For this BTW I thought I'd share some photos of my new favorite way to organize my beads; pin boards (AKA cork boards, bulletin boards). Over the years I've tried every conceivable method, and so far this is my favorite. I got the idea from a local consignment shop that displays their jewelry this way. If you use straight pins, you can hang bracelets and necklaces to display, which I may do some day when we finally get around to participating in craft shows. Until then, I prefer this method to keep my beads organized. It has really set my imagination free. Everything I have is there at a glance. I include all my cords and chains and components, too, and I see combinations I wouldn't have considered before, when all these little bead baggies were in various boxes stacked everywhere.
If you'd like to try this method, here's a few tips to get you started:
- Ball-tipped pins work best. The small heads allow for easy overlapping of the bags, but are still pretty easy to grab and move around.
- The boards can't be wall mounted. They become too heavy and the pins protrude through the back. This is the only drawback I've come across so far. It's worked out OK, though, since I tend to move my supplies around from room to room as I work. You'll need some shelf or floor space where you can lean your board(s).
- Use the smallest possible bag for each set of beads. This makes the most of your board space and keeps it visually clear.
- Start pinning at the bottom with your largest, fullest bags of beads. Don't worry about organizing in any other way (size/material/shape/ color/whatever). Random placement will inspire combinations that you couldn't have planned.
- I keep a printable centimeter ruler pinned at the top of one of my boards for measuring my beads when I list them for sale. You may also like to use any extra space for tools or images that inspire. Put a capped pen on a string and pin it to your board if you like to label your bags. Pin up magazine clippings with color combos you like. Keep it fun.
- If your board gets really full, it helps to have a few pieces of scrap paper nearby to pin as placeholders. When you pull off a bag of beads, replace it with the placeholder so you'll know right where it goes when it's time to put the remaining beads away.
If you have a unique bead-organizing method that works well for you, tell me all about it in the comments!
Check out the Bead Table Wednesday Flickr group to see what's going on on other folks' bead tables this week.