Studio Sunday: Quick Ways to Store & Organize Wire

Welcome to my studio! Or rather, welcome to my last studio before I slipped into semi-jewelry retirement to work here at Interweave. One of the challenges I always faced in my studio was finding ways to keep all my wire organized. So, naturally over the years, I tried a few different methods of organizing wire.

Learn from me what works and what doesn’t work then whip your studio into shape for quick and efficient wire-working time!

Quick Ways to Organize

Studio Sunday: Quick Ways to Organize & Store Your Wire

Look at sewing tools with new eyes and keep your small spools of wire tidy.

I’m the kind of girl who likes to have one of every color and size when it comes to just about everything, including wire. So I’ve accumulated many spools in a range of colors and gauges and I’ve found they are easily organized on this handy sewing tool. Shown above, this tool is typically used to hold spools of thread, but as you can see it also works great for wire spools as well. This gets your wire off your work surface and gathered together into in one convenient spot. I suggest organizing each gauge of wire on a single row and keeping the spools in a pleasing color order.

Studio Sunday: Quick Ways to Organize & Store Your Wire

Save time and money with big spools of wire.

If you don’t need one of every color, going with BIG spools of wire is a great way to save time, money, and space in the studio. These giant spools of anodized copper wires hold over 200ft of wire each and take the place of about a dozen of the smaller spools.

It’s Not Just For Paper

Shown below is something not to do with spools, along with something that works well will large quantities of wire. To the left you’ll notice those little baskets with lots of jumbled spools of wire. That’s what not to do. You’ll forever be digging in the bin trying to find the color and gauge you need.

Studio Sunday: Quick Ways to Organize & Store Your Wire

Don’t pile your wire in baskets (left), do keep larger quantities of wire stored in convenient scrapbooking shelves (right).

When you graduate from small spools of wire and start purchasing long lengths of sterling silver or other precious metals, they often come in large flat spools. They’re tied simply with scrap wire or rubber bands and usually have a hangtag that identifies what they are. I’ve found a couple of ways to keep these organized to quickly find what I need.

First, each flat spool is put in a clear, plastic file folder. The folder is labeled with marker to say 16 GAUGE STERLING or 20 GAUGE FINE SILVER. Then, I slide each folder into the inexpensive scrapbooking shelves you see above. Scrapbookers use these shelves to organize papers and they’re the perfect size for standard folders too. Each shelf is for a particular gauge going from fine gauge at the top to heavy gauge at the bottom. Looking for a 20g wire? I just grab the folders on the 20g shelf, flip through quickly to grab the metal I need, and pop the rest back on the shelf.

Studio Sunday: Quick Ways to Organize & Store Your Wire

Take your wire organization on the road with an accordion folder.

Hitting the Road

Sometimes you want to get out of your studio and take your jewelry making on the road. When I travel to events like Bead Fest, I want to stay organized, but don’t want to take up a lot of space in my travel bag. I’ve found accordion folders to be a great solution! Accordion folders are mini file folders that can keep flat spools organized in the same way the scrapbooking shelves do. I like to keep like metals together. So 22, 20, 18, and 16 gauge sterling silver wires are in the front of my folder, while silver-filled are kept towards the back.

These are just a few of the ways I’ve found success organizing wire.

Do you have a unique way of keeping your spools and gauges sorted? Feel free to share in the comments below! We’d love to hear what works for you.

-Kerry Bogert
Editorial Director, Books


Looking for some wire inspiration? Check out these great wire working books!

 

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