I do believe I'm qualified to talk about bead storage. Why? Because I've tried every product known to wo/man.
- I started out years ago keeping all my beads in my antique metal tins. Yummy to look at but once my stash grew I couldn't remember what was in them all! Verdict: Pretty in the studio for infrequently used supplies.
- Later I graduated to hard plastic stackable screw tops, but of course only the top container had a lid. And heaven forbid you'd knock over the stack, because they'd pop open and spill, or worse, shatter. Verdict: Toss 'em.
- For years I've used plastic organizer snap-top trays in various configurations (always cheaper in the fishing aisle, ladies), and they are compact and efficient. You can rearrange the number of compartments in some of them. But once the lid is open, all of the compartments are open, making it tricky to transfer stuff in and out. You can't remove or rearrange the compartments. Also, the containers are too deep to dig anything out of easily while you're actually working. Verdict: Nice for storage, not for workage. ;-)
- Zip lock baggies are fine and come in many sizes. They wear out over time but are cheap to replace. I use them to organize my seed beads by size and color family, in big drawers. Verdict: Favorite stand-by, especially when labelled.
But now even my love of zip lock baggies is being tested by these excellent containers from Darice. They are slim, clear plastic trays with removable lids. Inside are clear, removable pots with screw top lids. What? Yes, they're completely configurable, and because you can remove the containers, you can mix and match according to your current project.
I can pull together a palette of up to 24 little pots of seed beads, nailheads, sequins, and other embellishments, and keep them all in one portable tray. When I'm done, back go the pots into their original trays.
This tray holds some of my nailheads. It's so easy to see what I have!They seem to travel well (I wrap them individually in my clothing). I've dropped one on the floor and nothing broke, but still, I wouldn't be surprised if the large cover lids are prone to cracking.
Note: The big lid does not snap on, so when I travel with them I slip a cloth hair tie around the tray.
When I teach sequin stitching classes, I pull together a couple of trays of my shop sequins, with the actual stock all bagged and labelled in a small suitcase. Each pot easily holds a full strand. My students can see from the trays what the sequin colors really look like (you can't tell by looking at them on the strand).
Each tray is a slim 1-1/8" tall x 9-1/2" x 6-3/8". On this small shelf in my studio, I could fit up to 21 trays (room to grow right?) with very little wasted space. Extra inventory goes in the closet or in my Etsy shop. Verdict: Go for it!
Regularly $10 at Joann's, you can usually get them on sale there for $6.00 each.