|Plano Storage and Tool Box|
If you don't have a big stash and only buy beads for specific projects once in a while, you need nearly nothing but a beading mat and a couple of drawers, and squat the kitchen or dining table from time to time. Maybe a Plano tackle system (a tool box with storage boxes for fishing) will be enough for you.
If your hobby gets more important, you may wish to dedicate more space to it.
What works for me doesn't necessarily work for others, but I asked my friends on Facebook what they like and dislike and it seems that we more or less use similar options. I hereby thank them all very much for their tips and advice. Of course, you'll find breathtaking solutions if you google 'best craft room designs', 'seed bead storage' or 'bead storage'. But read on, and see if my ideas, or maybe some of the ideas of my friends included in this article, inspire you!
Little note: even though my apartment may look like an extension of IKEA, I am in no way involved in their business and receive nothing from them (neither from anyone else). My opinion is entirely my own. Not necessarily better (or worse) than other suppliers, IKEA furniture is very affordable and easy to put together, and available nearly everywhere in the world, which is practical for you, friends world wide, who read me.
|Trays with projects starting to pile up (on my previous beading desk)|
As a designer, I am a messy beader, because new ideas require immediate testing and hence more beading space. When things get too messy, my creativity suffers from it.
I already had storage for my beads and materials (and will show that), but my major problem was too many WIPs I didn't know where to put and so I needed to find a solution for that. Plus, the desk in the photo above had to go... (to make space for my birds). And to down-size is... quite interesting, I think.
|My favorite plastic A4 |
boxes for WIPs. I have 12!
|I love my Besta work station on wheels. So practical.|
Can you see the trays and the pile of A4 boxes?
My lap cushion (for key board or beading board), photo camera and computer are also in/on the Besta, practical for designing and tutifying. The best man in the world, hubby, put practical wheels under both frames.
|Small make-up displays can |
be handy "tool stations"
If you use a lot of tools, a wooden beading station might be worth buying. Other idea: the modules made by the Poland-based firm HobbyZone might be something for you if you use pigments and glues or other materials for other arts of jewelry making, like paper beads, cab or stone painting. The system, designed for professional artists, can be completely customized and grow with you.
The "storage room":
|My "storage" room can still be a beading and show room|
with music by the birds...
First of all, when placing furniture, make sure that you have access to electric plugs, or use an extension cord. Despite making plans of all sorts with my computer (yes, really) I have moved my stuff around several times without success just because of electric plugs. If you plan to make some serious make over of a room, start with drawing the plugs first, together with the space needed for windows and doors, in particular if they open to the inside. Then cut out paper shapes representing your furniture and see how it fits in. It will save you a lot of time and sweat.
|8-cube Expedit on wheels|
It contains mostly cardboard boxes with finished beadwork, packing material, empty tubes, material for photography, books and mags featuring my work, fabric, etc.
Tip: when you buy boxes, make sure that they fit in. Here, two boxes fit in one cube, with a little space left on the side: just enough for the books and magazines, easy to take out without disturbing anything.
|Silk, wool and fabric|
|Small but stronger than|
expected, Helmer fits in
in an Expedit/Kallax
In 2 'Helmer' drawers (photo left) are stored things that I use less: wooden beads, cords, wire, buttons, sewing material, glue, stationery, etc... Helmer have practical little wheels and space for labels. One of my FB friends, Aryd'ell Hotelling (USA) took the wheels off and put the drawers on a work table. Such a clever idea.
Remarkable things done by my friends:
If I did't have the Expedit already, I'd probably buy a Besta wall... or Billy bookcases. It is the sturdiest bookcase that I've ever seen, fantastic for heavy things like
Storage solutions aren't always sturdy: chests with (too deep) drawers meant for clothes typically aren't. And if "Alex" drawer units are shallow and have amazing success among crafters, Kris Empting-Obenland (DE) saw one collapse under the weight of her collection of lampwork beads. Kitchen drawers or antique printer's cabinets seem to be a better solution for that. Claudia Harberkost (DE) is überhappy with her 2 METOD cabinets with drawers. Note that in the USA, this series of kitchen cabinets is called SEKTION.
|Elly van Buuren's Billy bead storage|
Photo credit: Elly van Buuren
Elly van Buuren (NL) has transformed narrow Billy shelves into a dream storage for her beads (photo right). She hammered a gazillion of little lats inside the shelves for the box lids to slide on. A brilliant example of how boxes that fit well can change everything.
And below is Julie's beautiful "wall". The doors open and close by pushing them, so no handles are visible. She thinks that she is messy, so she loves her doors to hide it all. Can you stand the beauty of it?
|Julie Romero's wall could be a great room divider too.|
Photo credit: Julie Romero
Interestingly, simple shelves seem to not please as much as Kallax, Besta or Billy. I think that we like our things to be framed, somehow. But shelves can be very practical and tidy. Look at what Hilly Monzin (NL) did with very inexpensive shelves and plastic boxes.
|Hilly Monzin's shelves are neat! |
Photo credit: Hilly Monzin
My Maltese friend Joanne Zammit is very happy with the incredible amount of plastic boxes that her Trofast unit can welcome. It has many shelves and/or drawers (at choice) and is quite sturdy (it is "kid safe" furniture). Also, it looks the same on both sides, so it can be used to divide a room if desired.
* Note: IKEA furniture often has a hollow structure, which is ecologically responsible. It can be quite sturdy - my shelves are. But I can't hammer one nail in them.
Also I have no idea if the Kallax series is as sturdy as the Expedit - if you know, please tell me in the comments!
Now if you have a lot of space, but a small budget. Think craft room on a dime and be creative. You probably already have an old cupboard or shelves which can be recycled or transformed; if not, search classifieds in your region (click on this link, you will love what this woman did to create her craft room). See also how some old TV-armoires can be transformed into great beading stations. With doors that can hide your stuff in seconds...
And what if you have only very little space and don't want to monopolize the only table where you eat? Be inventive: with a bit of imagination you can create a lovely mini-beading station. Here you can see a very-little-space-requiring -portable nail art desk. Wouldn't it be nice for beading?
|Portable manicure desk|
Maybe you can transform a dressing table into a beading station.
|10-drawer organizer in frosted white|
(translucent drawers) not taking
more space than a basket or a plant
And have you noticed that many a tower of plastic drawers on wheels or utility cart has a top where you can put your beading board, mat or tray? One organizer, and you have a mini beading station in the room! (with thanks to Elisanne M. McCutchen (USA))
Don't forget to use a good beading lamp with a good daylight bulb or LED.
|My seed bead storage|
|A drawer with|
a few purples
Of course you can buy the awesome bead storage solutions invented by Elizabeth Ward, or the wonderful Bead Pavilion, with flip-top boxes. Quite expensive (in particular the shipping costs), but many beaders love it or dream of having an entire wall of those. I would love an entire wall too but am quite happy with my tubes.
|60-tube rack - practical to keep the|
tubes from rolling off the coffee table
My seed beads are stored by color and somewhat by type: Czech, Japanese, Charlottes, cylinder, hex, etc, are all together in one tray by color, from size 15/0 up to 6/0, but the specialty seed beads are stored in XL flip-top boxes in another drawer (cubes, triangles, drops, peanuts, bugle beads, etc).
|Small 17x10x2.2cm box for nearly |
everything but seed beads
using multi-compartment boxes with only one lid for seed beads, it is a pain to take seed beads out of them, in particular in the corners. Sooner or later it ends up in a frustrating bead soup.
Other beads, cabs, crystals, focals:
|Plastic drawers - 12 small|
boxes fit in 1 drawer
|Fire-polished beads in small boxes|
with practical individual lids
The beads are as much as possible stored by type and size.
One-hole beads are separated from the two-or-more-hole beads.
|Medium-size boxes with|
Superduo/Twin beads with
Tip: use a little spoon to take beads out (and vice versa).
Hard plastic boxes which are not user-friendly, but very noisy, and easily breakable. Translucent boxes are often softer, hence gentler with your precious beads and crystals.
Oh, and don't put big beads in a flip top box. Let me explain: I have a big collection of XL-flip top boxes which can contain beads up to 12mm, but the flip top won't let them through so I have to open their tops. So I also have a box for the big beads.
|Large boxes from a hardware store|
for large beads, focal and findings
I store them by metal color rather then by type, in particular copper, because copper findings often come with brown anti-oxidation strips different from the anti-tarnishing strips that come with silver plated findings.
Tip: Keep anti-tarnishing strips in your boxes with your findings. Also, if you can make sure that it remains out of reach of kids, don't throw away silica gel sachets. Keep some with your findings and in your drawers, for they are great to protect your metal and finished jewelry from humidity, hence preventing rust.
|Transparent pouches are wonderful|
to prevent UFO's from invading us
I also never store precious metal in the same place as plated metals; it would be a pity to mix them up.
UFOs (un-finished objects)
We all make UFOs and sometimes we don't necessarily want to rip them off. My friend Darcy Rosner one day showed me her storage for her UFOs: hanging transparent organizers with lots of small pouches and I love this solution. You can find an UFO back at a glance. Mine are temporarily hanging from the side of an Expedit shelve in the storage room. I plan to make something strong to hang them onto.
Voilà - this is my bead organization ;)
As you can see, storage solutions from other departments than crafts can be very useful. Electronic components, fishing tackles, and screws and bolts also need to be stored.
rack (source: Pinterest)
And did you know? that with ice-cube trays you can recreate some sort of printer's cabinet in your drawers, to store your findings and/or cabs/crystals/lampwork beads (idea found on this interesting blog).
Oh, and Angeline Yoshiko Leong from Malaysia reminded me of the Ferrero Rocher boxes. Double pleasure!
And if all this doesn't inspire you, perhaps scrapbooking hobbyists will, with their scrapbooking stations or armoires...
Happy organizing and beading!