Jewelry Blog

4 Inspirational Ideas for Jewelry-Making Storage

Don't tell anyone, but the main reason I make jewelry at all is because I have a minor bead/supply addiction. When the addiction is as severe as mine, it becomes VERY important to be able to keep all of those bits and bobs controlled and organized. Luckily, I'm not bad at that!

Let's break down some of my favorite jewelry-making storage ideas.

Here's a picture of my jewelry studio. You can see many storage solutions poking around in there:

Tidy Jewelry Studio

First off, for everyone drooling with envy, I'll let you know right off the bat that it doesn't always look so pristine. In the interest of proving I'm a human being, here's what it can look like after show season:

Messy Jewelry Studio

But even in the middle of that I-sure-was-tired mess, the core organizational structure stayed intact. To get this cleaned, all I really needed to do was systematically put everything away. To get your jewelry-making space organized (and hopefully avoid this kind of mess in the first place!), there are just a few rules you need to remember. Whether you are lucky enough to have a dedicated studio space like mine, or you're working off your couch or kitchen table, I got you covered! First, some rules:

Rule 1: A place for everything, and everything in its place.

A place for everything, and everything in its place.

I got this saying from my mom (hi, Mom!) and it works for everything — kitchen cupboards, laundry, photos and yes, jewelry-making storage. This rule means you can't just shove the soldering picks in with the paintbrushes and expect to be able to find either one easily when you need them.

So how do you find a place? Well first, I recommend being really good at Tetris. Alternatively, you can simply group all similar supplies into piles (oh, do I love a good organized group of piles) and then find appropriately-sized containers for each pile. This could almost be a sub-rule: use the right size and kind of container.

There's almost no end to the kinds of containers to use.

Containers - collage

You can be thrifty and use recycled glass jars or wash out soup cans and cover them in paper or fabric. I've even been known to cut down milk cartons.

Fishing Tackle boxes for jewelry gems storage

You can buy fishing tackle boxes or jewelry-specific storage boxes with the movable inner dividers like above (a favorite). You can use baskets or buckets, shoe boxes or dollar-store drawers. I tend to use more dollar-store drawer dividers inside.

One of my favorite things for small parts is to use actual watchmaker's cases — you can buy them online — they're small, round, aluminum tins with glass lids so you can see through. They are perfect in a drawer:

Watchmaker's Cases for jewelry supplies storage

I store my tools and wire on pegboards, which puts them right where I need them and is ultimately customizable:

Pegboard storage for jewelry tools Pegboard storage for jewelry wire

And I've found new uses for stationery organizers:

Organizer for jewelry supplies

It doesn't really matter what you store your jewelry supplies in or where you keep them as long as it's the right size and you follow the rest of the rules, you'll be fine!

Once everything is in a container, then you can figure out how to stack and group the containers. Which brings us to the next rule...

Rule 2: The supplies and tools you use most often should be stored within reach.

Most-often used tools stored within reach.

A longer way to say that is that if you use it a lot, store it close to you, but the less often you use a tool or a supply, the further away and harder it should be to get to. You shouldn't have to bend or stretch for anything but the rarest materials.

In the case of my studio pic above, all of my essential tools and most commonly-used materials are in the green circle, surrounding where I sit. Some other materials that get used a bit but not as often are in the orange circle. And the stuff I keep because who throws anything away?! is in the red section. Don't ask me what's in that top left corner. I have no idea (although I could just read the label...).

Rule 3: Label, label, label.

Label, label, label.

Speaking of labels! I can't recommend this rule enough. Not all of your containers will be see-through, and even the ones that are can sometimes get cluttered and hard to identify. (And yes, I subdivide my watch parts into different types. Don't you?) My label-maker and I have gone through a lot together. It's not a QWERTY keyboard but that doesn't matter — he never lets me down!

Label-maker

If you don't have a nifty label-maker, use masking tape and a marker or try some pretty washi tape! The ability to identify what's in a box at a glance is going to save you a lot of time. To keep it all neat and tidy, put labels in the same place on the same kind of container, and line up your containers prettily in a row. Speaking of pretty...

Rule 4: Organization should be pretty!

Organization should be pretty!

If you're making jewelry, you're likely someone who's very visual. And when you're visual, that means visual clutter can disrupt and distract your creative process. So make sure that your jewelry-making storage is neat, clean, and above all, attractive! This means using glass jars when what you're storing is worth showing off, and making sure your other containers are stacked together. And when you're finished with something, PUT IT AWAY! Yes, that was me yelling. Don't make me show you the mess again!

Follow these rules and you'll find that your jewelry-making storage space is easy to maintain, live in and, most importantly, work in. An orderly space — where you can find everything you need — is conducive to an orderly brain, letting you get back to being productive and having fun!

 

30 Comments

Arden

For labeling I use painters tape (many colors) and can be removed and put on another container a few times is great way to label. Also use permanent markers (also in many colors) on them. Painters tape can be expensive but with it being reusable it is worth it. Especially in storage units where you don’t have electric.

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Gayle Bird

That also works! I like my labeler because my handwriting is atrocious, ha!

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Jicsi

I love this post! I wish I had that much space! They’re good tips for any size space though!
I just need to get myself a label maker now!

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Gayle Bird

Labelmakers are the best! A cheap option is the manual dymo labels… remember those??

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Peggy Barr

I use old vintage suitcases for my craft supplies. I label the handle of each one. Jewelry,sewing,souldering,Clay making,paint, I store them in a spare closet. Inside each one are containers to keep the items findable. It has worked great for me for years now.

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joyce hall

THANK YOU! THANK YOU ! Yes ,that was me yelling out of gratitude . Very helpful article .

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Gayle Bird

Ha! You’re welcome 🙂

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Summer

Great help, thank you! Can you tell us about your light box, it is a great size. Did you make or buy it? Thanks!

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Gayle Bird

You’re welcome! I bought that online, it came with two lights (long since melted away) and it folds up. Cost like $80 at the time. I know you can get way cheaper ones these days tho!

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Jicsi

I was thinking this too, I made my own a little while ago but it got broken so now I’m looking out for a slightly sturdier one to buy!

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Gayle Bird

I’ve tried making them but they’re kinda icky. I prefer my purchased one. It’s more professional-looking if I have to keep it up in the studio, as well.

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Eli

thanks for the peek into your work space. I like the concept of the green, orange and red circles as positioning consideration. I use large plastic cases for bead and findings storage, but I could take them a step further and stack them on shelving with labels instead of my current method, some in a tackle box and some mixed with my sewing supplies.

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Gayle Bird

It’s a super useful concept for an efficient space!

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Gillian

Brilliant article! Thank you for sharing your tips. I will redouble my efforts on organising my jewellery making supplies, a job I’m right in the middle of.
Best wishes Gillian

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Gayle Bird

Fabulous!

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Natalia

I have mutch smaller space and less stocks, but already realised that not open shelves allowed in my studio. This stuff attract dust like creasy, how you manage to clean it? For now old dressers with a lot of drawers work the best for me.

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Gayle Bird

“Clean”? What is this “cleaning” you speak of? 🙂

Honestly, I don’t. I’m sure it’s all dusty as mars up there. But I don’t care!

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Storage Tips for Jewelry Making Supplies

[…] Take time to separate items into categories such as charms, tools, etc. Then put the like items together into bins or cheap plastic drawers. If not, empty soup cans, glass jars, and such items can be used as containers for small trinkets. You can even separate items and put them into different fishing tackle boxes and label them. If you want more ideas on how to better organize your jewelry supplies, click here:: 4 Inspirational Ideas for Jewelry-Making Storage […]

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Diane bailey

im a newbie at jewelry making but loving this new adventure. You have wonderful ideas for keeping it organized. Thanks for sharing.

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Michael McDaniel

these are great ideas… I may borrow some of yours here to help me get organized… now do you have some suggestions for pricing my pieces out?

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Ms. Cory

Wonderful article! Very inspiring! I’ve been a bit stuck about this, as I have a lot of materials to store, but am short on space (and funds). (I don’t have a separate studio, and live in a small apartment.) Several of these tips I already knew, but some I did not, and seeing them applied is a great help. Many of the containers/cabinets shown can also be put on, or purchased with casters, so they can be rolled away. if needed. I’m very inspired now to tackle sorting and storing my supplies, and will refer back to this article. Thank you so much!

Also, I haven’t yet purchased a light box, but plan to sometime soon. What are your size recommendations for one that would be large enough to do the job, yet small enough to work in a small space? What is the size of the one you use?

Best wishes ~ Ms. Cory

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Celia Briggs

Hey, Gayle! You have an amazing studio. You are so organized and everything is stored in a perfect way. My admiration about that, I don’t know if I am able to do it that way. Best regards
http://selfstorageealing.org.uk/

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Robin

Nice to see your workspace! And, yes, I’m jelly. My “workbench” is in the back of a tiny closet. I’m also a newb, organizing is going to be a challenge!

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Phylis Johnson-Silk

I “bought the bullet” and went to the container store to purchase drawers, the Elfa brand. Each of the drawers has a label and houses different beads – pearls, rondelles, etc. It was expensive but worth it. The drawers slide very easily for access to the beads. For tools, that sit next to my working area, I bought an organizer from Jewelry Supply in Redding, California. There my tools and wire hang with room for containers on the bottom for crimp beads and a few other supplies. I will attempt to post pictures later. Thank you for your wonderful ideas.

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Cindy Mentzell

GREAT STUDIO!! It looks like mine a bit. I have drawers with plastic liners that hold all my beads. Drawers to the left and right. Findings/beads in the left side, tools, first three drawers, then crystal. Also have open shelves floor to ceiling on both sides of the room with labeled containers. One suggestion, you might try taking a colored photo of a larger container (with lots in it), print it out, and keep that so you know what’s in it. I have over a hundred drawers with liners and the pictures let me know what’s where. (Coded of course) I’m so glad to know I’m not the only one with that kind of stash. By the way, my room is NEVER clean!! That’s why I call it the “war room”. Great post!! Thanks!!

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Dianne

Great suggestion about taking photos of container contents. I always forget what I have and either purchase duplicates or don’t use things I have. Thank you!

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Suzanne Williams

Any suggestions for me?: My work table has to be in the middle of a room, making shelves against a wall hard to use (or reach). Any ideas out there? Tall free standing shelving units not safe.

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Noreen Jancieski

When you hang spools of wire on a peg board, how do you keep it from tarnishing? I didn’t see any plastic bags.

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Corlisa Diaz

So pretti..lol. I love love storage.

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