Jewelry Tool Storage Using Inexpensive Metal Buckets

Jewelry Tool StorageVideo #388: Keeping all of your your jewelry making tools organized and easily accessible.

Topics Covered In This Video:

  • When you’re making a lot of polymer clay beads, you’re naturally going to want to make some jewelry with them. And if you’re making jewelry… you’re going to need jewelry tools… and a place to store them. I figured out a simple and cheap way that has been working very well for me for years.
  • Metal buckets from the dollar store are strong, cheap and come in lots of great colors and work perfect for storing jewelry tools.
  • Taller buckets hold tools such as files, punches, mandrels, brushes, scissors, snips, rulers, etc.
  • Shorter wider buckets work well for holding pliers (along the edges) and hammers laid in the bottom.
  • When using tall heavy tools in taller buckets, put a weight such as a large rock in the bottom of the bucket o keep it from tipping over.

Question of the Day:

How do you store your jewelry tools?

I look forward to hearing from you.

By the way, if you have a polymer clay question or challenge you’d like me to address in an upcoming video vlog, do post it in the comments below. I’d love to help you find quicker and easier ways to bring up the professionalism in your polymer clay art.

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Looking forward to hearing from you!

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor
  1. Maria C, 10 June, 2013

    Hi Cindy,
    Because I have needed to take my tools “on the road” on occasion and because I’d rather work inside my warm cozy home instead of my cold garage – studio, I keep my tools in a similar arrangement… that is, I also have them hanging on the edge – but they are off of a plastic box which fits into a sterlite type container with a carrying handle. Admittedly, this system is only for shorter instruments.. but it’s working for me,so far … You have inspired me to look into a taller container for the longer items such as hammers, etc. … thank you!

  2. Patt W, 11 June, 2013

    Good ideas. Some of my jewelry, chain maille are just thrown in a drawer. This is so much better!

  3. Dixie Ann, 11 June, 2013

    Hi Cindy, a couple of years ago I saw a wooden rack that you could hang maybe 4 pairs of jewelry pliers on. I thought it was a pretty good idea but considering I have over 15 different types of pliers, cutters etc; I needed something better and larger. I contacted my niece in Ohio and explained to her what I really could use and sent her a link to a website that had the wood rack. Three weeks later I received in the mail a beautiful fully crafted wooden rack that not only holds 15 pairs but also has a built in shelf and takes up very little space. I should explain that my neice is a woodcrafter and has built several pieces of furniture including chests, beds, tables etc;
    I was overjoyed when I received it as she had made it special for her “special Auntie”. I also found a small square heavy table at a garage sale and the owner cut the legs so it would slide right under my work table. Now when I want to pound the heck out of something I can quickly slide out my table that carries all my hammers and metal block and pound away. When I’m finished, I just slide the table back and it is tucked out of the way. Most all the other tools and “stuff” that I readily use fit in canisters and stackable drawers. I really love the drawer units you have for storing clay, but in my situation I don’t have the place to put them so I work out of one unit and the rest I store in plastic storage bins. I also do wire and metal working and machine embroidery so I have a separate area for each one of those. I love your bucket idea and am anxiously waiting to see what kinds of kits you and “Tool Girl” put together for the Jool Tool. Thanks Cindy for all these neat informative videos that keep us all creating new ideas.
    Can’t wait to see you this summer in Iowa.

  4. Sue F, 11 June, 2013

    I like to work standing up and I don’t like having too many things out, so I keep most of my tools in the drawers in the island workbench in my studio. The top (shallow) drawer has my normal clay tools, and the next (deep) drawer has wireworking and metalworking tools including my hammers and pliers. I have these plier racks but they sit in the drawer.

    When I finish adding more shelving I’m going to reorganise a bit, and the metalworking, wireworking and “assembly” area will move to the other side of the workbench. (Which is drawered-up too, luckily!)

  5. Jenee O, 12 June, 2013

    Hi Cindy, Thank you so much for offering video tutorials. I bought your beginners series a while back and have yet to start it~hopefully next week. The question I am proposing to you has to do with the materials I wish to use and buy. I just am not sure which clay is appropriate for the type of inclusions I am doing: preferably for spices and herbs> I’m researching materials and plan to buy online and want to make sure I am investing in the right ones. Do i always have to use translucent clay in order to get that lovely texture and if so which is durable and best if your trying to sell your own jewelry pieces. I know Premo and Fimo are best business wise because they are the most durable. But which one is better than the other for enhanced aromatic smelly inclusions and durability? Also, i know you can mix clays to get a personalized shade of color and i heard people mix two different kinds like Premo and Sculpey…Can you mix Premo and Fimo clays? And if that’s not a popular way which way is, especially for durability and the type of clay that enhances aromatic inclusions. And finally! I know that you experimented with aromatic inclusions awhile back…Did you ever put essential oils- say for instance rosemary-and then condition IN that same herb(in chunky herb or powder form) to make the product even more aromatic? Sorry for so many questions, but I’m buying all these materials for experimentation and all information on smelly inclusions and durable clays would be of most appreciative help! Thank you so much :)

  6. Cindy Lietz, 17 June, 2013

    Hi Jenee,

    As far as using translucent with inclusions, it is the best because it is slightly transparent and you are better able to see the inclusions in the clay. I prefer the brand Premo Sculpey and my favorite Translucent color is White Translucent aka Frost. You can however use other more opaque colors to add your inclusions in, if you prefer. You are going to have to experiment a little, to see what looks the nicest to you.

    Both Fimo and Premo are good durable brands. But if you are going to be following my tutorials, I would stick to Premo since it is the brand that I use and my instructions will be based on using Premo. Each brand acts a little different and has different colors in their lines. All my color recipes (except for a few of the very old ones) are also based on Premo, so if you want to use those, you’ll want to take that into consideration when choosing brands.

    When it comes to using aromatic oils in polymer, there is some information here on the blog about this… type the words ‘scented’ into the search box at the top of the page and you should find some articles that will help you there.

    You will find that most of the information you will need to work with polymer clay, can be found here at the blog, through my tutorials and through your own experimentation. It would be impossible to pre-plan everything in advance. So what you will need to do, is buy a few supplies, like I recommended in the beginners course, and just get started. Once you get the ball rolling, you will be able to determine what more you will need, in order to make what it is that you want to make.

    Get involved by reading the blog articles and comment threads. You will find the community we have here to be extremely friendly and supportive.

    Good luck!


  7. Tantesherry, 18 June, 2013

    hi Jenne
    I made some ‘coffee’ beads that sold like hot cakes (why do people say that?LOL) using premo frost and instant coffee:) that was a fun tech and it was also cool to see everyone smelling the beads
    Have fun here it’s a great resource for old and new clayers

    btw – gotta ask is that your kitty? love that photo!!!

  8. Cheyrl B, 14 June, 2013

    I use something similar but it has 2 tall sections on either end and a short section in the middle it is made from plexi and I have no idea where it came from but the tall ends hold my tall tools and the short center ” wall ” in the front is perfect for hanging my jewelery tools. as to the tall buckets I buy the bags of stones from the dollar store, leave them in the net bags and put them in the bottom to keep them from falling over. They also work for leveling a plant pot in a larger holder such as a fruit bowl or in a small footed plant stand.

    Cindy I was wondering if you would do a tutorial on how to use all the neat stuff that comes in the wilton student fondant kit. I got mine out yesterday and have no idea what most of the things are for and it has no instruction or identifier booklet telling me what the things are from which I could then figure it out for myself, I feel that there is so much wasted opportunity there because of my ignorance.Don’t get me wrong I will experiment, after all clay is so forgiving but it would be nice to know the proper use of the items in the kit.

  9. Cindy Lietz, 17 June, 2013

    Hi Cheyrl, Those are neat tools in the Wilton tool kit aren’t they! We have used several of them in the various tutorials. Here are a few off the top of my head:

    We used the cone shaped tool for making the Bead Cone Tutorial.

    The round ball tools were used in the Sweet Pea Tutorial.

    The veining tool in the Daisy Flower Tutorial.

    There are other tutes using the tools but I’d have to go through them to all remember. Have you done these tutorials yet? They should keep you busy for a while!

    If anyone else has any favorites, please do let Cheyrl know about them too. Thanks.

  10. Cheyrl B, 17 June, 2013

    HI Cindy,
    Yep, been there done them, but there are a couple of things in there that I just can’t figure out what they are for.I like to utilize everything at my disposal to keep things interesting and add variety to ordinary pieces. I keep tootling around with them since even if I don’t know what they are exactly for I will find out what else they be used for.

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