Many Sheffield students ask me what is the best way to store their beads - by color, size, or shape? When you develop a jewelry making addiction the supplies seem so tiny and harmless, but they start to add up and take over your room real fast. This can lead to a confusing mess unless you are willing to put your creativity into your organizational skills and find a solution that works for your space.
There is no right or wrong way to store your jewelry supplies, but it is far better to see your materials and know what you have to work with, rather than relying on memory. Separating materials properly creates the need for lots of small storage spaces but will make your life easier when you are scanning your materials for the perfect stone or bead for your project. I have always liked the look of glass jars for storage but do not trust myself with all that glass.
Whether you keep them separated with trays inside a drawer to tuck them out of site, or visible in jars on shelves, it does not really matter if you separate them by by color, size or shape. Depending on what you make you will find that you reach for some things more often than others. Figuring out what those items are will help you start the organization process.
Not only will it be easier for you to see what you have to use when working, but it will save you from going out and purchase something you already had.
My gemstones and findings are separated in tins, with clear lids, inside drawers. I can easily see what I have when working and keep the items I use most in the top drawers. In a larger bottom drawer I keep my larger gemstones inside zip lock bags. Inside each bag I write how much each stone costs. When I purchase a strand of stones I write the cost of the strand (for comparison shopping) and I count how many stones are on the strand. I then divide the price of the strand by the number of stones, which gives me a price per bead. When reaching to use that stone in a design a year later, I will know how to calculate my costs for pricing the piece I am working on.
If you are more of a part time addict, or live in a really small space, you may want to tuck your supplies away in a trunk and slide it under a bed or inside a closet. If you want your part time addiction to be displayed proudly, Amy Powers shows us how to convert an old suitcase into fun storage with this great tutorial.
A parts storage container meant for screws and washers is a great way to neatly store beads and findings. They can be be purchased at nearly every hardware store. The small drawers are clear so it is easy to see what is inside, while keeping everything in a contained area so it is not taking up too much space.
Martha Stewart hinged two bookcases together to form a closing cabinet. It is so beautifully organized if it were in my house I would feel no need to close it. It feels almost too perfect to mess up by actually working on it. Love that the tools are neatly hanging in front and the beads are stacked in clear containers on the shelves at eye level.
Are you interested in taking a great jewelry design course and learning more about how to make your own jewelry or get started professionally in this creative field? Sheffield School began as an Interior Design school in 1985, and then expanded our course offerings to train people in other design-related fields, including Feng Shui, Wedding and Event Planning, and Jewelry Design. With thousands of active students and more than 50,000 graduates, Sheffield has trained more design professionals than any school in the world.