I've been experimenting and introducing myself with trying out tube fly tying the last couple of months. I have only been using q-tips, but they seem to work okay.
I have used a straightened paperclip lined with masking tape. I cut the tape at an angle before putting it on the paperclip and then made it so the tape thickness tapers so that the farther you put the q-tip tube on the paperclip the tighter it gets. It has worked really well for me. Ive probably tied 4-5 dozen with the one paperclip, and if it wears out, I can always make another.