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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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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.

- Mary from Washington
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.

- Lara
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!).

- Pam
I reuse the clear plastic clam shell type packaging from crystals to display small earrings that I am selling. Easy to hang on a rack, and protective too.

- Sue
For National Breast Cancer Awareness Month you may want to get a mammogram. When I went last week I asked for and received a pink sponge-like mat for beading which had been used to cushion the coldness of the machine from your skin. One side is spongy and secures your beads and the other side is sticky and keeps your mat stationary.

- Sue
To make a simple inexpensive earring display, use a wire trash can. Turn it upside down and place it on a Lazy Susan. It's great for displaying earrings and turns easily for selection.

- Kristina
I use the plastic boxes that business cards come in to store and they stack well.

- Janis
Take a travel size Tylenol® bottle and use it to store your needles in. You can also make it pretty by doing peyote stitch around it.

- Betty
To display earrings to sell; take a picture frame (any size) without backing or glass. Cut 3 pieces of coated wire or just wire and attach across frame in back--wide enough apart to hang 3 rows of earrings. We put earrings on the little black cards with holes you can buy--they hang beautifully over the wire and look great.

- Denise
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
I like to use an old coaster with cork lining to hold my seed beads. It has just enough of an edge the beads don't run off. A nice mini beading board.

- Anna
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 use the amber bottles that medicine comes in. I take off the medicine label and place the label that comes with the beads. I also use a binder with the clear pockets in it to hold any of my bead books that fall apart.

- Karren from Maryland
Prescription bottles make great storage containers. I also peel the label off the bags and attach them to the prescription bottle. The plastic bags that the order is shipped in are used to ''stage'' a customer's order and also to ''stage'' materials for a project. Everything gets used!

- Lesley from Pennsylvania
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 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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