Friday, August 5, 2011

Organizing Beads

For years I beaded with seed beads. Organizing them wasn't really a problem. They came in those little tubes. You lay them out, pick your poison, and start crafting.
Eventually my seed bead assortment grew when I bought them by the hank.. too many for one of those little stoppered tubes, so I used 35mm film canisters, (anyone remember those?) and empty prescription bottles. I stuck a label to the lid and wrote the type of bead housed inside. 
I kept these bottles in a shoe box. So like the tubes, I could just peer at the assortment, chose my liking, and go to work.

But now my beading has grown beyond seed beads. I have bugles, clay, glass, plastic, chunky, tiny, some with just a few the same, and some with many the same. Organizing them was a problem. I found myself bead shopping and constantly thinking, "Do I have some like this already?" or even worse, complete a project and THEN find the perfect bead in my stash that I had all along.
So first I bought a box of small 3" x 5" zip lock bags so I could get rid of the opened bags of all shapes and sizes held closed with straight pins. It also gave me something to put beads in when I took apart a vintage necklace. I decided it made the most sense to organize them by color, so I cut up a cardboard box and taped strips of cardboard into a plastic storage drawer using box tape. I spaced them a couple of inches apart forming dividers in the drawer.
 I think you can see what I did in this picture. I only put the tape across the bottom of the strip of cardboard, so it's only secured across the bottom. It's not attached to the sides of the drawer, so it can flop back and forth. I taped both the front and back so I wouldn't have an issue of the bead bags sliding under the dividers and getting stuck. I started to label the cardboard pieces with the color names, but that might vary from time to time, I decided not to do that. Here's my current assortment of blue/green beads.
 As you can see I have them in all shapes, quantities, and sizes. At present the blue/greens are in the first divided section of the drawer.
 The reds/pinks are in the next section... and so on.
 So now, when I'm making a pair of earrings, or beading a watch band and want to make it blue and silver, I just open the drawer, flip to the blue section and choose from my blue/green assortment, then flip to the silver section and make my choice there. It may not look pretty, but it works like a charm. I'm not buying duplicates, and I'm using my beads more effectively.
 What organization challenges have you solved with your craft supplies?


  1. Thank you for reminding me that I really need to do this! Great tips. Wanna come organize my craft room??? Blessings...

    Saved By Love Creations

  2. great organizing. If you get a chance I would love you to link your tips up to More the Merrier Monday. It lasts through Wednesday so you have plenty of time to stop by. See you there.

  3. I love checking out what others have done to organize their studios, you have done a great job:):) One of these days I shall post a peek into my studio:)

  4. wow! brilliant idea. thanks for sharing. Im your new follower

    I would like to invite you for the giveaway party at


  5. Great idea! Thanks for sharing! I am visiting from Someday Crafts and I am a new follower!! Hope you have a great week and I see you around soon!