Bead Storage: the 3 most important things to look for
The thing about bead storage is it’s very personal to you. So, if you’re new to beading, then finding the perfect bead storage system for you can be great fun.
Although you’ll want to try some different ideas, I think there are three things that you should be looking for, whatever bead storage you use. So, what are they?
Well, in short: security, visibility and practicality. Keep reading to find out what these mean and why they’re important.
Bead Storage Security
This may be the most important thing to look for. When I talk about security, I’m talking about how securely your storage fastens. After all, you don’t want beads ‘escaping’!
(Let me tell you, from experience, chasing round the floor trying to pick up 100g of size 11 seed beads because the lid just fell off your pot, isn’t fun!
…Although, I have a top tip for getting up odd stragglers. Grab your vacuum (hoover) and pop an old pair of tights over the top section of the brush tube. Then switch the vacuum on and hoover away. You should be able to pick up the beads, but the tights will prevent them from passing all the way into the vacuum bag. So, all you have to do is retrieve the beads!)
Anyway, I digress. So, what makes good bead storage security?
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Well, screw top pots or jars are usually good. Just make sure you have screwed the lids on properly each time!
You might also check that the pots have a good screw mechanism. If you are using cheap pots, then sometimes the screw thread is a little loose. This can make the fastening unstable. So, if possible, try before you buy!
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Clip on Lids
I’m talking about lids that lift off completely (like a margarine tub), or lids that lift up, but fasten down with a clip.
Again, these make great bead storage in theory. Just check that the clip is secure. Sometimes a clip can get a little loose with age.
On the other hand, there is such a thing as too secure! What do I mean?
Well, have you ever been trying to pull a lid off, but it just won’t go? So, you pull harder, you grasp it at strange angles to get better leverage and… wham – the lid flies off and the contents of your pot fly out around the room…
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Grip seal bags
These are great, but only if you seal the bag properly. Well, duh! But seriously, it’s all too easy to think you’ve fastened the seal, but find you haven’t. So, take good care. And make sure the bags don’t have any holes in them!
I’ve had incidents where I kept finding beads and couldn’t work out where they were coming from… Until I picked up a bag of beads and a little stream fell out!
So, in general, if you want to use this for permanent bead storage, I suggest double-bagging. That way, if the seal accidentally pulls apart, or the bag has a hole, at least your escaping beads won’t get too far.
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Tubes with pull on lids
Again, these are only as good as the fit of the lid. Bear in mind, lids can loosen over time, especially if you are pulling them on and off a lot.
Plus, the same thing applies about those stiff lids that come off too fast and eject the contents of the pot in the process!
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So, when you’re buying your bead storage, remember to check with friends for recommendations. Or check product reviews. You can be sure that unhappy customers will have reported any sub-standard security issues!
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Bead Storage Visibility
So, what do I mean by visibility? Well, simply, can you see through the storage pot?
If you’re trying to use DIY bead storage solutions (great idea!), then there are loads of household vessels that will conform to the security issues I’ve just talked about. But you really need to be able to see what’s inside your pot…
…or do you?
Let me tell you why visibility matters. If you are looking for a particular bead colour, you want to be able to see it right away, without having to open your pots and check what is inside.
However, if you have a standard bead, like white 4mm pearls, you know what they look like. So, do you need to be able to see them inside the pot? Maybe not. You could just write a label to stick on the pot to tell you it contains white 4mm pearls.
Although, I have tried this method and it takes a little longer to read the labels as I hunt through stacks of pots.
So, on balance, I would recommend using something you can see through. Then, as you look through your stash, you can see at a glance exactly what you’re looking for.
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Bead Storage Practicality
This might seem blindingly obvious. I mean, why would you choose to buy bead storage that wasn’t practical? Well, define ‘practical’…
For me, ‘practical’ means three things:
- I can store the pot easily in a drawer or cupboard when I want to pack my beads away
- The pot is easy to carry around, just in case I want to take my beads to a bead group, or away on vacation
- It’s easy to use, so I can tip the beads out and put them back without too many dramas
What that means in practice
Odd shaped jars might be a bad idea. They meet the criteria for security and visibility, but have you ever tried stacking odd shaped jars in a cupboard or lining them up on a shelf?
They look great if you have endless space to create a fun display. But if your bead stash is growing and your significant other has placed rules on where you can and can’t store your beads, then storage systems that stack efficiently are essential!
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Then, think about size. It’s lovely to be able to empty the contents of a 500g bag of seed beads into one single pot. But what happens when you want to pack it in your suitcase for a vacation?
OK, so we all know that beads are more essential than clothes when it comes to packing. I mean, who doesn’t sort out their beading project before they decide which clothes to pack? But it’s a good idea to fit at least one change of clothes in your suitcase beside the beads! …not to mention those pesky weight restrictions on airlines!
So, yes, pots in a mixture of sizes are a good idea, so you can take smaller quantities when you go travelling.
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Now, this really is a matter of personal taste. So, you’re not going to know until you try a particular bead storage pot. But access is critical.
There is nothing more frustrating than not being able to pour your beads out carefully…
…unless it’s the frustration of not being able to get them back into the storage container again when you pack up!
So, think about the size of the opening on your bead storage. Personally, I like something with a large opening. Then I can use a bead scoop to scoop the beads out and pop them back.
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(I even had some large, flat screw cap pots that I could actually bead from! They were wide enough and flat enough that I could simply scoop the beads out on my needle – perfect!)
So, you may not be able to try the practicalities until you get your new bead storage home. But you can take note of things like size and shape. Think about how large the opening is and whether that is going to be convenient for you.
As with everything else in beading, all this comes with experience. You’ll learn a lot from those ‘mistakes’. So, maybe don’t be tempted to buy all your bead storage in bulk. Try one sample first, then if you like it, go back and get that bulk order that will fit all your beads!
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If you found this helpful, then you might also like to take a look at this blog about finding the perfect beading storage solution for you >>
And, if you have some great bead storage pots that you want to recommend to others, just leave a comment below.
I’ve peppered this post with some storage options that are available from Amazon. I haven’t tried them all personally, but they look like they fit the three criteria I’ve been talking about. So, I’ll leave you to check them out for yourself…