Materials for crafts can take up a lot of room, it is best to have an organized system so you can find what you want when you want it. This is a guide about organizing craft supplies.
Read and rate the best solutions below by giving them a "thumbs up".
If you're in the process of making a lot of crafts, keep a lidded storage box nearby to drop things in when you're finishing them or if you have to stop for some reason, then your things can just be covered and set aside with no fear of losing anything.
By Lisa T
I got this wonderful wire rack for $.25 for each panel, and $.10 for each connector. Once together, I thought of a way to hang zip lock bags for craft supplies so I can see what is in them. I got a medium binder clip and hung it through the cross wires and it works perfectly! You could do the same for other things like office supplies, pet supplies, or even food. If you have one of these wonderful shelf units, give this a try. I hope this helps keep you organized!
By Poor But Proud from Sweet Home, OR
As you all know, I am a crafter. I also live in what some would consider, me included, a very small apartment. It's less than 620 square feet, which is my daughter's living room and kitchen!
When I moved in, I had a storage unit I could manage and it made life a little less crowded, if not less convenient. Then outflow increased and income did not, and I gave up the unit. My mom used to (more colorfully) say that someone was trying to put 3 lbs. of "poop" in a 2 lb. bag. That was me. When the unit was 10x10 feet, your apartment is not big enough for that much extra stuff. Plus, now the bedroom was not only the bedroom and office, but a craft room. Yeah, it was shades of madness in pretty purples and greens!
Something had to change. So, since I have plans to do a lot more on my computer in 2012, I decided to make the living and dining area into the craft room and office. I don't entertain that much and can't put more than 2 other people in here without bumping elbows, so why not? The cat still gets to look out the window everyday and I actually have a little room. Wonder how I did it? Well, sit back and enjoy - or be warned, I am not sure which!
Since I didn't have a way to set things out of the way when I needed to move things out, it took almost two months. I can only do so much per day with my disabilities. I promised myself that I would work for 40 minutes and rest for 20, and each day not work more than 8 hours. I offset that rule by working my tail off for a day or two then taking one off. This was not the promise, but what drove me was the need to stop walking over boxes and the fact that I couldn't make anything until it was done.
So, the first thing I had to do was move the furniture that was in the living room to the bedroom. I had shelving in there that I had to move out first, so you can see where this is going. Swapping stuff when you would literally have to set things outside to get anything done is never fun. I sold one chair, left the bed in the bedroom, but had to swap the TV/DVR and the computer, printer, entertainment center and desks literally piece by piece.
The white wicker cabinet came out here, the rocker went in there. I gutted the closet, hung the clothes back up and literally put everything that wasn't going to fit on my walls or shelves in boxes and stacked them on one side of the closet. I have a small three drawer unit in there that has a few clothes and the rest is yarn. All the yarn (more susceptible to cat hair) that I can't fit in the new craft room is in that closet, as you can see. There are boxes of yarn under the clothes you can't even see.
With the white plastic shelving assembled, they went up really fast. Then, finding the right tubs and crafts to fit in them was easy. I shop at the local "As Is" store, so getting things by the pound is a great way to shop.
The white folding tables are perfect, as they fold down when you don't need them. I had one fold up table for stereo, stationary, and a desk top calendar to keep my life organized. That is where I now start the day with drink of choice and make sure I am still on point. The other, which I use for a work table for gluing, painting, and all smaller projects, I got in an abandoned apartment, along with my sewing machine, two lamps, a boom box with cassette and CD player, an office chair and two smaller shelf units.
Sometimes you can find clear shoe boxes for $.25 each and they stack with a groove in the bottom that fits the groove in the tops so they "interlock". I use the zippered bedding bags as much as I can, as it's "Cornelius" proof, I can see into it and it's light weight.
My shoe rack that is now for yardage was just $1.00. The two filing cabinets were $5.00 each, and the sewing table is the hot water heater door (submitted earlier). I use every single available space. Even the cat's "perch" is a tub of yarn with a glass door from a junked out entertainment center. If he slides off his blanket, he can see the yarn but can't get to it. So my room often has free entertainment as well!
I left most of the pretty scenery puzzles and posters so I could be inspired by beautiful things. It's also to remind me that if I am lucky, I will make enough to get my RV and travel to some of those places again and some for the first time.
As you will see by the before and after photos, this project was a challenge. Every night when I had to walk a path to the bedroom, I kept saying "this is only temporary". Now I have my Etsy store and am making things every day, so it was all worth it.
Some of you might wonder why it's a frugal essay. Well, the entire process took me just $15.00 to do and considering that was two file cabinets, a shoe rack, shoe boxes, and extension cords - that's not too shabby!
By Sandi from Salem, OR
I have all sorts of tiny crafting materials (wiggle eyes, acrylic jewels, needles, beads, etc) and not a lot of space to store them, we live full time in our camper. I tried looking for storage boxes but the compartments were either too small or too large for most of the materials. Then I found some unique alternatives that were a perfect fit.
If you are as unfortunate as I am in the health arena and find yourself taking many medications, use your old medicine bottles to hold some materials.
If you suffer from diabetes and test your blood sugar using test strips that come in a vial (rather than a drum or disc), use the empty vials to hold crafting accessories.
Or, if you still use camera film, use the empty film cases to hold the supplies that boxes don't work for.
In the end, I also have the option of keeping them in different craft bags instead of trying to fit a larger box into a space and having to take the whole box out when I only need one type of supply at a time.
I used a small old garden fence to organize my craft desk. I attached hooks and used wires to attach items. I also used small flower pots to store tiny tid bits. I strung my ribbons on a strip of leather and hung that above the fence.
By wyoKrista from Laramie, WY
I use fishing tackle boxes from Walmart or Kmart to store craft supplies or sewing notions like threads, buttons, needles, beads, etc. I also use one box for kids art supplies like crayons, pencils, markers, erasers, etc. They have adjustable plastic dividers that can be fixed to the size of the item you need to store. I store my earrings and jewelery in one and makeup accessories in another. These boxes have handles to carry them around easily and also stack well for easy storage.
By Rayma from Edison, NJ
I use the containers from 35mm film to store my yarn needles in. That way they are handy and I don't lose them anymore.
By Gretchen from Decatur, IN
I took a wall shelf and drilled holes in which to place my glue guns. The size of the hole depends on the size of each glue gun. I used a round door knob bit; they come in different sizes. I love mine.
By Patricia G from Brewton, AL
To keep my craft papers handy, I use clipboards. I can also hang the clipboard on a pegboard with an S hook. Everything is right at my fingertips.
By Georgetta from Waterloo, IA
Busy moms, this is a dream come true. I am a teacher and also a mother of a 5 year old who loves crafting. As I am a crafter as well, I am always looking for fun, fast, easy ways for us to do a craft or my students to do a craft without spending so much time setting up and cleaning up and having more time for fun. It hit me in my class one day to put all the materials needed, right down to the glue and scissors in individual bags that are labeled and ready to go at a moment's notice. Each bag includes paper towels for messes and paper plates to work on and to let the craft dry on as well. If you are gathering the materials anyway, it is just one more step to stuff them into Ziplocs.
I even do it at home now so when my daughter and her friends want to make a craft. I can pull out some baggies and away they go with little or no help from me. I love it too for my crafts. I put mine in totes because they are larger but I can grab a tote and craft away.
Yes, you do end up buying multiples of things like scissors and glue but who can't use more of those? I get mine at the dollar store so it doesn't break the bank and re-use any left-overs for another craft bag. I have even started giving them as gifts and other moms love them!
By Stacy from VA
I have really gotten into sewing purses in the last year or so. I use a lot of the Barbara Randle crazy quilting patterns. They call for a lot of embellishments. Just like having a fabric stash, I have a stash of various embellishments. Here are some storage ideas for these items.
I keep fancy yarns and the furry beaded trims in plastic stackable boxes or drawers. Any beaded fringe, I separate into the proper size zip lock bag and keep them in a plastic shoe box (that way they won't get tangled up with each other and can easily be seen). Once I have cut my strips of fabric for a purse, I place the strips in one of those plastic meat trays with the high sides so everything is in one location while I'm putting the purse together.
By Judy from Birmingham, Al
Approximate Time: 1 hour + drying time
Paint the lids different colors, let dry completely.
After the jars lids are dried, use paint pen to label top of jars. Let everything dry completely.
Spray a coat or two of polyurethane on them. When poly dries, put things like tacks, paper clips, rubber bands, etc in them. Mix and match the lids.
By Sherry from Onset, MA
Lids of jars work well to hold beads, straight pins, sequins, etc. I especially like the lids from peanut butter jars.
By CDC from FL
The plastic zipper bags that bedding comes in are wonderful in the craft room!
I have filled a couple of these already just from junk mail papers I have gone through, sorted, and trimmed of text. I have an awesome collection of paper all neatly tucked away and can be stacked :) Ya never know.
I use Ziploc bags to organize my arts and crafts. I put my stickers, ribbon, scissors, markers, tape, and glue in the bags. You can even label them and a box of Ziploc bags doesn't cost that much if you buy a box at a dollar store.
Keep your craft room organized with this over-the-door hanger made for shoes. It's perfect for keeping sharp things up high away from small hands. It also separates items nicely, and this one is clear so I can easily see where my items are located. It also saves a lot of space and is a less expensive version than a piece of furniture.
By Ci Ci from Yakima, WA
This is just a simple suggesstion for anyone who creates crafts or does art projects. Materials add up quickly and can get scattered about!
I bought an old picnic basket at a garage sale, added some wide Velcro to the top (on the inside-see photo ) and put all my supplies in it for easy transport to art classes I attend.
The Velcro on the top door of the basket holds some of my smaller brushes, but this idea could easily be used for crafters, woodcarvers, or even a children's rainy day creativity basket!
Sometimes I embellish my knitting with small glass seed beads. I keep them tidy and easy to find by storing them in an old spinning spice rack with glass bottles that I bought at the second hand thrift shop for 50 cents :)
By Leseera from NSW, Australia
I don't have a sewing/craft room, however I do sew and craft a lot so I have one of those plastic drawer organizers and use plastic zip lock bags to organize my stuff. It works great, I can see what's in the bags easily.
By Mary from Conroe, TX
Because I am a crafter, I am always needing hangers. Most of them I got when my tenants would leave behind stuff, and I scarfed them up like they were gold. My line of vest, still in the making, will soon fill most if not all of these.
But, even with a 6 by 6 foot walk in closet, my clothes take up one side and the vests half made take up the other. So, I got a $.97 curtain rod and nailed one side to the wall, hanging the other side on the shower rod. I now have hangers that are out of the way, and if they get a little wet, no worries.
You might want to try this if you are hanging up hand washed clothes, craft projects, or whatever you need a little more room for.
Hope this helps.
By Sandi from Salem, OR
I make handmade jewelry. Whenever I am doing a show, I will carry my tools, extra findings, and some beads with me. I found the perfect carryall. I use a fishing tackle box. I brought the large one to fit my needs. It also has removable walls inside to make the slots smaller or bigger. It is the perfect size for me to carry around.
By Georgetta from Waterloo, IA
By Gem from VA
I am an avid crocheter and I like to have my patterns, hooks, and different color yarns that I'm working with handy. I found the perfect caddy. I bought these clothes hampers at Ikea for around $4.00. I have room for all my goodies and it sits at just the right level next to my recliner. I bought more than one, in case this one wears out.
By Kathy from Chesaning, MI
Crafting can be a wonderful hobby, but you need so many different things to use. People often mistake crafters for hoarders. In order to try to keep some of my smaller items organized, my husband put up shelves and I used my collection of baby wipe boxes for holding different items. These are the wipe boxes that the lid completely removes. I lay the lid under the box of items and they are all lined up on the shelf. You can see what is in each box and if it is something that I need to protect from dust, I just put the top on it. I can label the boxes if I want or leave them as they are. It is really nice to be able to find things in a hurry that would normally mean digging through boxes.
By maphisx7 from Gordonsville, VA
I keep several small bottles of of acrylic paint on my shelf in a box made from an empty Bisquick box. To save time, I open the bottles of paint and, using my finger, dab a little paint on the top of each bottle. Now, at a glance, I can see what colors I have.
By Liz from Dodson Prairie, TX
Put loose pins and needles in washed pill bottles or mint containers.
Roll leftover yarn on paper-towel rolls.
By Anne A. from Fernley, NV
Use a small piece of styrofoam to keep your needles and small scissors in.
If you need more space and have no place to hang shelves you can hang open-backed shelves in front of your windows. In the kitchen, this is a great place to store colored glass ware (like depression or cobalt glass) because the sun looks great shining through the glass. And in a craft room you can put clear plastic shoe boxes with your crafts inside. Just remember to never store fabric or things that can absorb moisture on a window shelf, but window shelves are a great place to store your pottery, dishes and glasses!
By Poor But Proud from Sweet Home, OR
When sewing or crafting, use your bird stand for a roll-around table, to hold your supplies. You can easily wheel it around from place to place where you are working, without having to transfer all your supplies from one place to the other.
By one.of.a.kind from AL
Use a metal dowel mounted on the wall in brackets to store craft ribbon and lace. A metal dowel works better than a wooden dowel at keeping them straight. For loose ribbon and lace, store in clear candy jars on a shelf or table.
Source: The DIY Dish
By duckie-do from Cortez, CO
I buy mis-matched toothbrush holders in "my colors" at my thrift store and use them to store my paint brushes in while I'm creating. This holds the brushes apart so there's no mess and they are ready and waiting for me to grab when I'm ready for the next color.
Go to your local Salvage company and get yourself some big shutters or some old bi-fold doors. Get some big hinges to hinge them together. Paint the doors or shutters a color that will compliment your room. You now have a screen to section off your craft area. Now clean out that clutter corner.
Find a small table, the size depending on your space. Try to make it large enough for a comfy chair if you can. Crocheters and knitters will appreciate having a chair. Above your table install a few hanging cork bulletin boards. These are to hang directions on. If you have room, hang a magnetic tool holder or you can get a magnetic knife holder on the net. These will hold scissors, crochet hooks, beading tools, or any thing with a metal base.
Now find yourself 3 fruit boxes that are the same size. You can get these when the produce man re-stocks at the local grocery. You want the tops to the boxes. Put the top on the bottom of the box so that you have a double strength box. With double sided carpet tape, tape all three boxes together. Cover with Contact paper or Spray Paint. Make as many of these as you will need to store your supplies. These can be stacked or put under your table, they also could be used next to your chair for a handy table. Depending on wall space you could hang some shelves.
Now decorate your little space. Pictures can be hung on your screen as long as they are not too heavy. Throw a pillow in your chair and don't forget get a radio or boom box for some mood music. And if you have kids make a cute "Keep out" or "Only girls allowed" sign. Have fun. It's your space.
By Debra in Colorado
Also I got 3 baskets and nailed them to the wall in the corner at different levels with openings facing out. I store a lot of my material in them and they look as if they are decorations. I have a table, serger and sewing machine. I also love to stamp, make cards and quilt.
By K. Smith
Feel free to post your ideas for a creating a craft foom below!
A shot glass is the perfect storage for craft or other glue bottles that are less than half full. Because of the width and depth of the shot glass, a glue bottle placed upside down will sit on the rim of the glass and the tip of the glue bottle will not touch the bottom of the glass. Therefore, when you need to use the glue, it will be at the top of the bottle and come out easily.
For projects needing several spots of glue, the bottle can even be placed back into the shot glass without replacing the lid. If a small amount of glue happens to drip into the glass, simply wash it out.
By Marie from West Dundee, IL
I do my knitting, crocheting, beading, etc. while watching TV. I usually had to get up many times to find tools or supplies. I brought in a weather beaten plastic table from the yard after I spray painted it burgundy. Then a friend came to lunch and brought me some fabric she didn't want. I knew immediately what to do with it.
I made this organizer in a couple of hours using her fabric, my spray painted table and odds and ends of bias tape I had accumulated. Just measure the top and add an inch. Then measure the sides, cut your fabric (I tore mine), add pockets to the sides, sew the sides to the top and store your crafting tools. I love mine.
Source: My very own idea
By Gailya from Lillington, NC
I took a fishing tackle box (discarded by dad) and turned it into a craft box for my boys. I put in crayons, colored pencils, tape, glue, regular pencils. and some glitter, etc. Now when the boys want to be creative they can go get the craft box and have fun.
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Here are questions related to Organizing Craft Supplies.
I am looking for inexpensive or very cheap ways to store my yarns and paper craft items. I really want to get things organized by colour and theme, but I am stumped as to how to get it done without blowing my budget. Any ideas?
I'm working on organizing my studio now, myself, so I completely understand the need to keep costs down. "Studio" is code for the room overstuffed with all of the "junk" that I have collected for all of the projects for the creative days that come, but I fear I will never have the time.
I use manila folders for similar scrapbook papers and paste a swatch on the tab for easy recognition. My small items like beads and buttons or ribbon and string scraps I store in small glass fishbowl type jars that I can easily stack as a lid for each one below.
The small plastic containers mentioned by another poster come in all kinds of types and colors if you want use color coding are now available for a dollar at the everything for just a buck type stores. Those stores have been a life saver for me when it comes to small storage and other items when it's not going to be subjected to everyday wear and tear. I've even used the space bags for larger pieces of material and yarn that I don't plan to use for a while.
Hanging shoe bags with the small, flatter type pockets work well for scissors and tools. Any instructions, examples, designs, or ideas that I have collected or scribbled myself, I put in a binder with plastic protectors until something becomes higher priority, at which time I scan it. When it is saved to my computer, I index it under any information that I can think of so that I can find it later when I kinda know what I'm looking for, but not completely.
I hope my seemingly endless dribble helps. I have more ideas than I have energy or time, so organization is very important. Almost any crafting magazine, no matter what type of craft it is about, will offer ideas on their website if you signup for free on-line newsletters and forums without a subscription.
Thrifty Fun has been around so long that many of our pages have been reset several times. Archives are older versions of the page and the feedback that was provided then.
The best way that I have found to organize craft items is to reuse things I already have. Why bother going to the craft store and buying expensive containers when you may have something similar at home? Glass jars from store bought sauces or baby food hold a multitude of odds and ends, an old spice carousal works great for beads and buttons, and clean empty childproof pill bottles are great for keeping young kids away from needles and other small items. Crystal Light canisters, coffee cans, oatmeal containers, and ice cream buckets are all great containers with lids that keep craft items neat and out of sight. All of these items can even look pretty set out on a craft table with the addition of some paint or decorative paper to cover up any store labels.
By Tracey from Duluth, MN
I like the plastic containers for Gerber baby food. they are see-through, stackable, with snap-on lids that don't come off. I use them for stones, beads, bobbins, buttons, and straight pins. They are good for paint cups, too.
If you don't have a baby, remember these are just-right-sized portions of pureed veggies and fruits. Anyone can enjoy them with a meal or as a snack. Since I am a diabetic, I like the convenience, labeling and ready-to-go features.
I use the large-sized bottles of Ocean Spray Lite Cranberry Juice with handles to store dog kibble and Cascade dishwashing detergent. This way, they are easy to pour and waterproof. In fact, for everyday use of Cascade, I use a smaller recycled plastic container with a small pour spout, since it is easier to hold and pouring is more exact.
The Renizit Super Odor Neutralizer pump spray bottle is good for isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol, bleach and plain water. I print up labels on my computer using the Word label program.
I use the Pringles' containers for scissors, paint brushes, tools (I am tool junkie), and anything tall or long.
If you can't figure out how to make these containers attractive or look like a matched set, please don't call yourself a crafter. hahahahaha (06/04/2007)
By the Oracle
Foldout fishing tackle boxes make great storage boxes for craft supplies and projects. You don't have to search for paint brushes or other items, and you can easily transport your supplies.
Source: My own idea
By Momof1 from Wilkesboro, NC
I keep my paper for scrapbooking and making cards in those plastic scrapping envelopes and on the bookcase also.
I have 2 five drawer storage containers with wheels. This is where I keep my stamps, paper, inks, material, pins, needles, You get the drift. I love my craft space.
Oops, I forgot to say you need four, 2 foot pieces of wood to put up on the wall and then nail the peg board to the wood. That way there is room for the hook to go into. If you don't do that the hook would only hit the wall. Cost of the cheapest wood for 48" is under $2.00 They will also cut it for you in 2 foot sizes.
Post your ideas below!
Milkjugs? Cut the bottom off any size you like . mark what you put inside them and they stack. You can even stack bottoms of soda bottles in much the same way. If you paint or paste old magazine pictures on them as a camouflage.
If we were to really sit down and think about it. There are many reuses to almost everything. I love yours and keep up inventing new ones
REUSE SAVES MONEY AND THE PLANET (10/26/2007)
By Mr. Thrifty