Over the years, helpful readers have sent in suggestions not just for blog posts but the neat tools they have and love.  I, in turn, can share to a wider audience and benefit a whole community. 

Beading surfaces and organizers are always handy. For example, the beautiful laser cut wood bead organizers from Wonderland Ukraine have become a reader favorite after I featured them on a number of occasions. Shown above is their peacock patterned organizer.

But what about  a tray while you are beading? I use the popular padded felt-like tray a lot - and not just for beads - sometimes for counting out small amounts of jewelry components. Someone made it for me. There is also a DIY on it. Not keen on making it yourself? Check out the Beadonit Mats from Potomac Beads as shown below. 

I generally make small piles of beads or components on my bead board. Not the most organized of methods as the beads can get mixed up. 

Those who work on many colors might like these ideas from readers which uses other compartment trays for just the working beads. Wayne Wiley initially used muffin tins - he added little felt rounds inside to stop the beads from moving too much within the metal cavities. 

Then another reader, Lynn Velier, shared that she uses a Jell-O Bean Jigglers mold to organize her working piles of beads. Lynn said, "When I bead my peyote 11mm pattern bracelets many times they have 45 different colors in them." That particular mold is not easily available. But there are always candy molds like this really inexpensive 4-pc set of gummy silicone mold with 55 spaces! With four trays, you could be even working on 4 different projects. The silicone cavities are soft and easier to work with than metal ones. The only disadvantage I can think of, is that they are floppy. So put these on baking sheets if you need to move them elsewhere. 

Wayne recently found a really portable felt alternative which combines both a mat and some compartmentalized spaces for working beads. I particularly like this flocked product because it is light and thin. Always a useful feature if storage space is limited. This 3 PC set is from hobbyworker shown below. There are 3 different sizes with varying numbers of compartments.

Wayne's verdict on them : "It's working nicely. I was concerned that since I was used to using one of the trays with the padded border that it would be uncomfortable for my wrist. However, it has a slightly raised padded edge which helps my wrist and also keeps beads from falling off. My only complaint is that it does tend to move around a little, but I put double tape under the corners and that seems to have solve that problem."

It looks like it should best be used on a table. 

A little heavier and sturdier is this bead board or tray from Svartur. It has an acrylic base with a double layer of flocking on top for beading and organizing beads. The best feature about this design is the clear acrylic lid which is secured by little round magnets. The cover and firmer foundation makes this ideal for storage or travel. 

Before You Go :

jewelry making supplies


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Original Post by THE BEADING GEM