If beading is your hobby, then you know the cardinal rule of bead workers: You can never have too many beads! Shopping for beads and beading supplies can be as much fun and as satisfying as creating beautiful jewelry. There always seems to be another shape, color, or finish to a certain type of bead or gemstone that you simply must have. Or a new tool comes along that will make a job faster or easier. Why not add it to your beading supplies?
Before you know it, you’ve got quite a stash of beads and beading supplies. Now may be a good time to give some thought to how to organize and store all of your goodies. Having fantastic beads isn’t much good if you can’t find them when you want to add them to your latest creation. That new tool won’t help if you can’t find it.
Get it together.
The solution is, of course, to get yourself organized. For some of us, that may be easier said than done. Toward that end, here are some great tips on storing your beads, beading supplies, and tools so they’ll be readily available and easily located when you’re ready to create your next work of art.
Boxes and caddies are good for bead organizing.
If you look in the storage section of your local craft store, you’ll find all sorts of boxes and caddies for storage. There will be some that seem huge, while others will look like they’d barely hold a gnat. Most of these will be made of plastic and may have drawers or individual boxes already labeled for different types of beads and findings. More than likely, you’ll be able to find what you need to get organized in the craft store. You may end up paying a bit more for it at a specialty store.
As an alternative, take a look in a general merchandise store. Find the outdoor section and look specifically for the fishing supplies. Check out the tackle boxes. Many times a tackle box makes a fantastic carrier and storage container. They are divided into various size boxes, and most include layers of trays that stack when you close the box.
The main thing you need to do, regardless of where you find a compartmentalized storage container, is to label the compartments. This is especially important when storing gemstone beads, some of which may look very similar. You don’t want to confuse raw emerald with bloodstone, for example.
Beware the invasion of bead tubes.
Small beads, like seed beads, frequently come in small tubes. Keeping up with these can rapidly become a nightmare scenario. What you need is a way to contain them all in one storage unit and be able to find them easily when you need them. For a great solution, head to the photography section of your general merchandise store or your local photography supply shop in the mall.A photo storage box may be just what you need. This type of container is a large plastic box with individual little containers that were designed to hold 4x6 photos. This makes a perfect little snap-open box for bead tubes, small spools of thread or wire, and beading needles. Most are clear plastic with space where you can add labels. They will generally be clear so you can easily see what’s inside.
Finding your findings is necessary.
For a handy organizer for your findings, head to the home improvement section of your local store. Tool box organizers with snap-close lids make fantastic containers for your hardware supplies and findings. These plastic boxes are lightweight, inexpensive, and convenient. They are an equal part tool box, where you can keep your jewelry pliers and crimping tool, and small item storage container, where you can keep your clasps, metal spacers, earring studs, and jump rings.
These tool box organizers will stack easily on a shelf. You can arrange the dividers to accommodate rolls of wire, chains, and spools of leather cord that won’t fit in the little compartments.
Don’t forget about your seed beads.
Seed beads are beautiful little beads that can become a disaster if not stored properly. Most of the better glass seed beads come in hanks. These can be hung on a peg board, but you need to be certain to securely tie a cord or put a rubber band around the top before hanging it.
Seed beads also come in small bags. These can make a huge mess very quickly. Keeping seed beads in test tubes is the way to go. Check with online science supply websites or homeschool supply websites for test tubes with stoppers and racks in which to store them. They are inexpensive, and keep all your seed beads organized and easily accessible