If you are into bead craft as a hobby you will understand the importance of keeping track of the little devils both whilst working with them and whilst storing them. Luckily there are many bead storage options available to you, but where do you start looking and how do you choose between them?
What are your requirements?
The first thing you need to think about is what your collection of beads and tools is like. How many do you have? What size beads are they? How many different piles do you need to keep separate and how big is each one? Next you need to decide where you are going to keep the whole system when you are not working on it. Do you have a dedicated room or table in your house or do you need to pack everything away into a cupboard? And finally do you want a bead storage system that you can take out and about with you? Once you know your requirements you are better equipped to find the right containers for you.
Types of bead storage
Bead storage comes in a number of designs. To keep a large number of small collections of small beads, plastic tubes or vials are ideal. They are clear so you can see at a glance which beads are in which tubes and you can buy tube holders that fold up easily to make a portable and easily tidied storage solution. For a more varied collection a bead organizer may be best. These are typically large plastic cases that come with smaller plastic boxes inside. The inside boxes are usually varied in size, giving more appropriate options for your varied sizes or numbers of different beads. Each box has its own lid, meaning you can use, fill or empty individual sets easily. Try and avoid the compartmentalized versions with only one lid for the whole organizer as these create problems when beads slip across dividers.
Criteria for the best bead storage
Whichever type of bead storage container you go for, you should ensure it meets certain fundamental criteria before buying. The boxes should be see through to some extent. The lids should be individual for each section and secure. The system as a whole should offer some degree of flexibility as your collection is likely to change over time and it should be portable if you intend to work with it away from home at any time.
Recycled bead storage?
As well as purpose made bead storage options, you can also repurpose containers that you already have lying around your house. This will save you money but may not be as easy to handle as a whole system and will not look as nice. Ideas include fishing tackle boxes, screw or nail boxes, sweet or medicine bottles or even spice bottles and racks.