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Tips For Organizing Your Beads and Tools

I have been making jewelry since I was 14. I have tried many things to organize my beads. Below are some ideas I have come across over the years. Maybe they can help you to a more productive beading session.

• Those plastic containers with divided sections inside the box can come in handy. Be careful when purchasing these. They are used sometimes for other purposes, such as bait and tackle for fishing and are not really made for beads. Check the container for removable walls in the sections. These are ok for tools, wire, and bigger beads. Seed beads sneak under the walls if they shift. Test the container by closing the lid. Do those plastic divider walls touch the lid when it is closed? If so, it is a great container for tiny parts and beads 4mm and smaller.

• I have a basket for "Urgent" jobs, and "Upcoming Projects" out in the open in my studio. No matter where I go, I can see those projects. This is a great way to remind me they are due.

• Someone I knew made a corkboard with an old frame. They then kept all the little ziplock bags they get from the bead store. They labeled them then pinned the bags to the corkboard. This is a great idea because you can arrange the baggies in ways to get color ideas and in the order of your projects.

• Portable bead containers are great. I have one from Michael's. It is 4 clear containers with the dividers inside a pretty fabric box with handles. It is about 8" x 10?. This is a great tool for me because sometimes I make custom orders on the spot at a party or a gathering for family and friends. They love it and I have everything I need. I found this item in the scrap booking section. Always check other sections of craft stores for beading supplies.

• If you want to go decorative and vintage, I have old Japanese bowls used for soy sauce. These tiny bowls are great for dividing up seed beads and putting the colors out on a table for inspiration. Old porcelain jewelry boxes, crystal candy dishes and ring holders are also useful. I get these items at tag sales or second hand shops.

• Bead trays from jewelry display companies. These inexpensive, stackable trays made of plastic or wood come in many colors, but most people use black. They have many options in flocked and non-flocked inserts (fuzzy material or smooth plastic). These inserts can be divided into many shapes to hold beads, pendants and chains. They are great for displaying jewelry too. These trays are standard sizes and they even have bags and rolling suitcases to hold these trays. This can be costly so research your product before buying.

• Large plastic storage containers with lids are an inexpensive way to store all kinds of bead trays and equipment. These can be bought at any large retailer.

• I organize my beads inside the plastic divided containers by color and kind very similar to how the online bead retailers organize theirs. I have one for semi-precious stones, Czech glass, seed beads, homemade clay beads, pearls, silver and metals. Inside each box I organize beads by color. For example, I have amethyst, cherry quartz, Citrine in individual compartments in my box for semi precious stones. If I am running out of room in the container I might add fluorite to my amethyst compartment. It might even spark inspiration for a necklace.

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