Bead Storage and other tips

Ideas and tips with names and addressess are from Bead Style Magazine

Frugal beading tips for organizing and selling

Use what you have and get creative with freebies.
by Cathy Jakicic
Published: July 1, 2011
No one loves new organizational tools and containers more than I do, but I also get satisfaction from finding new uses for things I already have. Here are two organizational tricks to try with items that may already be in your bead room or office. Plus, a free source of professional-looking price tags.

Inspiration and free time seldom come simultaneously. I use cheap clipboards to keep some-day-project materials together. I re-use plastic bags in different sizes so I can see all of the elements. I usually add a note to remind my future self what I had in mind when the inspiration hit.


I needed a few of these cool vessels for message-in-a-bottle necklaces. They’re sold by the dozen, so I use the rest to keeps small amounts of tiny beads organized and visible. If I make more necklaces later, I always know where the extra bottles are. PS: I got these at Rings & Things.


When I do a craft or trunk show, I like to have number of lower-cost “impulse buys” ready — usually at the same price. A quick way to make small professional-looking tags in quantity can by found in the template/clip art section of Martha Stewart’s Web site. Try the Date Clip Art. When you fill in the price on one tag, it is automatically copied to the rest. What a time saver!

I use an inexpensive computer armoire for my beading. The computer keyboard tray slides out for my long bead design board and the shelves hold my assorted bead drawers. I put up cork boards on the inside of each door and hang my tools and strands of beads on push pins. When I’m done working, I simply close the doors and it’s all neat and tidy. – Terri Dassing, Palm Harbor, FL

enlarging a bead hole If the hole of a metal bead is too small for multiple strands of wire to pass through, place the bead on the tip of one jaw of your roundnose pliers. Twist the pliers gently a couple times to enlarge the hole. – May Frank, via email Editor’s note: We liked this tip so much, we used it in “Berries and Bubbly” (p. 54 of the September 2003 issue).

The key to shopping When I have some beads for a project, but need additional components, I string the beads on a head pin, make a wrapped loop, and attach the head pin to my keychain. The keychain keeps the beads accessible, and seeing my beads every day motivates me to complete my project. – Linda Stark, Jacksonville, FL

crimping compromise For foolproof crimping, I use both crimping and chainnose pliers. First, I use the lower grooves in the crimping pliers to create the fold in the crimp bead. Then, I use chainnose pliers to fold the crimp in half. This method creates a secure crimp with less likelihood of breaking adjacent beads. – M.R. Miller, Evanston, IL

4 gentler pliers Cover the jaws of your chainnose pliers with painter’s tape to prevent the pliers from marring your wire or component. Unlike transparent tape, painter’s tape has a little bit of grip to its surface and is easy to remove. – M. T. Banks, via e-mail

5 snip and tuck To tuck wire wraps close to the stem of a wrapped loop, use the round notch of your crimping pliers. Position the notch closest to the tip around the trimmed end of the wraps and squeeze gently. You’ll have a neat finish without flattening the wraps. – S. Foster, Newton, MA

I use seven day pill boxes for storing small findings such as crimp beads and crimp covers.  I also use them for other findings when I only have a few of them.

I use extra small paper binder clips instead of bead stoppers when stringing with wire, thread, or stretchy string materials.  Much easier than bead stoppers.

I also use the binder clips to hold my stringing needles when in between projects.  I store them in pill bottles when not in use.

When threading two pieces into beads, dip the tip in fast drying white craft glue.  As the glue is dring wipe off the excess on the outside.  Let dry and begin stringing.  Sometimes you can make one string shorter and insert each into the bead one at a time.

When using padded shelf liner for beading do not use seed beads as they will be difficult and take up lots of time removing them from the holes.

I store my beads by color and shade in embroidery floss storage containers.  They are the exact same boxes sold by some stores for jewelry storage but generally cheaper.  This adds up if you have a very large bead collection.

I use large jewelry gift boxes  for projects in progress.  I put the lid on and label it.  This makes them easier to store in a drawer and they do not spill.

I use shot glasses to quickly clean up like items when working at my jewlry station.   This way my work surface is kept clean, they stack, and then when I am done for the day, I then easily pour the items into the correct ocntainer without having to sort.  I also do not have to pause for clean-up between projects.  This is also great when you get an order and it has strung beads with separator beads.  I collect thes in the shot glasses and then put them all away after I finish soring the order.

I always put a safety chain on bracelets with magnetic clasps.  I went grocery shopping with a bracelet on and when I was unpacking the groceries to put in the car I noticed my bracelet stuck to the side of the grocery cart.  The magnets stuck it to the cart.  I was lucky to notice it because I never felt it coming off.  Now when I wear this bracelt with the safety chain I feel it when it gets attracted magnetically to something else because it does not come off.

Use double sided tape or wrap one sided tape backwards on your finger to clean beading boards.

My work area is against a slanted ceiling and I have found this is a great place for hooks to hold all sorts of things.  The binder clips easily hang on the hooks.

Instead of standard hooks I have used drapery pins as hooks, to hold a dowel on the wall.

I use shoer curtain hooks to hang my seed beeds on the wall in front of me instead of searching through a drawer.

I also have another dowel rod with the shower hooks to hang doll bracelets I make for a store I have a contract with.

I use the pop bottom type ice cube trays to organize lette rbeads into names for the doll bracelets.  Each tray is one name only.  This way I am not picking one bead at a time when working on the bracelets.

These ice cube trays also work great when you are making multiples of the same project prior to string.

These ice cube trays are also great for small post earrings which are a pain to hang on earring displays, screen, or needlework canvas.

Small pieces of chalk put in storage boxes or plastic bags prevents silver from tarnishing.

Goo-gone, other adhesive removers (come in handy wipes from medical supply stores which you can use on your skin too), baby oil, hand lotions, and peanut butter will all remove sticky residue.

Use toothpicks to clean hard to get at areas.  They will not scratch.

I use dental tools to clean small spaces and ridges where a toothbrush does not seem to be working and when a toothpick is too soft. Just be very careful not to make scratches.

I use tooth brushes and cheap children’s electric tooth brushes for removing dust from pieces and cleaning or polishing pieces of jewelry.

Use easter egg decorating ideas to decorate wooden beads.

Use nail clippers to cut wire.  Easy on your hands.  Inexpensive and easy to replace.

I use a binder for my invoices.  I number each invoice and then put this number on a scrap of paper and include it with my purchases from that invoice.  This saves lots of searching and you will not have to include lots of information with each type of bead or finding.

I also keep a binder with projects I have printed from the internet for inspiration.  I do not save many of these on my computer because I have thousands of them and I find it easier to flip through the pages than searching through my computer files.

Another binder keeps tips and techniques.  I alos put my pages of Basic Techniques from Bead Style in this binder.  In this binder is also a section of items I want to purchase that are not beads and findings.  As I am reading my beading and craft magazines, reading blogs, or perusing through catalogs, I note the next lowest price and where.  This way when I am reday to purchase I do not have to do as much research.

Mark your tools with permanent marker to get consitent sizes when making loops.  See where else this might help with other tools.

I use small relish and jam jars to store one of a kind beads, projects requiring repair, and odd pieces and findings I have removed from broken jewelry.

Use old, broken or vintage jewelry to take apart and repurpose.  This is a great way to find unique clasps and other findings.  Ask relatives (especially older ones) for stashes of their jewelry they don’t like or wear anymore.  Be careful when disposing of pieces from these items as they could be gold or silver.  If you find you will have no use for them store them in a jar and when you have a decent collection, bring to a jewelers and sell the metal.

I use utensil trays for bags and packages of beads to organize them by type when I receive a delivery that way I only have to open a storage box once.   This is also convenient for storing until I label them by the invoice number or until I have time to get around to putting them away especially if I want to quickly locate a recent purchse without digging through a pile in a box or large bag.  You could also use these tryas for projects in progess. or to organize tools and supplies in a drwer as you would your kitchen utensils.

I keep all my jewelry photos on a flash drive so they are handy but will not be lost if my computer has problems.

I have a separate laptop for my jewelry business so I don’t have to run around the house with my laptop and when I leave the house with my business I only take the jewlery business laptop so no one else accidently gets into my other personal business and if I lose my computer or it is stolen by taking my laptop from the hose it is only my jewelry business on it.  (I do have a portable hard drive where I back up all the info so that will never be lost.)

Upright paper towel roll dispensers are great for bracelets and watches.

Cup holder stands are also great for bracelets and watches.

For extra security when using jump rings use two jump rings of the same or different size or use oval jump rings.  Oval jumprings keep loops and other findings and jump rings away from an unsoldered opening.  There are also clip jump rings available now.

In jewelry display projects that use window screening try replacing with needlework canvas which can also be spray painted with Krylon sprays.

Trim wire at an angle before stringing.  This makes stringing easier and can prevent fraying.



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