The how you store your wire question made me wonder how people store
their findings. I have been looking for a better findings storage
method for a long time. The best I have seen is an old watch crystal
storage box. It was metal with 7-8 drawers, it was about 24 inches
long, 10 inches high and 10 inches deep. Each drawer was about a 1/2
inch deep and held about 60 little cardboard boxes (no tops). The
little boxes originally held watch crystals, but they were perfect
for separating hundreds of findings. Each drawer for a different
metal or category.
Anyway, that’s what I wish I could find (if you have one and want to
sell it to me please contact me off list), but since I can’t find
one I’m stuck with those multiple plastic drawer systems they sell
at hardware stores (and I think the drawers are too big). I’m
wondering what those of you out in Orchidland use?
I have a supply of micro petri dishes made of clear plastic and
another size made of a translucent white plastic. They stack in the
drawer of those multiple plastic drawer systems they sell at hardware
stores, so even if the drawer is too big, they hold about 6 of these
little petri dishes.
Works for me,
Judy in Kansas
Well, along the same line as my previous post, I store jump rings in
small plastic baggies (sorted by wire gauge, inner dimension and
outer dimension) and put each baggie inside a trading card sleeve (I
put individual cabochons in slide sleeves), then many sleeves go in a
report cover and the report cover goes in a plastic storage drawer.
It would work with clasps too, but at the moment I’m still using the
hardware drawers like you do.
After my last post, I combined two systems, putting my wire in page
protector sleeves, wrote the type and gauge of the wire on the white
3 ring binding and filed in an accordion file. Works really well.
More than one type of wire can go in each file separation and yet
they’re still in separate sleeve containers and the label is really
easy to see.
Love those plastic see through sleeves! I’m a small business, so
those with more supplies will find my method fussy, but it works
great for me.
I have a system that I absolutely love! I buy the "Craft Mates"
plastic containers that are sold at craft stores. (If you’re
obsessed with values, you can use the stores’ 40% or 50% off coupons
on them, too.) These were originally manufactured as medication
storage containers, and each little section has a child-proof
protection and opens individually. This prevents the danger of
knocking over the container and mixing up all your findings!
I purchase some tarnish-resistant silver protection cloth from JoAnn
Fabrics. (They also sell the Craft Mates containers.) I cut little
rectangular pieces of the cloth (approx. 1" x 1.25") using a fabric
rotary cutter. I put glue around the perimeter of the cloth, and
glue a piece to the bottom of each little section. I store my
sterling findings in these. (I store my gold findings in the Craft
Mates containers as well, but I don’t line those with fabric.)
Using a Brother label maker, label each of these containers on the
side end, and then arrange these vertically in a plastic rolling
file cabinet. (You can fit three of these across, and about 9 of
these down.) If you want to be able to find something very quickly
and are anal, you can arrange your containers alphabetically.
I like this system because it is easy to keep the items organized;
the silver remains tarnish-free; the individual containers are small
so findings don’t get “lost” in them; you can see many items at once
by glancing at the box as opposed to opening and closing a million
If you have many different findings and you find that the
compartments of the Craft Mates are too large, you can do what my
friend does: She buys the monthly pill divider containers. She uses
alcohol to rub off the days of the week that are written on each
section so she can more easily see through the compartments. Beware,
though, some of paint used on these is more difficult to remove than
Hope this helps,
Fishing Lure boxes, the kind with a hinge and hinged clasp, the ones
with the plastic strip didn’t last very long, for fishing either.
Sounds like a good substitute is the thing someone mentioned
recently in some other thread (or was it even a different forum?)
recently, the watchmaker’s cases at:
If that link doesn’t take you to the right place, it’s under
woodworking/storage/watchmaker’s cases on the leevalley site.
It actually looks like a nice way to store little bits like that.
And with the clear lids, you can keep things sealed up a bit, but
still easily find them.
I recently switched to the trading card sleeves in binders method. I
like it because my whole collection of findings takes up relatively
little space on my table, just the footprint of the binder on end. I
have alpha dividers to separate the types of findings, with a list at
the front so I can easily go to the right section right away. Each
little card pocket holds a zippie nicely that contains the different
varieties of each of the findings.
Designs by Lisa Gallagher
I store my findings in folding plastic boxes used for storing fly
fishing lures, such as the gray one shown here:
One side has individual compartments each with a separate lid. The
other side has multiple compartments that are all under one lid. The
two sides snap closed, and the whole thing fits nicely in even a
These “folding fly boxes” (official name) close tight enough that
nothing tarnishes in them, so I’ve never needed to use anti-tarnish
strips in the little compartments. Since they’re opaque when closed,
put labels on the outside of each one so I know if it contains bails,
jump rings, ear posts, etc.
And they look expensive at $13.99 on the Cabela’s website, but I got
mine at Dunhams Sporting Goods (another US chain) for $1.99
each…same brand, same logo, same size, and not on clearance. Go
figure. Look around in other stores with fishing departments, you may
find a similar deal.
For bulkier items such as clip earrings and big toggle clasps, I use
plastic multi-compartment trays with clear sliding lids, like these
I got mine at a local gem & mineral show, but I’ve since seen them
in craft stores, and once American Science and Surplus ( sciplus.com
– my favorite impulse purchase website) even had them. I found that
the lids tended to slide open when the boxes were tilted. But a
couple thicknesses of Teflon tape wrapped around the edges of the lid
stopped that problem quite nicely. And again, these fit in even
shallow drawers, and the clear tops make labeling unnecessary.
Feathered Gems Jewelry
Those Craft Mates containers are wonderful. The individually locking
compartments really do prevent everything from spilling when knocked
over, and moving items form one box to another is a breeze when
reorganizing or restocking. Just close all of the other compartments
and pour out the one that needs moving. Much better than any of the
storage boxes I used to use, including vitamin containers and some
tackle boxes, esp when portability is an issue.
If you find the containers too big, Craft Mate makes a container
portfolio that looks like a small hardcover book with a snap closure.
Inside, there are 12 small containers, with 7 individually closing
comparments in each, 84 spaces total. They are my favorites for small
findings. See through, easy to label, bring to shows, classes, and
store back in shop drawers. I use the larger ones for cabs, larger
stones, and beads.
I use boxes that have sliding lids and which snap together to form a
tower. Each has up to 6 compartments and the lids are close enough to
stop the contents from moving from one compartment to another. They
also come in different sizes and have clear lids.The advantage is
that I get them free. They are the boxes that lathe/ machine turning
tips come in and the local machine shops throw them out by the
hundred. When I ask for them I usually am given a bag full or pointed
to the rubbish bin to help myself. I store my wire and smaller sheet
in disposable clear plastic food containers - in the UK most chinese
food take-aways use them (about 8" x 5" x 1") They stack well and
like the finding boxes I Dymo the shape, metal and size etc. on the
Robin KeyClavis Jewellery