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Topic: Quick sort spilled beads?  (Read 5349 times)
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« on: August 02, 2011 05:56:46 PM »

Do you lovely crafters have any tips on how to quickly sort spilled beads? I'm helping a woman clean her home and craft things and one of the things she has asked me to do is organize her beads. She has lots of shelves and lots of containers for the beads. My problem is several years ago someone accidentally careened into her shelves of storage containers when they didn't have lids. All of her beads were mixed up after that and because she had so many beads it would have taken her weeks to get some order, so she just threw everything into Tupperware together. Now she's used a lot of the beads that were spilled, but it's gotten to the point that she can't continue making jewelry for a business because she's so frustrated with finding the right things. I'd like to help but because she has A LOT of beads I get a little overwhelmed when I try to start sorting. So I need some tips from you guys, from people who have actually experienced beads spilling and the ensuing frustration.

Most of her beads are medium sized, slightly smaller than a pony bead, and most are in the plastic jewelry organizers. I'm not really worried about those beads. I'm most concerned with the really mixed up beads that are in mixing bowls. Those are filled with seed beads, gemstones, crystals, all sorts of common beads. I don't even know how to start sorting those.

Please help so I don't start sorting and pull all my hair out in frustration. Thanks so much!

Edited to add :She doesn't really care about sorting the seed beads. She used to dump all the beads in a large hole colander and let the seed beads fall through. That will definitely help simplify things. However, because there are so many larger beads I need tips on sorting those so I don't end up only getting a few beads put away in an hour or so.

(Similar to the bead mess, but imagine an several extra large mixing bowls full.)
« Last Edit: August 02, 2011 06:10:59 PM by anafelix » THIS ROCKS   Logged
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« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2011 06:02:46 PM »

Here's how I'd do it.

Start with a shoe box lid.

Cut out several holes about the size of the smallest bead.

Sift them through like a prospector. Then set them aside.

Cut the holes progressively larger and keep on rolling.

Good luck!

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« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2011 04:33:16 AM »

Gheghe, that is exactly what I was going to suggest, only with a plastic container (from icecream or salad or whatever) instead of a shoe box lid.
Good luck with sorting!

Im not crazy about reality, but its still the only place to get a decent meal-Groucho Marks
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« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2011 09:46:26 AM »

LOL.  I was thinking the same thing too.  Except I was going to suggest fabric with different sized holes stretched over the bowl and then shake them out.  You could just use something poky to make the holes bigger.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2011 10:47:46 AM by suereal » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2011 09:24:35 AM »

Do you have any kids? Maybe they would like to help sort the beads with you if they are not too young.

« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2011 11:41:35 AM »

These are great ideas and I'll probably just sift the beads through a large hole colander. Now I need ideas on what to do with the seed beads. I'm not going to sort all the colors out, so those will still be mixed up (which is okay with the woman I'm sorting them for). She's spilled her seed beads before and has several jars of them. I don't want to just stick another mixed jar on her shelf, so what should I make with them? They're all different colors, shades, and luster, so they look kind of terrible strung together (I tried that already).
Im not crazy about reality, but its still the only place to get a decent meal-Groucho Marks
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« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2011 02:20:33 PM »

You could cover..something.... with glue and stick the seed beads on to it.  There may even be a special glue just for that.  I seam to remember it was in fashion 10 or so years ago.  Maybe a small box or vase or a picture frame?

"People who have uncovered lifes twisted hoax find refuge in the irreverent, twisted and weird."

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« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2012 03:02:00 PM »

Does she use the seed beads as beads?  If so, does she use them random or by color spectrum?  In all seriousness, she might be better off making a donation and taking the tax deduction and buying the color spectrum over again as she needs them.  Or... find someone with OCD  (like me *sigh*) Smiley

If she uses them for beading but random color is okay, what she needs is a bead spinner.  That way they can stay in the little jars, and as she needs them, spin them onto the string. Then she can dump them back into the jar.

If she doesn't use them for beading, I second the idea of gluing them to things.  I have seen some gorgeous candle holders (glass balls coated in beads). Great light refraction! 


« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2012 04:29:59 AM »

Get an image, photo, etc from a magazine. Mount it on a sturdy backer. Get a tube of glue and start pasting various color beads within the outlines of the image borders.

A bit of a time-waster - but therapeutic  Cheesy

Only feasible way to sort the colors is "human power". A less feasible method -- buy an optical reader that can be programed to detect and sort items by color.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2012 04:32:06 AM by JewelrySupplies » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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