Organization & Storage Tips for Jewelers: How to Keep Your Creative Space Tidy by Roxy Burg

Sourcing beads and jewelry making supplies can be highly addictive. You start with a small collection of seed beads, and then before you know it, you have hundreds of thousands of beads cluttering your design space and getting in the way of your creative process.

Decluttering your space is the first step to a more creative and productive jewelry making operation, whether you design as a hobby or for a living. While you could simply throw all your beads in a jar, you need storage solutions and organization strategies that complement the way you design, allowing you to easily view, select and access your materials. So here are some handy tips on how to keep your creative space tidy.

Everything in Its Place

The first rule of organizing your space is to make sure that everything has a place. This means finding ample storage for your (no doubt) extensive jewelry making supplies.

There is no need to go the conventional route and box everything up when it comes to tidying your space, but you do need to be systematic. So try to find storage containers of a similar size and shape to house your supplies and keep things neat.

Jars are usually every crafter’s go-to storage container. They’re cheap, you usually have plenty of them around the house and you can easily see what is inside. Another great option is watchmaker’s cases that are like small flat jars with see-through lids; they’re perfect for storing gemstone beads, sequins, clasps and other tiny pieces.

You can’t have a tidy space without proper shelving to hold all your storage containers. Open shelving units allow you to see what you have in your inventory and can also act as display cases for your final products, while closed cabinets can hide some of the less glamorous tools and supplies.

Think Inside the Box

One of the best ways for storing stray beads isn’t found at your favorite craft store but at the local outdoor outfitter or sporting goods store. Fishing tackle boxes are ideal for storing beads, stones, sequins and other small, easily lost items.

The partitions in the boxes are moveable so you can customize the interior to suit the materials you need to store. This also allows for different methods of organization. For example, if you prefer to keep similar colored beads together, you can have a larger compartment to fit focal beads and smaller compartments for seed beads.

Fishing tackle boxes are usually transparent so you can easily see what materials you have stored inside and quickly find what you need. They are also stackable so you can minimize the clutter and maximize the storage space in your design studio.

Think Vertically

For tools and materials that don’t fit neatly into boxes or other storage containers, it can be challenging to find the right storage solution that doesn’t take up too much bench space.

A great idea is to have your tools mounted vertically on the wall to keep them from cluttering your workspace. A pegboard hung above your work area allows you to add shelving or hooks that can be moved and customized to suit the tools you have and still leave plenty of space for new supplies you acquire later.

Use hooks to mount rolls of string, ribbon, chain and wire to keep them tangle-free and readily accessible. You can also use these hooks for keeping electrical cords from drills or soldering irons off your workspace to prevent accidents.

Keep Things Within Reach

Most makers generally have a specific area of the studio they stick to when designing and crafting. Though wandering around your creative space can be useful for getting inspiration for your designs, when it is time to create your masterpieces, you need to be able to focus.

Keeping the tools and materials you use most often within arm’s reach will make it easier for you to complete your designs without the distraction and interruption of searching for the right item.

Label Everything

There is nothing more frustrating for a jewelry maker than safely storing your materials away, then not being able to find them when you need them. So when it comes to organizing your design space, a label maker is a great asset.

Labeling your storage containers, even those that are transparent, allows you to know what is inside at a glance, giving you more time with your creative process and less time searching through your design studio.

Make the labels specific for faster access. Rather than just writing “beads,” try “vintage focal beads.”’ And if there are multiple items inside the container, identify each one on the label.

If you don’t have a label maker, you can use masking tape and a marker. Or go all out and color code your labels with Washi tape.

[Editor’s note: Have you seen/drooled over Pam East’s tidy studio?  She has redesigned her storage system and uses clear boxes clearly labeled!]

Get Creative

While all your supplies should be neatly stored and labeled, this doesn’t mean your design space needs to be devoid of fun and color to look tidy. Using different types of storage containers or adding a splash of paint can be a gorgeous way to not only keep your space tidy but to personalize and add style to your workspace.

There are so many creative ways to upcycle jars or storage containers. To keep the contents of jars visible, try dipping just the bottom half in paint in your favorite color or covering the lids with Washi tape. You could also use chalkboard paint to label your containers, which allows you to reuse the container for different items. Unleash your creativity, and the design possibilities for your jewelry making storage are endless.

Put Stuff Away

There is no point decluttering your space and creating a gorgeous organization system if you don’t put things back where they belong. Make it a habit to put things away as soon as you have finished with them.

Final Thoughts

Jewelry making is a meticulous and creative craft, and you can apply that same philosophy when it comes to organizing and tidying your design space. Remember, a cluttered space equals a cluttered mind. So make room for more creative thoughts and try some of these simple tips to help tidy your design space and let your creativity flow.


Image Links

Roxy Burg Roxy Burg is the Marketing Manager for Beads of Cambay. She is very passionate about channeling her creativity. When she is not busy writing she loves working on projects ranging from jewelry making to crafting. Roxy gets her inspiration from nature and seeing the beauty in everyday life. Her daughters mean the world to her and nothing makes her happier than picking up a glue gun and making memories with them.

Metal Clay Artists Symposium 2018 by Jeannette Froese LeBlanc

Last week memories of metal clay conferences started popping up on people’s Facebook feeds.  People all over the world have been sharing memories and commenting on how much they miss going to a metal clay conference!  Well there’s still time to attend the Metal Clay Artists symposium in Winston-Salem, North Carolina!  MCAS is being held August 23-26 at Sawtooth School for Visual Art. You’ll see lots more info on the website
This exciting 4-day event, at the Sawtooth School for Visual Art (SSVA), features the most innovative workshop leaders in a creative environment, sharing inspiration, techniques, and cutting-edge technology with the metal clay community through hands-on workshops, breakout sessions, free Technique Discovery Workshops, Meet and Greet opportunities, vendor shopping, a month-long metal clay exhibit and more! MCAS General Registration is $55 and includes the Product Playground, the Metal Clay Round Table, Vendor Shopping, two Breakout Sessions, an invitation to participate in the “Metal Clay Expressions 2” exhibit, exhibit reception and awards, Instructor Meet-and-Greet, Charm Swap with coffee and donuts, and NEW  2-hour Sunday Technique Discovery Workshops.
The Featured artist this year is Cindy Pope, right now all of her classes on using the Silhouette cutter with metal clay are sold out, however, there are lots of other classes and workshops still with space! Check out these wonderful workshop ideas with many more online.

Continue reading…

Roxan Waluk Artist Profile by Julia Rai

I first met Roxan Waluk at one of the US conferences and have followed her work ever since. Roxan told me a bit about her home. “Originally a third generation Texan, in 1983 my husband drug me out to Virginia kicking and screaming for his work. After over thirty years here, we have migrated out to the middle of Virginia’s beautiful wine and horse country. We live in the small town of Delaplane situated about an hour’s drive outside of Washington DC.”

“I live on three acres with my husband Joe, and our four legged children,” she went on. Continue reading…

Artist Project Series: Creating A Vessel Pendant By Janet Harriman


Many times we set out with an idea of how we expect a project to turn out.  In this article Janet Harriman takes you through her plans and what she expected and how she repaired and recovered her piece.  Thank you to Cool Tools for sponsoring this project.

I had a young apprentice who insisted that I try silver metal clay. As a metalsmith with a fine arts background, I was a snob. But just for fun I did try the clay, worked with it for years and then I ended up demonstrating at the National PMC conference at Purdue University. Metal clay is a tactile pleasure. It is magic. Continue reading…

Artist Project Series: Dino Bracelet by Gordon K. Uyehara

~ Cool Tools and Creative Fire are proud to present another project in this series by Gordon K. Uyehara.  Gordon’s work is always interesting and his projects are sure to inspire artists from all levels.  Having a chance to look over the shoulder of Gordon as he works is a treat for metal clay artists worldwide. 

Dino Bracelet by Gordon K. Uyehara
What does one do with two leftover pieces of double-knit Viking weave chain? Dig it out of the drawer after many years and make a bracelet. I envisioned a focal piece and end caps created out of silver metal clay. Although it seemed rather straightforward at first, I encountered some challenges along the way. I detail them below. You may choose to steer around some of them.

I learned how to weave the chain in a workshop many years ago, and unfortunately, I don’t recall how to do it. However, I do recall we used a starter wire shaped like a flower and a wooden dowel to weave around. The chain was pulled through a vinyl drawplate (made out of cutting board) with different size tapered holes. This was for drawing down the diameter of the chain. The source book was, “Great Wire Jewelry” by Irene From Petersen. With a little imagination this project can be modified to work with other types of chain or cord. It is a good idea to peruse the entire project instructions first before proceeding. Continue reading…

Enchanting Silver Quilling by Astari G. Swatantri

I have long admired quilling, but I had never tried this wonderful form of art before until I had an opportunity to participate in the Silver Quilling Certification training at the Art Clay Headquarters in Japan, I had zero expectations. I was so lucky to have Ms. Motoko Maggie Nakatani, a renowned quilling artist, as my teacher. She was also the curriculum supervisor of the certification program. (Top Image: Astari’s award winning piece from the Silver Accessories Contest: “DoPositive” combines many metal clay techniques including silver quilling. Click image to enlarge.)

Continue reading…

Hot Topic: Copy Cats by Harriete Estel Berman

cop·y·cat by Harriete Estel Berman

Editor’s note: We orginally published this article in May 2016.  But it is a hot topic once again in our community so we are bumping it up on our site for a re-read!

noun: copy-cat
-(especially in children’s use) a person who copies another’s behavior, dress, or ideas
-denoting an action, typically a crime, carried out in imitation of another.

Continue reading…

Product Review: Leave Your Mark by Jeannette Froese LeBlanc

I find some jewellery items are hard to tag or mark with my studio name, especially necklaces. Years ago I had some very nice sterling silver tags made.  They cost a fortune so it was always a debate for me as to what necklace was worth adding a $2 sterling tag.  So most of my work has gone out the door without any branding and I still have a pile of tags on my bench.  Recently I found an alternative to my sterling tags.  Impress Art sells base metal tags that you can stamp and they now make custom stamps. Continue reading…

Feeling Funky? by Jeannette Froese LeBlanc

Every winter many artists in my area fall into a creative funk. The days are short so those with seasonal affective disorder feel the lack of sun first.  Then there are those who feel “let down” after the hustle of shows and sales before the winter holidays. Some artists have pushed so hard to create lines and new work and once the shows are over, they are depleted.  Starting over is sometimes hard.  Others just fall into a creative funk seasonally.

Every February I’d beat myself up for not creating.  Spring shows would be coming up and I’d look at empty shelves with no desire to make.  One year I was talking to a local potter and he said he once charted his funky moods and found that if he didn’t give into them, he was even less productive.  So when they came, he did what he felt like doing–if it was reading–he read.  If it was the desire to take a dance class–he did.  Eventually he learned that by giving into these “unproductive times” he was ultimately more productive. I think of him every February and wonder what crazy creative thing he is giving into and then I wonder why I’m fighting my own creative funk.  This year I feel very, very far from my studio.  I’m working a regular teaching gig.  A painting teacher at the school invited me to sit in on his class…so I’ve dug out my paint brushes.  I haven’t taken a painting class since 1993.  It’s good.  I’m starting to dream of colour combinations and to look at light and clouds creatively and not just with the sigh of an artist in a funk. Continue reading…