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January 29, 2017

The Bead Table – Organized Confusion

Bead Table

After several months of “other Projects”, it’s back to the bead table this week.  I’ll finish a pair of Valentine’s earrings and start another.  In the meantime, I’ll need to slowly sort and put away beads of every size, shape and color. Beads from projects completed last fall, and beads purchased at the Quartzsite Rock and Gem Show.  Lots of beads to store.  But How?



I started in 2005 with plastic boxes.  The beads were in small plastic bags with labels and prices I paid for them (so I’d know how much to charge for their use).  But they were stored by kind – seed bead, pony, E Beads, 4mm rounds, etc.  Finding the right beads for a project proved more disorganized than when they were shoved in shoe boxes.  What to do?

Next Chapter.

I spent time researching other methods and talked with other beaders on their methods.  When we moved from Oregon to Utah in 2006 I set up my studio with different furniture and started storing the beading material.  All the gemstones in one section, but subdivided by type – Verascite, Turquoise, Tiger Eye, Agate, etc.  And each major type – gemstones, glass, crystals, wood – had their own box.  Neat and tidy, but a lesson in over-buying.  It seemed I should have a certain bead, I remembered buying them, but couldn’t find them. I couldn’t find the right color, size or finish for a certain project.  I’d order new ones to discover I already had them after the order arrived.  Too many beads, too much inventory, too little of what I really needed.


When we moved from Escalante to Enoch, Utah I had pretty much determined the best method of organizing my beads based on my needs.  I now have them by color and by type.

Utah Gemstone Jewelers
Seed Bead and Delica Storage

The old DMC cases have been turned into drawers for seed beads and Delica Beads.  The drawers are labeled and organized by finish – silver lined, transparent, etc.  Then each drawer is sorted by color from white to black.  Tubes of Delicas are framed with larger containers of Delicas and marked with their stock number on top for quick retrieval.

Utah Gemstone JewelersThe Black Jewelry cases are drawers by color and type.  Starting with Agate, Brown, etc., I can find cabochons, beads, spacers, etc. of each type and color with items I use a lot of to those in a support role.  Two drawers for Gold findings and three for Silver.  Copper, Crystal, etc. they all have their own place.

Then there’s the “other stuff” that every beader acquires.  They’re in the little plastic drawers seen on the Oak cupboard which holds hang tags, pens, paper, etc. for the business part of the operation.Utah Gemstone Jewelers

Everything has a place and is, for the most part, in it – except for that pesky bead table.  It seems to grow its own beads, mostly small, last of the project and things I use for stringing.  What do I do with the stray bead that gets left on the table, picked up off the floor or found in a different place?  That’s a subject for another post.

Until then – – –