How I store my seed beads
I have been beading for about 8 years. I initially learned how to string pearls through a course I took from the Gemological Institute of America. These days, hand knotting pearls is probably the last thing that beaders learn how to do. Now, I think the natural progression of learning things is to start with crimping, then move on to wire work and finish up with knotting. I’m not sure where learning how to work with seed beads fits in the sequence of knowledge. I am only just now learning how to do it myself. For whatever weird reason I started collecting seed beads a few years back, even though I had no idea what I was going to do with them. I think that I may have a hoarding problem when it comes to beads. Fortunately, I don’t think I am alone in that.
At any rate, I took my beads out of the little tubes that they came in and put them in to one of those little flip top containers. It was horrible. Every time I opened the container I found that some of the beads had mixed in with their neighbors. Getting the beads in and out of their compartments was also a chore. It is no wonder that I never wanted to use the seed beads. Eventually my stash of pearls and stone beads grew enough that I needed to use those compartments for beads that I was actually going to use. I found the old bead tubes (I can’t seem to throw any kind of storage container away) and I randomly put them back in.
Those beads are still in the wrong tubes and unfortunately I have no idea what the product numbers are for some of them. I am hoping that I never need to buy more of certain colors. Now when I buy new seed beads I just leave them in the tubes that they came in. Sometimes beads come packaged in little plastic bags. I move those in to new tubes, but as I do it I be sure to label the tubes with my DYMO so that I know what they are. If I can’t fit them all in a tube, I put the remainder in a little plastic bag. I label the bag with the correct number and then I write “bs” on the tube so that I know that I have “back stock” of that particular bead. It doesn’t take long to do at all, and if I run out of a particular bead I can tell just by looking at the sticker on the tube if I have more. All of my little bags of extra beads are in a Christmas cookie tin in my closet. It is also labeled “Seed Bead Back Stock”. I bet you are wondering what did I do with all of those little tubes of beads?
I hung them on a peg board! Terry and I went to Home Depot and I picked up a piece of pegboard. It was pretty inexpensive and it came in a 2 ft by 4ft piece. I had them cut it in half so that I had two 2ft x 2ft pieces. I am only using one of them. We also purchased some pieces of wood that are 2″x2″ by 8 ft. We had them cut those down in to 2ft sections. I probably could have purchased a pretty peg board that was ready to go, but I was all about being thrifty. Terry screwed three pieces of wood to the back of the peg board. One across the top, one across the bottom and once across the center. Terry thought that we should anchor it to the wall, but the two inches of wood that we needed to screw through sort of threw us for a loop, as we aren’t big DIY kind of people. So Geek drilled holes through the front of the peg board, about half way through the pieces of wood. He started at a peg hole, and made the hole large enough for the head of the screw to fit down in to it, then he put the screw down through the remainder of the wood and we screwed them in to wall anchors. That is about the best I can describe the hanging of the peg board. I pretty much left it up to the guys to do. I then purchased a bunch of pegs. I really need to take on more DIY projects on my own. I’m not ever going to learn how to do this kind of stuff if I never give it a go myself. I’m such a lucky girl to have so much wonderful help. Thanks guys!
To organize my beads, I have some of my tools across the top. The longer handled tools are hanging across the bottom. Larger seed beads and non swarovski crystals are kept to the right and across the bottom. All of my size 11s are in the middle. Size 15s are across the top to the right of the tools. I have the beads sorted by color within each category. Odds and ends also have their own areas. I have one peg that has triangle beads and another for hex beads. it is much easier for me to find the specialty beads this way. I don’t have many so it is still easy to glance and see what sizes I have.
Most of my headpins are too long to put in to the Craft Mates storage containers. I used to keep them in a flip top storage container. Unfortunately they suffered from “out of sight, out of mind”. I kept buying them when I didn’t need to and ended up with way more than any girl needs.
Headpins were the first findings that I moved to storage tubes, and I am so glad that I did.
I also keep my beading needles in the storage tubes, and of course the sizes have been labeled with my Dymo.
I also keep a couple of other things on the peg board.
My smaller spools of thread are lined up on pegs, as well as my smaller spools of colored wire.
I have also started a peg for my fireline.
Once we move in to someplace with more space I will probably bring the second peg board in to the house. The plan is to devote one board to beads, and the other board to tools and stringing materials.
The pegs can be a fairly inexpensive way to store supplies. I like that I can find just about anything that I am looking for at a glance.
For now I keep the remainder of my supplies in a cubby in my bookcase.
I picked the bookcase up at my local Ikea. If you are lucky enough to live I close to an Ikea, I really recommend you check them out.
I have one set of containers that fit snugly in to the cubby that I keep the remainder of my wire in.
I also keep my macrame stuff and my soldering stuff tucked away in there. I just have to remember to be sure that the soldering iron is completely cool before I put it away.
All of my beading books are also stored in one of the cubbies, although I am running out of room for those.
My magazines are kept in Magazine File Boxes.. I have quite a bit of shelf space dedicated to these.
I have one file that I keep all of my catalogs in, and then I have one file for each of the magazines that I buy regularly.
I really need to just subscribe to them all. There are a couple of magazines that I only buy periodically (ha ha), so I have one file dedicated to miscellaneous magazines.
For the most part this has worked well for me. My problem is that there are so many things that I want to make, I have trouble remembering where I saw the pattern
To combat that problem I have started marking the projects that I want to make. Right now I just have the pages marked with little tabs. I really need to dedicate different colored tabs for different kinds of projects. That, or I need to label them for projects that I have all the supplies for, projects that I need to order for, and projects with hard to find components. I’m still trying to hammer that out, but what I do do, is move the tab to the top of the magazine if I am currently working on that project.
In this magazine, I am currently working on the “Waves of Pearls” project. I have also started a notebook for projects that I want to make. Once I mark the projects in the magazine, I enter the magazine in to my notebook.
It is pretty low tech, I just write down the name of the magazine, the edition, the page number and then a brief description (or drawing) so that I can remember what it is.
That has eliminated the need to constantly rifle through magazines so that I can find a particular project.
But what about those projects that I foolishly ripped out of the magazine? Most of these were torn out of magazines when I went home to Florida last year. I wanted to bring back the projects, but I didn’t want to tote back a bunch of magazines. My trunk was already pretty full. I just ripped out the projects and decided I’d deal with organizing them once I got home. I picked up some inexpensive 3 ring binders and page protectors. . Problem solved. I also have binders for seasonal craft projects. Not only has this worked well for me, but it is fun to pull them out and thumb through them. I love flipping through them, because it is filled with page after page of projects that I want to make. This is also a good way to store projects that you print off the internet. I have two binders, one for projects that I want to make, and one for projects that I have already completed. I just can’t seem to part with instructions.
So that is pretty much my system. I have been collecting for a while, but I have really only hammered out a system that works for me in the last six months or so. For a long time I only beaded once every couple of months, now that there is a place for everything, I find myself enjoying it once again.