Saturday, February 11, 2017


If you like adding beads to your needlepoint, sooner or later you will have a pile of tubes of beads you have to organize in some fashion.   If you visit the big online bead stores like ArtBeads, Fire Mountain Gems or Fusion Beads and search for storage boxes, the  results are staggering.  I've tried several ways to keep mine in order.  First I tried the little "Chicklet" boxes that fit in a larger box.    The best photo of this system I found is on eBay.

This is great if you like to store your beads by color but you have to add stickers to the boxes and write down what they are if you do stitch guides like me.  I have to know what brand, size and color I've used.  It's a little limiting for me, frankly.

So next I tried stackable storage boxes and laid a row of beads in their tubes in each.    This is similar to what I tried.

Some of mine clip together so you can pick up the entire stack of small boxes at once or unclip the one you want.  Others just rest on top of others of their size. All are available in office supply stores.  I have discovered this works for me except some of the bead tubes don't have secure tops.  I have one box that has a bead soup of all sorts of colors I will have to sort out and put each back in their tube.  I also waste a lot of space as I don't like to have more than one layer of beads so that when I take off the lid, I can see the colors.  So I'm still trying for the perfect bead storage solution for me.

I might have found it, courtesy of Sundance Designs.  Those of you familiar with Sundance know that they sell beads as well as painted canvases.  (If you aren't familiar with their work, have fun exploring their website.)

I discovered that Sundance stores their bead tubes in cartridge boxes!  If you don't live in a rural area like I do, you may have never seen the plastic boxes that are used to store handgun and shotgun shells.   The box below is specifically for shotgun shells.  They are perfect for storing tubes of beads upright!

I bought myself a box that will hold fifty tubes for $2.99 plus tax today.  My box is seven inches long by three and three quarters inches high and three and a half inches wide.   In the photo above you see the plastic box closed with a selection of bead tubes that I grabbed to test how well they will fit.

Here's the inside of the box.  I put the longer tubes in the back and the shorter in the front. No matter the diameter or height, they all fit nicely.  However, you cannot see the colors of the beads in the smaller tubes.  I will solve that by using this box for my selection of gold, white, clear and black beads, the colors I use the most often.  My box came with stickers for labels so I may label the top gold and white on each end and the middle black and clear beads.  Note that the very long bead tubes for Japanese beads probably won't fit.  You can only store tubes shorter than the three and a half inch height of the box with the lid closed.

I purchased this at Dick's, which luckily has the gun and fishing sections next to each other.  Fishing tackle boxes are equally useful for storage, fairly cheap and they come in a dizzily array of sizes and configurations.

So maybe it's time to check out the sporting goods sections of places like Walmart, or sports stores like Bass and Dicks.  Your beads will thank you!

UPDATE:  After this article published I got a laughing email from Sandy Arthur, who sent me this photo of her Kreinik storage boxes which are clear ammo boxes, sized for rifle shells I think.   Sandy says there are smaller boxes available but she always picks the larger ones.

Sandy Arthur's Kreinik Storage

Sandy says everything but size 16 braid fits in these.  And you can see the labels because the lids are clear and the colors are somewhat visible through the clear sides.  Nice!

Many thanks to Sandy for allowing me to share this additional tip for stitching storage with ammo boxes with you.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow
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© Copyright February 11, 2017 Jane M. Wood. All rights reserved.

Needlepoint For Fun's Top Three Background Stitches

Needlepoint For Fun's Top Three Background Stitches are diagrammed here.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow
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© Copyright January 16, 2017 Jane M. Wood. All rights reserved.