DIY & Crafts

Q+A: Organizing Your Craft Supplies

Canadian Living
DIY & Crafts

Q+A: Organizing Your Craft Supplies

Hello folks, It's crafty Q+A time again! Nicole V. wrote: I have very little space, and I do not have the money to buy an expensive craft organizing bag/system. Do you have any ideas for organizing that are inexpensive and that I can put into as little space as possible? And Cathy asked: I don’t like clutter. How can I keep all my craft contained in one area, when I don’t have one area? This is a big topic. Because I know that Make+Do readers are interested in a variety of crafts, I was looking for a variety of organizational solutions, so I turned to my co-workers and fellow crafters and asked them to share the ways they organize their crafting spaces. They came through in spades, offering tons of advice for those of us who are looking for affordable craft storage solutions for small spaces. Beverly Renahan is our Senior Food Editor and an accomplished crafter with lots of different projects on the go, from stained glass to needlework to sewing. Here's how she organizes her materials:
  • "Stained glass (usually bought in 1-foot squares) are stored upright with colours separated by newspaper in an old sideboard. Larger pieces are stored flat between newspapers in upper silverware drawer. Equipment and smaller pieces of leftover glass go in small cardboard boxes in lower drawer.
  • Wool and leftover fabric is stored in old trunk (which is a “bench” at the front door). Needles and hooks are in zippered cases with all sizes marked.
  • Sewing supplies (thread, needles, pins, scissors, patterns, etc.) go in a small 1-drawer-and-cupboard unit (now with a TV standing on top). Pins are kept in small plastic boxes and on magnetic pincushion; needles in original plastic containers with array of sizes; bobbins in curved bobbin storage trays; thread spools in single layer in topless gift boxes (shirt size) piled on each another."
Tina Anson Mine is our Managing Editor and quilting maven, with a newly awakened passion for all things knitting-related. She's also an organizational queen, with lots of good advice to share.
  • "I use hanging canvas shoe bags to store fabric. I took the doors off the closet in the craft room/office and have three of them hanging on one side. I sort roughly by colour, though sometimes I just group stuff together that needs to stay together (‘30s feedsack prints, batiks, my extensive collection of vegetable and fruit fabrics fat quarters that I was once obsessed with).
  • I keep small scraps separate from larger cut-able scraps in clear Rubbermaid totes on the overhead shelf in the closet. Then if I need a scrap of a certain colour or size, I can root through and find one. If I need just a tiny piece, I take a look in the small scraps bin; if I need a larger piece, I don’t bother getting distracted by the too-tiny bits I can’t use.
  • Over my cutting/sewing table, I attached two floating shelves. I pile up pin cushions and jam jars full of pins and other notions on them. I also have a bunch of tea cups from my grandmother’s china set with other notions in them. (The cups were too grubby or chipped to drink from, so they’re perfect for this.) Then, below that, I installed one of those IKEA metal kitchen rods. On it, I hung three of their plastic hanging cups (I keep more pins/tape measures/marking pencils in them) and a bunch of hooks, on which I hang my rotary cutters and scissors. This keeps them up off the table and safely away from my fingers when not in use. This is my favourite organization trick ever.
  • I hang my rotary cutting rulers on little cup hooks attached to the wall next to the craft table.
  • My craft table is my grandmother’s old kitchen table, and it has a couple of drawers (and a fabulous enamelled tin top — perfect for pinning a quilt top). In one of them, I tossed a cutlery organizer (an ugly one that didn’t fit my kitchen drawers and was destined for the garbage). I keep spare presser feet, bobbins and other sewing machine tools (e.g., the tiny screwdriver for changing the foot) in there. That way they’re always accessible when I’m in the middle of sewing. I don’t have to go hunt for them, and the organizer keeps them from getting too jumbled. It also prevents them from rattling around and possible getting damaged.
  • I also have some of those wooden IKEA mini-drawer things I keep other craft supplies in. The small stuff is perfect in those drawers – scrapbooking scissors, beading supplies, paints, cross-stitiching thread, etc....
  • For my cross-stitiching thread, I use those baggies on a metal ring devices. Each colour is in its own bag marked with the DMC number. I can keep whole skeins or small scraps in the bags, which I like much better than those bobbin things some people use to organize embroidery thread."
Lisa Fielding, one of my fellow copy editors, likes to sew and crochet – and does a mighty fine job of it. (I can't wait to show you the crocheted bow-tie she's making for her dachshund, Douglas!) Her organizational tips are short but sweet.
  • "I’ve appropriated one corner of my unfinished basement as my craft nook. I bought a cheap work table, lamp and bookshelf from Ikea, put down a rug that would have otherwise sat rolled up in a corner, and arranged things as pleasantly as I could. Since it’s out of the way of our everyday living, I can leave things a mess when I feel like it.
  • I use Gutterman thread, and I keep it in a clear plastic case (in colour sequence) hanging above my sewing machine. Means I don’t waste thread by having to cut apart a jumble of spools tangled in a drawer, and I can easily and quickly find the right colour."
Annette Waurick is the art director of Homemakers magazine, our sister publication, and is known for her beautiful handmade jewelry and handknit sweaters and accessories. She writes:
  • "For the knitting projects I am working on, I use these beautiful fabric storage containers by Jenna Rose.
  • The jewelry supplies I keep in Semikolon boxes, which don’t have any compartments in them, but look pretty and come in all different sizes and shapes."
As for me? I keep my pins and needles in recycled jam jars and my other sewing notions in old biscuit tins. My scissors and rotary cutter hang on a bulletin board over my desk. And as far as my ever-growing fabric stash is concerned... Well, that's why I love my ottoman-with-hidden-compartment so much! Phew! Nicole, Cathy, I hope this helps. As you can see, we're big into recycling, repurposing and rearranging around here, proving that you can organize it all - without spending a big chunk of change. (Of course, if you're looking for something a bit more elaborate, Martha's got your number - and a label-maker, of course. Check it out.) How do you organize your craft supplies? PS Don’t forget to leave a comment on Monday’s post for your chance to win The Unibind PhotoBook Creator Starter Kit and coupon for two free products (with free shipping) from RocketLife. This week, I’m interested in hearing about your favourite craft to take on a road trip.
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Q+A: Organizing Your Craft Supplies

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