4 Ways to Use Recycled Items in Your Beading Studio

Jun 5, 2014

My priorities for beading are basically:

1. Beads
2. Everything else

This explains why my studio space is in no danger whatsoever of being featured in one of those beautiful, inspiring magazines like Studios. It would be wonderful to have a studio with gorgeous cabinetry for storing tools or beads or a custom-made work surface for designing jewelry, but that would take more time and money than I currently possess.  In the meantime, my hodgepodge mix of recycled items works just fine.  The main advantage is that it doesn't cost a lot of money (more money for beads!) and I'm free to change my mind at any time without feeling guilty about wasting money.  Here are a few ways I use recycled items:

1. In-Progress Project Storage

Since I tend to work on multiple projects at once, I'm always needing a way to safely store in-progress projects.  Luckily, I enjoy beading projects that usually have small parts that can be created separately and joined together later such as a series of stitched medallions.  This means that the small, round Laughing Cow cheese boxes work perfectly for most projects.  These are light cardboard, fairly sturdy, and most importantly, come with lids to keep the projects intact and dust-free.  As I've mentioned in previous blog posts, I've also used little metal mint tins to store some of my beaded swatches.

2. Needle Storage

I can never find a needle when I need one.  I'm still working on the perfect solution to this, but in the meantime, I'm storing some of my needles in this little swatch of felted wool.  This is a tiny leftover scrap from a thrift store sweater that I'd felted and used to make a bag.  My needles still aren't very organized—I have sewing and embroidery needles mixed in with my beading ones—but at least I'm getting better at not leaving my needles on a table or a sofa arm where they tend to roll off and bury themselves in the carpet or sofa cushions. (Ouch!)

3. Bead Design Tray

For a long time, I've used a box lid as a beading tray that I can put in my lap.  I like the sturdy ones from office filing boxes. I find shoe boxes too small and flimsy and metal baking pans   too heavy.  I just put a Vellux beading mat inside the box lid and I'm ready to go. 

4. Bead Sorting Dishes

The little paper coasters that cover the tops of drinking glasses in hotels make good dishes for sorting your beads.  I like that they are flexible and you can bend them to pour the leftover beads back into their original container.  I've been known to ask my friends to save me those from their trips.

How about you?  Do you have any tips for using recycled items in your beading life?


Related Posts
+ Add a comment

Comments

Louise Pope wrote
on Jun 6, 2014 5:24 PM

My husband's motorbike business provided lots of clever storage units for my beads - one the nasty fuses, bulbs and spark plugs had gone away the trays and boxes are very handy indeed :)

Clarelwk wrote
on Jun 7, 2014 5:03 AM

I saw an idea on needle storage, take an old lidded jar, decorate as you wish. On the lid add stuffing and cover with fabric for pins or stabbing needles in. I'm going to make one this week using an old herb pot decorated in vintage fabric and ribbon.

Clarelwk wrote
on Jun 7, 2014 5:05 AM

I saw an idea on needle storage, take an old lidded jar, decorate as you wish. On the lid add stuffing and cover with fabric for pins or stabbing needles in. I'm going to make one this week using an old herb pot decorated in vintage fabric and ribbon.

Thrift shops have some great beads to recycle, often vintage.

Woodleslie22 wrote
on Jun 7, 2014 7:48 AM

I stack several (3) small rectangles of vellux, from an old blue blanket, in a Celestial Seasonings herb tea tin.  I then store different types of needles on the different layers.  When I am working on a project I take out one rectangle and put it in my workspace.  The rest of the needles are left safely behind.

dochjh wrote
on Jun 7, 2014 8:27 AM

KFC plastic cole slaw and mashed potato containers are great containers for craft components. You can even use the lid to line up looks

dochjh wrote
on Jun 7, 2014 8:27 AM

KFC plastic cole slaw and mashed potato containers are great containers for craft components. You can even use the lid to line up looks

beaderdallas wrote
on Jun 7, 2014 11:56 AM

I place needles on a magnet--credit card sized ones are especially useful. Cardboard trays that canned goods are shipped in are the same size as the beading mats. If you know someone who works at a grocery store ask them about these. You can stack them with works in progress. Greek yogurt containers also are good for sorting beads.

cwbrown379 wrote
on Jun 7, 2014 12:28 PM

I made a needle book from felt, cut small rectangles that fitted into a small plastic box, stitched them together along one edge to make the book. The same type needle per page.

cwbrown379 wrote
on Jun 7, 2014 12:28 PM

I made a needle book from felt, cut small rectangles that fitted into a small plastic box, stitched them together along one edge to make the book. The same type needle per page.

mrskitson07 wrote
on Jun 7, 2014 2:25 PM

I use plastic peanut butter jars and some of the small bottles for seasonings (with the holes in the top).  Just soak the jars in warm sudsy water and scrub off the paper on the outside.  I've also used KFC containers.

RhondaK@12 wrote
on Jun 7, 2014 2:31 PM

I use the plastic boxes left over from my Restasis prescription. While not everyone uses this, if you know someone who is, ask them to save them for you; they are wonderful storage containers. They are larger than the mint tins, plastic with a sturdy snap on lid and can be used to store a fairly large quantity of seed beads, or other small beads. They are also great for storing and transporting small projects. Aloha and thank-you! Rhonda

RhondaK@12 wrote
on Jun 7, 2014 2:32 PM

I use the plastic boxes left over from my Restasis prescription. While not everyone uses this, if you know someone who is, ask them to save them for you; they are wonderful storage containers. They are larger than the mint tins, plastic with a sturdy snap on lid and can be used to store a fairly large quantity of seed beads, or other small beads. They are also great for storing and transporting small projects. Aloha and thank-you! Rhonda

on Jun 7, 2014 6:21 PM

I use rectangular containers from President Feta Cheese for larger findings.  Just label them and they stack nicely and save space better than round things.

Cathy P.

anaplum wrote
on Jun 7, 2014 7:06 PM

A friend gave me a bunch of baby food containers - rectangular plastic with lids.  Great for storing beading supplies or even a small WIP.  I used to take those annoying tins AOL discs came in (I'm aging myself) and store needles and bits of beading wire I call my test strings (to see how things look together.)  

Thebragal wrote
on Jun 7, 2014 9:34 PM

Just add a few more felt pieces and make a book out of them. One page for beading needles, one page for sewing and one for machine sewing with divisions on each page for sizes made from yarn sewn into lines.

beadliz wrote
on Jun 8, 2014 6:14 AM

At home I use a filing tray to move around with the whole project (the beading mat fits in too and holds the needles). For taking along, IKEA has a few beautiful and handy boxes with lids to carry in different colors and materials.

cicamo wrote
on Jun 8, 2014 11:01 AM

I cut out a piece of sticky bead mat to fit into a mint tin.  This holds my loose beads while I'm working on a beaded embroidery project.  In the lid I put a round magnet which holds my needles.  I have a couple of these for different projects going on at the same time.

Cindy

ctutt wrote
on Jun 8, 2014 12:02 PM

I use the clear plastic food containers from the deli & market to store in-progress items for specific projects. That way I can always see what's in there, plus they are sturdy and they stay CLOSED until I open them

MaryB@247 wrote
on Jun 8, 2014 2:12 PM

We use the lidless ranch containers that come in veggie trays for sorting beads, holding glue and painting. They also come with Pizza Hut wing orders.

Ebrior1060 wrote
on Jun 8, 2014 11:34 PM

I  also use the paper cover for holding beads. I sort my beads according to size in plastic shoe sized boxes from the dollar store and more expensive beads like Swarovski crystal in small recycled plastic containers from different items.

I made a traveling beading work case from a recycled case from a drug store item. The case is about 3"x5" with an attached lid that snaps firmly closed. I lined one side with some very fine felt and on the other side I glued a piece of flexible magnet to hold needles. The case is only about 1/2" thick and could easily slip into a pocket.

LoriCroy wrote
on Jun 9, 2014 3:22 PM

I use prescription drug bottles that my pharmacist saves for me, the ones with screw on lids they get from the manufacturers. Once the labels are removed ( thank you goo b gone!) I can write on the lids or bottles so I know what jump ring or beads are stored inside. I also have my diabetic sister save her test strip bottles for me. I store sewing needles or a projects worth of beads for on the go crafting in them. The bottles are very thick and the lids snap on securely to prevent spills.

I am also a stained glass artist so I save the little packets made to absorb moisture that come in all sorts of packaged products. I pop them in my horse shoe nail stash to prevent rusting. I just love finding ways to repurpose and reuse things that would normally become trash :-).

Pawpawcarol wrote
on Jun 15, 2014 3:58 PM

I use the heart shaped tin that valentine chocolates come in to store beads in. I keep the little section thing the chocolates sit in. When they are all gone I put beads in them.