Organizing and caring for your metal beads is essential for an incredible crafting experience. Different metal beads, like sterling silver, gold-filled, rose gold-filled, and genuine copper beads must be appropriately stored and handled adequately before and during the crafting session. Luckily, the process is not complicated; even a beginner can learn simple methods to care for and organize metal beads.
Cleaning and Caring for Beads
Always test your cleaning method on a small sample or hidden area before committing to a full clean, whether you’re dealing with jewelry or lose beads. Different cleaning methods will affect various materials, so taking a holistic view of the item is essential rather than focusing solely on the part you intend to clean.
Copper beads and copper findings typically age quickly to a deep reddish-brown color. To achieve the “bright new penny” effect, soak the item in a solution of one tablespoon of lemon juice and two tablespoons of salt in one cup of water for a few minutes. After a quick rinse and drying, it will look as good as new.
Any piece of gold jewelry, including those made with gold-filled beads and gold-filled findings, can benefit from regular treatment with a commercial jewelry cleaner. However, like pearls, gold (especially 22-carat gold) is one of the softest metals, so it’s best to store it separately from other jewelry pieces to prevent scratching.
Cream, polish, or wax in the right shade should be used on leather items. This will restore the leather’s suppleness and prevent it from drying out and cracking. Before the leather thongs are treated for protection, the beads should be removed.
Natural oxidation causes sterling silver beads and silver findings to tarnish over time; objects with higher silver content, like sterling silver, tarnish at a slower rate. SilverwarTherefore, silverware stored in airtight
Various “scientific” products on the market are designed to remove surface dirt and grime from silver, such as anti-tarnish cloths, ultrasonic cleaners, and ionic cleaners.
High-frequency sound waves and electrically charged ions (in a specialized cleaning solution) are used in the latter two processes. Watered-down lime juice or toothpaste can be used for a more natural approach, but they should be used with caution on smooth or fine silver because they can be abrasive.
Another option is to fill a heat-safe glass bowl with hot water and a heaping teaspoon of baking powder mixed with a bit of salt and poured over aluminum foil. It would help if you used a wooden spoon or another non-metal implement to stir the mixture while keeping the silver object in close contact with the foil.
Keep going until all the tarnish is gone. However, be aware that when using any of these techniques, it is crucial to pay attention to the silver and protect the surrounding beads from harm. Cleaning cloths, for instance, can damage the AB coating on crystals, and ultrasonic cleaners can damage the luster of porous stones and pearls.
Never put on jewelry after you’ve applied any lotion, hairspray, makeup, or perfume. This includes rings, earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and watches. If you give your jewelry a quick wipe down as you take it out and put it away, you can put off a more thorough cleaning for another time.
When glass is worn against the skin or put on public display, it gradually becomes dull. Some of the more common approaches to cleaning glass beads are described below. A household glass cleaner can spray a few beads at a time gently and then wipe them off with a soft, absorbent cloth.
If you spray the cleaner on a few beads at a time, you can get them all shiny in no time. To clean beads with rubbing alcohol, follow the same steps as above, except this time, use a small cloth to apply the alcohol and then rub it over the beads until they are clean and shiny.
Use a soft, dry cloth to clean bone, ivory, and wood. Due to their porous composition, these items are susceptible to being ruined by exposure to moisture. Polishes and clear waxes for furniture may help, but you should try a small area in case they discolor the wood.
Another option that’s just as safe is to clean the beads by wiping them down with a soft cloth dampened in a solution of mild dish detergent and water, then drying them with a third cloth dampened in plain water. Keep in mind that if any moisture is left on the thread or cable after cleaning strung beads, the thread or cable could deteriorate, or the bead’s hole could become stained.
If you wear pearls against your skin, you should regularly clean them with a soft, slightly damp cloth. Use a soft cloth dampened with a mild solution of dishwashing liquid for more in-depth cleaning.
Rub the pearls gently with the wrung-out cloth, and then rinse the detergent off with another cloth dipped in clean water and wrung-out. Finally, finish by giving it a soft, dry rubdown with a clean cloth.
Pearls are organic and enjoy being moist, but you shouldn’t immerse them in water when you’re cleaning them. Because of their delicate nature, pearls should be kept in a cotton-lined box or a cloth pouch, away from rougher, harder-surfaced beads or jewelry. Since pearls enjoy a little humidity, an airtight container is not the best choice. To prevent the buildup of impurities in the drill holes, which can erode the pearls and cause permanent damage, pearls should be restrung on new silk regularly.
Cleaning plastic beads requires only water, a mild soap solution, and a sponge or cloth. Remember that abrasive cleaners will dull and cloud shiny plastic surfaces, so it’s best to avoid them.
Organizing Metal Beads (and Other Kinds of Beads)
- Use a fishing tackle box to keep your metal beads organized. Everything is exposed when you open them up.
- Make use of stackable, compartmented containers.
- Design a two-stage process that involves colors before moving on to the sizes of the metal beads. Using this method, you can more quickly locate the information you need.
- All bead types, including metal beads, should be kept in see-through containers so you can quickly identify their contents briefly. Labeling barely helps.
- Ensure a lid or a lock on the container to prevent accidental spills.
- It’s crucial to have dividers that reach the top of the box so that beads don’t move around when the container is turned.
- Make use of glass test tubes and holders. They are commonly sold at garage sales, thrift stores, and antique markets, among other venues.
- Use ice cube trays to store small quantities of beads neatly.
- Metal beads can be stored in weekly or monthly pill boxes for transport. They’re lockable, and you can use them to categorize things by hue or material neatly. These are also useful for filing away minor discoveries (clasps, crimps, jump rings, etc.).
- Beads can be kept in clear salt and pepper shakers or glass bottles, which can then be stacked like a coffee carousel.
- Use low-priced plastic spice jars to organize your metal beads. Beads are released one by one from the shaker’s top.
- The dollar store is great for finding small, clear plastic containers (1 or 2 inches in size).
- Use a plastic drawer cart to stow away containers. For example, you should separate your tools and beads into different drawers.
- You might find that your inspiration increases if you mount your bead storage containers on the wall.
- Always have a craft vacuum on hand for cleanup purposes.
- Make use of the lockable plastic Craftmates bins for your metal beads.
- Metal beads can be organized in Plano tackle boxes (purchased at a discount from the craft store) by category, color, and size. You can easily see what’s inside each one, and they are transparent.
- Make do with ice-cream containers of the 1.75-quart variety made of plastic—separate Delicas from regular seed beads, etc., with their container.
- Use unused plastic cookie jars to organize your bead collection by type and color.
- Those little bags of condiments are only fifty cents at Walmart, so it’s worth it to stock up. But first, sort the beads according to size, color, and form.
- Chalkboard paint can be used to update the look of a tired shelf. Put your bead storage containers on the shelf and label each with its contents. This prevents your desk or table from becoming overrun with paperwork.