Get yourself organised
Have you ever looked at your craft space and thought ‘What on earth am I going to do with all these odds and ends?’ Well, I know the feeling! I have bags and bags of beads and findings, reels of thread, wire, half strands of gemstones, ribbon, the list goes on and it's easy to reach a point where you're tearing your hair out about the mess, but you know what, the best advice anyone could possibly give you, is take a deep breath and make a start!
One step at a time
Daunting though it may be, just pick one small section at a time and slowly but surely sort everything out. Get yourself some storage, ideally clear boxes and jars so you can see what is inside them at a glance, if this seems utilitarian and boring go for clear boxes with coloured lids, or tie a nice ribbon around the neck of the jar. Alternatively go for coloured storage but make sure everything has a front facing label! Generic inexpensive storage is easy to find on the high street and you can find some wonderful products specifically with the jewellery maker in mind on our website too. Try hanging reels of ribbon, beading thread and wire on a simple piece of dowel making them easy to access as well as looking attractive. You might want to consider creating a wall mounted peg board so that you can suspend your tools, equipment and anything you use on a regular basis within reach of your workspace.
Trust me as a keen crafter and jewellery maker it’s the best thing I ever did. It’s an ongoing process because (if you're anything like me) the stash will continue to grow so don’t feel bad if it’s not all done at once. It's a working space so it may never become the picture perfect setting that you see in the magazines but, it will flow and function better and make your life easier!
Only you know how you like things to be sorted, so go with what feels comfortable for you. Personally I am always drawn by colour, so for example my wardrobe is arranged with everything red hanging together, everything green hanging together and so on, it’s honestly like a rainbow when I open the doors but that’s what feels good to me.
When making jewellery however, I found that I needed to go by function and product type. What I mean by that is, I have arranged my ‘stash’ (being the collective term for the jewellery making ‘stuff’ I have all over the house) into boxes of the same type of product, and then where necessary I have filtered that down by size. A good example of this is my seed bead collection. I put them all in the same area on the shelf but I have separated them down further and sorted them by size as well. It’s actually quite pretty to see all the colours through the clear boxes, and it saves me having to squint at tiny labels on the tubes to make sure I have picked up the correct size for my project.
There is an amazing sense of satisfaction and relief when you have resolved even one little section and I find it makes the whole process of making jewellery more enjoyable. Imagine being able to find that elusive Sterling Silver Clasp, or tool or gemstone without having to wade through ‘all that stuff!’
Create a little crafting sanctuary
The other thing you might want to consider is how your craft space makes you feel. Is it the haven of creativity you want to retreat to, or could you make a few more tweaks to improve it? Do you have enough lighting? Is your chair comfortable? Would you benefit from adding a couple of plants to purify the air and give you something natural to look at. Perhaps you’d benefit from having a scented candle or an atomiser? Create the kind of space that encourages relaxation, fuels your creativity and more importantly becomes somewhere you actually want to spend time. We have learnt so much from the likes of Mrs Hinch about keeping a clean space, and Marie Kondo with her de-cluttering methodology that it's worth investing a little time in yourself and your work space. Try not to see it as a tidy up chore, but more of a concerted effort to do something for yourself. Don’t forget ‘me time’ is important and the end result is worth it.
Create beautiful jewellery without breaking the bank!
What is bead soup?
Something I have always found when making jewellery is that you get the inevitable last few beads on a strand or half a tube of seed beads leftover from a project, and rather than throw them away I have a tendency to pour them all into a container together thinking to myself, one day I’ll do something with them, until one day you discover you have rather a lot of ‘Bead Soup’. What you might not have realised, is that it could be the secret weapon to your jewellery making journey!
Many of us are feeling the pinch financially recently and are having to prioritise our spending leaving us with less budget for craft and making jewellery. Now is the time to dive into that Bead Soup and create something from nothing, then with little or no spending required (depending on what's in your stash) you can transform it into beautiful commercial looking items of jewellery and can actually turn a profit on items you had disregarded as leftovers
Five ways to use up your bead stash
Stretchy Bracelets: All you need is elastic, glue and scissors then thread on anything you like from your bead soup to create colourful stackable stretchies. Try teaming groups of three or five together and pick themes like all blues and greens together with silver coloured spacers. Fasten the ends with a double knot and add a dab of glue for extra security.
Memory Wire Bracelets: A great way to use up some of the stash is by adding Memory Wire. You'll need some Wire Cutters, and either Round Nose Pliers or Memory Wire Pliers. Cut enough Memory Wire away from the reel to wrap around your wrist three (or five) times. Use the pliers to curl one end into a loop so that the beads don't fall off, and get threading. Once the coils are all full of beads, use the pliers to bend the other end into a loop and there you have it!
Wrap Bracelets: One of my absolute favourites to make, and a really good way of using up odds and ends from your bead stash! Cut a long length of Beading Thread from the reel, it needs to be long enough to wrap around your wrist three to five times and then have a little extra for adding a Toggle Clasp. Attach one half of the Toggle to the end with Crimps and Crimping Pliers then thread on the beads to the desired length before attaching the other half of the toggle to the other end. Top tip: Include some Metallic Spacer Beads and Crystal Bicones for a bit of added sparkle!
Slider Bracelets: These only take a few specially selected gemstones or a connector secured between the two loops to make really desirable bracelets, so this is perfect for using up individual beads
Boho/Festival Jewellery: Try threading beads onto beading thread or memory wire without looking at the order that you are threading them on, you'll be pleasantly surprised at the results. This random selection of colours and textures can look very bohemian and works wonders if you want to create festival vibes with your jewellery. You could also keep to the Boho styling and make dangly fringe style earrings, they wont need many of each bead and can be created using either headpins or eyepins and the wrapped loop technique.
However you choose to use up some of your bead soup and jewellery making stash, you'll feel great for clearing some clutter, using materials you already had, and can sell your makes at craft fairs or online to make yourself some money too! Get Organised - Shop Essentials Here