted in carry-on bags. I'd say you'll be fine; I've seen people knit on planes without any trouble, too.

I imagine the glue for your glue gun would need to go in your liquids bag and be small quantities (per the 3-1-1 rule). If you bring a glue gun, I would take the precaution of putting it in a tray separately (i.e., outside your bag and visible) through the x-ray scanner and mention to the TSA agents that it's a glue gun. (It will look "suspicious" on the screen.) It's quicker than them taking you aside and searching your bag. However, I don't think it'd be very practical to do any crafts involving hot glue on a plane, though many planes have outlets in every row. I'm also not sure if there are rules about use of items that generate a lot of heat.

Regarding other items: if you take a look at the TSA's list of prohibited items, you should be able to figure out whether most items will be acceptable. The list is pretty comprehensive, so you should be able to figure out the status of an item similar to any of your craft items.

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