Many of my orders from Fire Mountain Gems arrive in flat Priority Mail boxes that are about 9 x 12 inches. A bead mat fits in nicely and any unfinished project that needs to be put on hold can be stacked and stored neatly.
My dog's moist food comes in little plastic white trays. I (obviously!) wash them out and reuse them to hold current bead projects. They're also perfect for paints and powders. The octagonal shape of them even allows me to poor the tiniest seed beads back in the bag.
Cigar boxes to hold plastic templates and cash box. Broccoli elastics that hold lots of things in place. Christmas ornament hooks for displaying. Painter's canvas drop cloth for a tablecloth. Soup can tins to hold my scissors and tools. Toothpicks to spread glue. White plastic takeout containers with clear lids for sand and quill storage.
I use antique pipe stands to hold hand tools, such as pliers and cutters. Originally intended to hold a variety of smoking pipes, some of these stands also have boxes incorporated that initially held tobacco. These keep tools organized and close at hand.
I use "parts cabinets" to sort all my jewelry making supplies. The labels from Fire Mountain are easy to trim, leaving the item # and the name and size beads etc., these fit the individual drawers. Makes things easy to sort and find.
I use a 3-tier shoe tree for displaying necklaces. Slip the necklace over one or two shoe holders and you can hang matching bracelets too. The best part is each of the 3 tiers rotates. And the tower takes up vertical space on my display table, leaving room for other items.
I use display inserts and little plastic vials w/lids (H20-2404PK) to hold my beads. Several of these will fit in each section of my sectioned bead box. I organize by color so this keeps the beads separated nicely.
I store my beads in clear plastic bags, either 2x3 or smaller, inside clear plastic shoe boxes. I have 12 boxes labeled according to type such as Czech, Swarovski, pearl/MOP, wood, silver, gold, nameable gemstones, black/white/hematite, etc. On the bags I label: size, cost, bead name and then I figure price per bead and write that on the label as well. I also keep the Fire Mountain label so I can order again.
I use lids from plastic containers such as yogurt, cottage cheese, etc. to place my beads in while I am making my bracelets or necklaces. They are small enough to fit several on my desk, even if I have many different types in one project.
Here is a simple way to display earrings for a show or at home. Use a staple gun to attach a piece of screening to the open section of a frame. Then just hook your earrings through the openings of the screen. Plain or fancy frames, whichever you prefer, they both look great!
I like to work with lace, silk and other delicate fabrics on my bead embroidery projects. To prevent fraying and lumps, I use double-sided tape on the back side of my Lacy's Stiff Stuff™ or Ultra Suede. I fold the lace or delicate fabric carefully to the back side of my Stiff Stuff or suede against the double-sided tape. Without bumps and frays I can finish my work.
It's tempting to have a matched set of jewelry-making tools. But, I like the fact that the handles on my most-used tools are all different. When I had an all blue set I had to stop concentrating on my project to identify the wanted tool by its shape and function. Now when it's time for me to change from chain-nose (red handles) to round-nose (zebra-striped handles) pliers I only need a quick glance at my work surface to identify what I need next.
While baking Kato Polyclay™ I burnt it black and was going to trash it. Do not trash it: 1) Let cool 2) Drill hole for a finding of your choosing 3) Cover with clear-drying glue 4) Then add glitter color of your choosing. Do steps 3 and 4 to the back and let dry over-night. If it needs more glitter, add more until it looks the way you want it. After it is done the way you want it, coat with clear varnish, as many coats as you want. Add clasp and chain. Voila, from trash to a piece of jewelry.
I found out that a cheap toilet paper holder mounted on a piece of wood works great as a dispenser for the Silkon® brand thread. So does a vertical paper towel holder. Keeps everything organized, and it's easy to "reload" when I run out of a spool. For other spool types, I use a dowel rod resting in a Y-fork of some kind or another. Sometimes I mount it on a wall, sometimes I just leave it free-standing.
I make many pairs of pierced earrings with earwires rather than posts. It is easy to turn a mesh wastepaper basket upside down and hang the earrings around the basket. For display, put the basket on a turntable or Lazy Susan and you can fill the inside with colored cellophane and secure a mirror to the top (which is now the bottom since you flipped it over!).