When I start a project, I like to walk into my studio and see all my supplies neatly organized. And while having an organized fabric stash is important to starting any project, I’m going to argue that having an organized embellishment stash is equally important to FINISHING any project. Embellishments don’t fold nice and flat on shelves like fabric and they also fall into the “out of sight, out of mind” category. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in my studio, ready to add the final touches to a project, and muttered to myself, “Now if I could only find…”
And while it can be a nice surprise to find something I’ve forgotten all about in my studio, it usually is followed by wishing I was just a bit more organized with my embellishments. So taking inspiration from my (more) organized fabric stash, and to celebrate a little spring cleaning, I’ve come up with five quick tips I used to get my embellishments ordered, organized, and ready to go.
1. Sort by color-- I like to organize my embellishments by color. I’ve found that when designing a new project, it helps to have buttons, beads, and found objects already sorted by color so I can visualize how I might use them in a project.
2. Sort by size—I also organize large collections of items, like buttons, by size. This makes a huge difference if you have smaller buttons, as they will get often lost among the larger pieces.
3. Keep containers small and easy to sort through-- Use small containers to make it much easier to find what you’re looking for. Containers that are wider rather than deeper make it easier to quickly see items. In my studio, I use small vintage flower pots to organize scraps of trim, yarn, and bits of lace. The flower pots make an otherwise unruly pile of fibers look neat and pretty. I also wash and save glass jam jars and use these to hold buckles, beads, and sequins.
4. Display your items on shelves for easy access -- Nothing is more frustrating than not being able to access your embellishments. Dedicating a shelf or two to displaying your embellishments not only helps keep them organized, but can also add a great deal of style and color to your studio. Artfully displaying your embellishments also makes them easier to use.
5. Be flexible— Different artists use different embellishments and there is no one solution to solve storage and organization problems. If your organization method isn’t working, keep experimenting to find solutions!
How do you organize your embellishments? Any tips you’d like to share?