One of my 'problems' is while I think I know what I want to work on, my ideas often change as I get into a project. It's so frustrating when I know I have the perfect beads for the piece I'm working on; in my studio a hundred (or a thousand) miles away back home. The obvious solution is to bring LOTS of different types of beads, right? Except for the little problem that beads get heavy fast! This might not be a problem if you're traveling by car. But we were planning a two-week trip for two with minimal luggage: two suitcases total (one carryon-size), plus backpacks.
To make it a little more complex; I never know when I start whether the piece will later become a tutorial, or possibly even a kit. Just in case, I need to be able to figure out not only what beads I used, but how many of each.
Oh, and I also wanted to be able to bead wherever I was, so I wanted to bring some sort of rigid beading tray as well as my bead mat.
- Bring as many type of beads as possible
- Keep their weight and packing volume as low as possible
- Ability to track/guesstimate the amounts I used in any projects while away
- Bead storage should also serve as beading tray, protect finished projects
- Make it as easy as possible to see the beads (I just added this one!)
The Solution: Beading "Kits" and a Repurposed Beading Box
|weighing out beads|
|Compact, but jumbled|
|Kit Building Tip: put the tape on the paper, not the baggie|
|re-purposed as a beading box (thanks John!)|
That just left the question of what to do for my beading surface. The solution here was much simpler - a beautiful cigar box a friend had gifted to me. Made from an extremely light-weight wood, the box is quite slim, less than two inches tall. Opened, both sides lay almost flat. I cut Vellux beading mats to fit both the lid and the bottom. I prefer working out of the lid, as the lip is not as deep. The box holds all of my beading tools, and two-three of my beading kits or finished pieces.
|Inside the box, with stored kits & beading supplies|
|Using the lid for a beading tray and the box for storage|
|The beads that traveled with me|
|Stacked, the five kits are still smaller than most hardcover books|
So that's my current solution. What are your favorite ways to travel lightly with beads?