Simple Tips

Have a great beading idea, technique or time-saving tip? View helpful tips from other beaders and submit your own to share with the worldwide jewelry-making community.

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Use nuts and bolts hardware storage boxes - the kind with drawers - to store finished goods ready for sale. Put a removable label with your inventory number on each drawer. File pieces alphanumerically. No more frustrated searches for an item when you have sold it on the web!

- Mary
I use baby food jars to put my beads and other small things in. I remove the labels and glue from the jars. You can place the jars on a shelf, I stack one on the other, very easy to see what's in the jars. This works great for me, hope it works for you too.

- Debra
I use old screw and nail containers to organize all my findings. I also buy small clear plastic containers from the Dollar Store® to organize my beads and wire and other small things. For my assortment of feathers I use an old science fair board to tape the plastic bags onto, so they are displayed nicely and easy to reach.

- Kathleen
My mother had an old spice rack that spins. I use it for my clasps and such.

- Vikki
When I have a project that I have decided to make, I gather EVERYTHING I will need, and I mean EVERYTHING and put it ALL in a gallon plastic bag, including the pattern, if using. I mark the outside of the bag, which project it is, and if I will be needing to order more from Fire Mountain before I start. That way when I have decided to work on the project, I can pick up the gallon bag and it is all ready to go. I find I work on a few projects at a time, and this makes it easier to find, and keeps me organized!

- Lisa
I use the clear plastic egg cartons from the grocery store to store my beads and findings in. I then just stack them up on my work table and can easily find what I want.

- Sheryle
My grandma gave me a padded lap desk with a light, cup and pencil holder. I am planning to apply VELCRO® to the top surface and attach the other side of the VELCRO to a deviled egg platter for organizing beads while in use. For storage, I like the spice racks and baby food containers. I would like to build a rack that holds rows of 7 to 10 baby food jars with 4 to ten columns in a spice rack style for mounting to the wall above my desk. If anyone has made racks like these, please let me know!

- Julia
Dropped some beads on the floor? Here's a quick way to pick them up--just take a piece of tape (duct tape works best) and turn it inside out and make a loop of it then pick up the beads! Also works for picking up small bits of thread or paper from your work area! Here's a tip to store your hook-style earrings: Make a "box" out of plastic canvas any size you want. Just take 2 pieces of the same size for the front and back, then cut strips about 1 1/2" for the sides. Then sew or hot glue the edges together to make the "box." If you use the piece of the canvas that has the hanging tab on the top-you can use it for the back piece--just center the tab in the middle on the top for hanging. Otherwise you can just hang it on a nail. I have one hanging in my bathroom and can see my earrings at a glance and they stay organized! You could also use one to hang your earrings on when making several pairs (a place to park them)!

- Queen Jodi
I use tiny, less than 2oz, rectangular, clear storage containers with white lids, that are available at Dollar Tree® stores, 10 in a package for (obviously) a dollar. They fit perfectly stacked on their short ends 10 deep and 4 wide in the rolling plastic and chrome caddy I picked up on mega sale at Jo-Ann's, the ones with rainbow-colored drawers. The bottoms are clear so you can see inside, but I often also add a little tag. The tops are almost the perfect size for the current rectangular, rounded corner FMG labels.

- Cristine
I love candles - especially the ones in odd-shaped jars with the stoppered lids. When the candle is burned down, I melt the last little bit of wax, clean the jar and voila! A perfect new storage jar for beads! These are great for larger focal beads, odd-sized nuggets and my "spare parts" from projects. Line the jars up on a bookshelf for storage and it's very easy to see and find.

- Dawn
As a stay-at-home mother of a 3-year-old little girl I find myself having to store away, hide, and move my jewelry supplies around often. I store the majority of my supplies neatly in clear plastic boxes up high on a shelf in my closet, along with finished projects waiting to be sold. Then I pack a sturdy picnic basket full of projects I want to complete throughout the week. The picnic basket is amazingly portable, easy to pack my supplies in quickly, and most importantly--it can be set up on top of the refrigerator, away from little hands. I have clear plastic containers inside so I stay organized and because of this I'm able to pack everything away in a matter of minutes--just in case a nap ends sooner than I expected.

- Destenie from New Hampshire
Before reusing those plastic bags your beads come in, you can remove the "MADE IN ..." printed on the outside by dipping a cotton ball or a paper towel in acetone (as in fingernail polish remover). You have a clean bag for storage or use for customers.

- Beverly from Georgia
I laid out one of my favorite necklace/bracelets on my beading board. With a black Sharpie®, mark where they ended. All I do now is design knowing it will be the correct length. Also, if you have any cafeteria food trays, these work GREAT for beading. I covered mine with black felt and it can hold lots of beads and the bead board. One of my favorite bead organizers is a "change" drawer from a money box. Holds beads, tools, bad beads, wire, etc.

- Judy from Texas
I purchased several old lunch trays like those used in school cafeterias. When working on projects, I put everything I need in the various cup/dessert/vegetable areas and put a bead mat in the middle. I can work on several projects without confusion and just stack them when I can't :( bead.

- Suzanne from Michigan
I used to work at Ritz Camera and was able to take home a good amount of Fujifilm canisters to store my beads in (my husband uses them for his chain mail too). Each canister can hold about a hank of beads and the Fuji brand is nearly clear so you can see the beads' color. Then, I printed out labels on my computer to put on the canisters with a description of the contents. An added bonus to these canisters is that the lid can double as a little sample palette when working on a project. You can go to any place they develop film and ask for their canisters, they'll give them free because they're usually thrown away anyway!

- Amanda from Maryland
I purchased a toothbrush holder to hold my tools upright. It's not a totally closed container, but just enclosed enough to hold the center portion of the tool. Turn the handles upside down and insert one handle into the slot.

- Christine from Washington
I like to display strands of beads (especially pearls) on walls. It takes care of storage and decorating at once! I buy cheap yardsticks from local hardware stores (under a dollar) and put very small nails every inch for hanging strands on. Then I use two bigger nails to secure the yard stick to the wall. This does less damage to the wall than putting all those nails directly in, and your beads are spaced evenly. It also works on the backs or sides of book cases. I usually paint the yardsticks before I hang them, but if you don't, you can also use them for measuring strings of beads!

- Tabby from Ohio
My husband used to smoke large cigars that were packaged in glass tubes with cork top closures. These are so nice for seed beads or any beads. What is so nice about it, is it doesn't cost me anything and his cigar smoking friends give them to me also. Happy beading,

- Mary from the U.S.
I use the plastic containers that hold baby food to store my different beads in. They are cheap, grip tightly, and are easily seen through. They also stack nicely.

- Janice from South Carolina
The plastic pill boxes that hold a week or more of pills works great for holding small amounts of, or single, beads. I can put matching colors or sizes in the same container with seven compartments. You may be able to find the extra large ones or multiple times a day container. I was given one that was opaque and was frustrated that I couldn't see the beads, so I taped one bead to the top or each "day." Now I know what's inside.

- Debra from Oregon
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