When You Run Out of Room - Ideas For Organizing and Storing Your Beading Tools

May 19, 2014

For years, the only beading tools that I really needed were a few good pairs of jewelry-making pliers: my chain nose, flat nose, and combination pliers went with me everywhere, along with my heavy duty wire cutters. But when I started exploring jewelry-making and beading techniques by Rachel Nelson-Smith that combined beads and wire, I suddenly found myself acquiring all kinds of new jewelry tools.

First came the wire straighteners, which were essential for working with long lengths of thin gauge wire. (They also came in handy when I learned how to do Viking knit!) Next came a pair of curved chain nose pliers, which were perfect for opening and closing hundreds of jump rings for chain maille projects. Then my beloved hole-punching pliers for use with all the vintage metal stampings I was adding to my jewelry-making stash; then a pair of split ring pliers for opening up split ring jump rings (and thereby saving my fingernails from breaking and ruin); and finally, an enormous set of Wubbers mandrel jewelry-making pliers from Patti Bullard!

Now, I love a good tool for jewelry-making as much as the next beader, but I suddenly found myself with an enormous collection of beading and wire tools, and nowhere to store them except a huge cardboard box. Not very attractive! Because I like to have my tools handy with me while I'm working, I looked into three options for storing and organizing my collection of pliers and jewelry-making tools:

For when I'm moving from room to room with my jewelry-making projects (which happens daily in this tiny little house of ours), I love these tool blocks. I can fit a handful of pliers into the holes to keep them organized, and if I need a few tubes of seed beads or glass beads to go with me, they fit nicely into the holders, as well. If you have just a few pairs of pliers that you want to keep handy while you make jewelry, these tool blocks are a good low-cost option.
When I started adding to my collection of jewelry-making pliers, I added a few of these tool stands to my beading desk. I like that I can keep my pliers handy while adding storage space for things like Nymo, empty thread bobbins, needles, glue, and other small jewelry-making and beading essentials. These also move around the house quite well, and even fit on the night stand next to my bed. (Because, you know, just in case you wake up at 3 a.m. and just have to start beading...)
Now, trying to figure out what to do with my enormous collection of Wubbers was a real challenge. But this wood jewelry-making pliers rack was exactly what I needed to tame my mess of jewelry-making pliers and keep them organized and safe! If you're keeping your collection of jewelry-making pliers in a cardboard box like I was doing, you'll love how neat they look when they're stored properly in an organizer like this one.

And speaking of expanding collections of beading tools...are you someone who is ready to branch out into the world of making jewelry with metal? If you want to learn how to make jewelry with metals without sawing or soldering, you'll love Wire + Metal: 30 Easy Metalsmithing Designs. Learn about the basic tools, easy techniques, and how to get started including metals in your handmade jewelry designs from two of the experts, Denise Peck and Jane Dickerson. You can form, emboss, and embellish your way to beautiful metal jewelry with Wire + Metal: 30 Easy Metalsmithing Designs! Order your copy now to be one of the first to get the paperback edition of this essential beginner's wire and metal jewelry-making book!

Do you have a solution for storing and organizing your jewelry-making tools? Leave a comment here on the Beading Daily blog and share your ideas with us!

Bead Happy,


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Maru6 wrote
on May 19, 2014 8:36 AM

Hello Jennifer, May I ask where you got the wooden plier holder?   This is just a suggestion but when you post things such as these maybe the company that provides them should be included thank you:)

knunez57 wrote
on May 19, 2014 9:12 AM

I found a clear lucite makeup caddy at a thrift store - compartments on both sides of a central divider that is also the handle...Voila!  The pliers, wire cutters, etc sit on that central divider, my small scissors and needle threaders and bead scoop are in the compartments, there's room for tubes of seed beads, and best of all?  I can see what is where!  Best 5 bucks I ever spent.  

v. kapadia wrote
on May 19, 2014 11:42 AM

I store my tools in and on a sturdy plastic box. Pliers and forceps sit on the edge

on one side, clips on the other side. inside the box, I have measuring tape, ruler

and other stuff. you may use it for bead tubes.

v. kapadia wrote
on May 19, 2014 11:46 AM

where do you find these things that you have mentioned?

ibladydragon wrote
on May 19, 2014 2:22 PM

Where can you get the Plier Rack you show on the last part of the article above.? I have several Wubbers and would love that rack

Bead Me wrote
on May 19, 2014 3:55 PM

I got the middle one with the drawer at Fire Mountain, and it works great. Thinking of getting another one, as the use-all-the-time tools have grown in number

Bead Me wrote
on May 19, 2014 3:56 PM

I got the middle one with the drawer at Fire Mountain, and it works great. Thinking of getting another one, as the use-all-the-time tools have grown in number

Bead Me wrote
on May 19, 2014 3:57 PM

Sorry if this duplicates - I got the middle one with the drawer at Fire Mountain and love it.

TJMare wrote
on May 20, 2014 11:24 AM

These organizers look very nice but since I am more often beading other than at my desk, I prefer to keep my main tools and supplies in my beading bag. It's like carrying around a purse.

dswee3 wrote
on May 20, 2014 11:49 AM

I too would like to know where you got the natural wood pliers rack from, it is just what I have been looking for.

dswee3 wrote
on May 20, 2014 11:50 AM

I too would like to know where you got the natural wood pliers rack from, it is just what I have been looking for.

millieknits wrote
on May 21, 2014 2:53 PM

Jennifer,  I would love to have one of the wooden tool rack that you pictured when talking about your Wubbers.  Are they readily available and where can I get one?

jabes wrote
on May 22, 2014 3:38 PM

All three of the pictured organizers are available from Fire Mountain.

kat@65 wrote
on May 24, 2014 6:18 AM

H20-3021PK   Organizer, wood and steel, 16-1/2 x 4-1/2 x 5 inches. As others have said from fire mountain gems.


dragnfiend wrote
on May 24, 2014 6:22 AM

For a cheaper alternative, the mesh or even plastic letter separators for desks are a good idea.  :)

Circleolove wrote
on Jun 6, 2014 11:06 AM

Try a towel hanger that will allow you to place it on its side - you can screw it into a piece of plywood or attache it sideways to a riser.

I also love using a pegboard with the tool hooks