The Busy Beader: How to Organize Multiple Beading and Jewelry-Making Projects

Nov 8, 2011

Yes, I have more than one project on my beading tray in this picture. It's cluttered. I don't even know why that spool of blue Nymo beading thread is there!
I don't know if I qualify as a typical beader, but I always find that I have about six or seven beading projects in progress at the same time. I'm not sure why I can't just finish one beading project before I start the next one. We're supposed to enjoy the time it takes to make each project, right? But while I'm enjoying that time spent stitching beads, I'm always daydreaming about the next project I want to do- and sometimes I can't help but start a new beading project while the design is still fresh in my mind.

So with all these beading projects floating around in your head, what's a busy beader to do?

First, I try to keep things as uncluttered and organized as possible. (Those of you reading who have seen my beading table and my dining room table when I'm in full-on "create" mode, stop laughing right now.) For me, staying organized and uncluttered means putting the beads for just one project on my work pad instead of trying to juggle multiple projects at the same time. I also limit the number of work pads that I have out at one time so that I'm not tempted to stack them up on top of each other, which always leads to disaster; spilled beads and lost needles.

Since I always have more than one idea for a beading project running through my little beady brain, I also try to pull the colors and beads for each project that I'll need and store them in a plastic zip baggie. I'll usually include a copy of the sketch from my sketchbook for each finished piece, along with any other notes and sources for the beads in case I run out and need to order more.

These colorful, inexpensive pencil cases are perfect for organizing my beading projects when I have to travel.
When I'm traveling with my beads and want to bring more than one project along for the journey, I like the inexpensive pencil cases from the office supply store. They sell for about a buck each, come in bright colors, and have multiple pockets so that I can organize things such as beading thread, needles, and findings in addition to the beads for each project. I also use them just for storing beading project supplies since they are compact and easy to tuck into a drawer or a tote bag.

How do you stay organized when you're working on a beading project? Share your tips and advice here on the blog!

Bead Happy,


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Sally@6 wrote
on Dec 21, 2011 8:24 AM

I use small (4.5") Rubbermaid containers. They're big enough to hold the beads and threads along with small scissors but they don't take up much space. They're also the type w/ snap down tabs at the sides so I know they'll not come open if I accidentally drop them. Next to me right now is one w/ 2 red & 2 green little boxes of seeds, scissors, eye-pins, and a tiny bag of 10 mm beads for the chili pepper ornaments I made plus one with yellow & black components I won in a giveaway from Gaea along with coordinating beads. I like knowing that when I'm ready to tackle the project, the beads will still be all together in one spot!

kislobog wrote
on Jan 13, 2013 5:52 AM

The problem idscussed here is a nightmare for me. When I catch the inspiration, all the rest does not exist for me for a while. I use up all beading mats, then I switch to boards, then to various containers, kitchen & office supplies. At the moment I do not have a solution for that - at first, I cover all surfaces available with my started projects and supplies, and then, after a while, I notice that my husband is getting nervous about the lack of space to sit down or (sometimes) to have a meal. That's when I look around and realize that I have already covered all living space with my stuff :)

The only thing that kind of works for me - limit the number of needles used simultaneously :)

I leave 4-5 needles in easy access, and put the rest away