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How to Organize Beads

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Bead Organization
by Kathy, Valley Stream, NY

 

I do a lot of bead work and I have a large compartment container that I have them all in. When I am working on a project and I do not want to drag the whole unit with me, I use empty tic-tac containers to transport my seed beads. You can also use the small plastic containers that the kids get from the quarter machines at the supermarket; they work great! Just thought I would pass that along!

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Hi to all especially Hanpawin: You sound very practical and organized just like me. There is only so much space to be had and so much $ to organize with. I loved your ideas so I thought I'd let you know a few of mine. Latest, I buy clear straight sided Salt & Pepper shakers that just by chance fit into those Keurig and Tassimo coffee pod holders. They usually hold 4 jars on each of 5 sides and spin around easily to the colours and styles of beads. Then I use the flat plastic boxes to hold my huge collection of tiny round clear containers for findings and small beads. If you have the space you can line up the pod holders on a narrow shelf within reach. That works fine but my latest idea is to have stackable MDF file shelves that secretaries use for paper mostly In/Out style. Stack them if you have a few. Mine was in at my pc desk and I got the idea that it would be more useful for beads. I put the jars top side in first so I can see the clear glass bottems of beads. My shelf has 4 shelves and each holds about 10 S&P jars with enough room for another row across the top of the first row. that makes about 75 jars per shelf unit which is good too but more shelf units would work for me. Soon. I also made one of those bead spinner bowls out of a 25 cent slightly deep wooden bowl which my husband attached to one of the coffee pod spinners that had cracked I didn't need anymore. While storing round containers on my desk is very handy for pencils, scissors, tools, etc. and I love having the desk in front of the double window I would prefer that whole wall be a built in but alas that too will come someday. Hope I've sharpened your creativity and idea buttons and ty for your ideas.

because I do so much beading, small containers don't work for me. I use the old style wooden cigar boxes and have my crystals sorted by colors, also my St Silver finds such as headpins, clasps, etc are also sorted in boxes. when I ran out of those, I purchsed the cheap dollar store pretty boxes and put labels on them. I have an old metal choclate tin for all my tools (after I lined it with felt) and a separate box for all my stringing materials. Makes it so much easier to pull out what I need for each project.

Does anyone burn candles? I find the small and large jars work great for storage of smaller items such as beads and when stored on the shelf, give color to my craft room. I burn a lot of candles so I have a lot of things stored in the jars.

I am also an avid beadworker. I used all the things mentioned here and didn't find any of them satisfactory. Like one of the other commentors said, "you have to be able to see the colors of your beads". I finally searched and searched for a way to store my beads. I bought the stackable drawers, I now have 5 sets; then I decided to purchase coin collectors storage bottles. I went with these little containers because they are clear, the half dollar size holds one hank of beads, and the tops screw on so they won't pop off of the little jars. I store the jars in the plastic drawers when not in use and I put the jars upside down so I can see the colors. I have drawers for size 13 and 15, another for the 11's and another set for the cut beads and yet another set for size 9 three-cut beads. Now I can see my colors and they are easy to transport. I also use the jewelry display trays as a tray to work from. I line the bottoms with a couple of cut to size fleece pieces and on top of this I put a cut to size velux piece. My beads don't roll around on this stuff. My little jars line up along the top edge upside down so I can see the colors good. I also use those little collector spoons to "dish" out a little pile of beads to work from. If I need to transport my work with me I take another cut to size piece of velux and lay it on top of my beads on the tray then fold a hand towel and put that over the velux and finally i put three rubber bands around the tray to hold everything on it. You can get the "jars" on ebay and I purchase a hundred at a time for around $25. The jewelry trays i get from Fire Mountain Beads (.com). I also get some of my velux pieces fro them too, they call them "bead pads". You can also go to a fabric outlet store and find remnants of the velux and cut your own. I store all my extra hanks/packages of seed beads in the plastic shoe boxes according to color family. They stack up nicely on a shelf. i sure hope this helps someone else with their storage problems. I am a Native American beadworker and my speciality is m fully beaded plains style moccasins.

I use the small containers from KFC. (The side order containers)

i used the container that the baby food comes in and i have quite a collection of it and it clear and you dont have to worry what color your missing and i also write the color on it to keep track of the one im out of

I use tiny zip lock bags to store my beads, you save a lot of space. I buy them at Walmart 100 for $1.

I store all my beads in those small part holders with all the drawers, and they can be hung on the wall. I use a lot of the Plastic Kool-Aid , instant cocoa, plastic baby food, baby juice bottles(plastic) containers to store different items in. Put labels on them an I'm ready to craft.

I keep my beads in either empty clean egg trays or empty clean ice cube trays. Of course, this is not practical for traveling, but it works for working at home. Prescription bottles are great too and I glue one of the beads on top with silicone glue (clear glue you use on aquariums) so I can see at a glance which beads are in which bottle if I have them all lined up and can only see the top of the bottles. I'm always on the lookout for tiny little bottles at yard sales to keep beads in too. Pretty cut glass ones with pretty beads make a pretty thing to look at as well.

I also use Tic-tac containers, small jars from pimentos, and small fragrance bottles from plug-in frangrances. I simply put a small cork in the top. For an extensive amount of beads (which I have) I acquired an antique spool cabinet and also a old map drawer. Both have wide drawers that are shallow. These hold lots of beads. The other thing to consider is a roll-about tool chest with shallow drawers. Very easy to move about inside your house.

All of the suggestions for organizing beads are great ones. I would like to add one more. I have found that if you have lots of strands as I do that using inexpensive tie/belt hangers that hold about 15 pieces and you can double up on hooks very easily. Of course, they have to be put in with bolts, but have really organized my strands. I've got a 12' wall with these hangers stretched end to end and in 3 layers. Hope this helps!

I use the clear stackable containers I found in the craft store for the larger beads and my brads fit in them too. They are easy to sort into colours & access.

I'm like a lot of you I have a lot of beads and other small parts and I wanted to share another little tip with you on storing beads and other small parts. I keep baby food jars and baby juice bottles to store seed beads in along with a lot of small pieces such as spacers,earrings small hair pieces,and small buttons, and wire for those earrings.

I was placed on disability in 2004. By 2008 I was pulling my hair out trying to live on the dribbles I got/get... (I was mostly a stay at home mom over the years and never racked up much of a work history)(Not trying to knock a free check...just couldn't live off of it!) Anyway, I started a small jewelry making business and just about went NUTS trying to keep all those "stupid" beads organized. I tried a ,lot of things, but they were all either to small, or not transparent enough(gotta be able to see the colors!) but I ended up trying to figure out how to organize my organizers! I FINALLY have a solution (thanks to my brilliant daughter!) I purchased a couple of multiple drawer towers by Steralite; the units with the shallow drawers all the same size....(10"W x 13"L x 3"D), and then stacked them. (Don't stack to many because you don't want it to get to top heavy!) I then divided up each drawer into 3 x 4 & 5 compartments. (12 to 15 compartments in each drawer) I store them by color and because I use so many I need the compartments to be big enough. You can use cardboard or plastic, wood, metal, or anything else that is sturdy enough to hold up and pliable enough to cut (unless you have a saw you can use...). Also, If you need to store large amounts of strung beads, I originally used the metal over the door shoe racks to hang them on. Ultimately, when I gathered to much for the shoe rack to handle, I finally Googled "store fixtures" and found many sites but liked this one in particular, http://www.dirtcheapfixtures.com/shop/product.aspx?id=1398 I found "Heavy Duty Single Slotted Standards" hung wooden slats on my walls about 4-6" apart (BE SURE TO USE WALL ANCHORS or ask for help from your local home improvement store) and hung the standards on the wooden slats. I then hung the brackets in the slots and hung the bead strands over the brackets. The standards are what you usually see glass shelves hung on in the mall stores, just minus the glass shelves! I use the standards that are 4' long. It gives me more room to manipulate the height placement on the walls. If you go to the website and look at the standards you'll get a sudden vision of what I'm talking about. I hope you find this helpful. I know I can't say enough about how helpful it has been to me in getting my beading life organized! Feel free to contact me with questions... shellyscorner@yahoo.com

I was placed on disability in 2004. By 2008 I was pulling my hair out trying to live on the dribbles I got/get... (I was mostly a stay at home mom over the years and never racked up much of a work history)(Not trying to knock a free check...just couldn't live off of it!) Anyway, I started a small jewelry making business and just about went NUTS trying to keep all those "stupid" beads organized. I tried a ,lot of things, but they were all either to small, or not transparent enough(gotta be able to see the colors!) but I ended up trying to figure out how to organize my organizers! I FINALLY have a solution (thanks to my brilliant daughter!) I purchased a couple of multiple drawer towers by Steralite; the units with the shallow drawers all the same size....(10"W x 13"L x 3"D), and then stacked them. (Don't stack to many because you don't want it to get to top heavy!) I then divided up each drawer into 3 x 4 & 5 compartments. (12 to 15 compartments in each drawer) I store them by color and because I use so many I need the compartments to be big enough. You can use cardboard or plastic, wood, metal, or anything else that is sturdy enough to hold up and pliable enough to cut (unless you have a saw you can use...). Also, If you need to store large amounts of strung beads, I originally used the metal over the door shoe racks to hang them on. Ultimately, when I gathered to much for the shoe rack to handle, I finally Googled "store fixtures" and found many sites but liked this one in particular, http://www.dirtcheapfixtures.com/shop/product.aspx?id=1398 I found "Heavy Duty Single Slotted Standards" hung wooden slats on my walls about 4-6" apart (BE SURE TO USE WALL ANCHORS or ask for help from your local home improvement store) and hung the standards on the wooden slats. I then hung the brackets in the slots and hung the bead strands over the brackets. The standards are what you usually see glass shelves hung on in the mall stores, just minus the glass shelves! I use the standards that are 4' long. It gives me more room to manipulate the height placement on the walls. If you go to the website and look at the standards you'll get a sudden vision of what I'm talking about. I hope you find this helpful. I know I can't say enough about how helpful it has been to me in getting my beading life organized! Feel free to contact me with questions... shellyscorner@yahoo.com

I use the empty prescription bottles for beads, pins, swivels, anything tiny. they have the lock caps so they don't spill out. I also use them for my plastic needles, and markers I use when I crochet. If I leave a plastic needle laying around my dog chews it up.

The containers that your side dishes come in @ KFC come in work great. They are reuseable & hold a good amout of beads.

There is a "scrapbook" case with about a dozen smaller cases inside (available at CostCo) that are great for small beading projects. Re: "Tic-Tac" cases-- get the soft plastic ones available through beading supply vendors (Out on a Whim is the one I bought mine from), rather than the real Tic-tac or the WalMart versions in hard plastic. The hard plastic ones can shatter if dropped, and eventually, the tops fail to fit tightly and will "pop" off. PS: If you do a "lot" of beadwork, or if you've done it for a long time, unless that "large compartment container" is an old type setters' case, you can't even START to contain "all" your beads.... I suggest getting METAL shelving to hold your compartmented boxes and hardware drawer sets.

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