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Most of my beads and supplies are stored in plain cardboard boxes.  They are a great long, shallow shape, very utilitarian and stack well.  But when I envision my finished studio (always a work in progress) I want a little variety along with a bit of charm that I see in the studios I admire like Diana Ptaszynski’s and all these great ideas from Erin Prais-Hintz.

Lately, I’ve found that food packaging has started looking like good bead and supply storage, especially the higher quality packaging I find comes with local, hand made foods.

First up, I love Potter’s Crackers that are made right here in Madison, Wisconsin. (They are sold all over the country and online; I encourage you to try some.) My current favorite flavor is Apple Graham, which I’m pretty sure they were making the other day based on the delicious smell coming from their suite that happens to be just across the parking lot from my office.  I often pass by on my way to lunch.  Anyway, they have various packaging, and I had always bought flavors that come in cellophane. Recently, I bought some that came in a little wooden berry basket.  I just couldn’t throw it away, and I realized it was a nicer fit for my stringing wire than the cardboard box I had been using. It has the added benefit of easily seeing what I have.  Just looking at this picture I see a brand I don’t like that I should move to my practice stringing area as well as three (!) “but it might be enough for a bracelet” spools that, stored face down, fooled me into thinking I have more wire than I do.

potters-overhead

About a month ago, I tried my hand at a bead weaving project.  I don’t generally do any bead weaving, so I had to get the needles and stringing material from my mom.  I needed a way to store the needles that would keep them (and me) safe and easy to find.  About that same time, I finished off a tin of Altoids Smalls mints.  The hinged tin is the perfect place to store needles. I can pop it in the drawer that houses my pilers and always know where to find it.

altoid-smalls-needles

Next I finished a jar of spread (delicious on lightly salted rice cakes) from Gentle Breeze Honey made a little over 20 miles away in Mt. Horeb. I’m left with a sweet little mason-type jar too nice to throw in the recycle bin.  It is such a perfect small size and will be good for a slew of findings, pretty beads or buttons or materials for a project that can marinate together in the jar until they’re ready.

honey-bead-container

These are products, and therefore containers, I’ll be getting again.  I won’t always need to keep them, but I like the idea of at least considering ways to reuse sturdy containers rather than throwing them away or even recycling them. If I were a really crafty sort, I would even go further to making these pretty, like this idea I saw on Pinterest. Hmm…maybe I’ll have to make that one of our family craft projects.

Do you ever reuse everyday items (and anything creative) for bead, supply or jewelry storage?  Please let me know in the comments.  I’m always looking for ideas!

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