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How to Organize Embellishments

As a professional scrapbook artist, paper crafter, and author, I have taught people how to turn family memories into legacies for 20 years.


What Are Embellishments?

Embellishments are any kind of decorative piece that you can use on a scrapbook page, card, journal, or any other papercraft item. They are those little pieces of wonder that make us the creative force that we are. They can either be items that we purchase or make. They can be shapes, brads, ribbons, plastic, buttons, corners, die-cut pieces, etc.

They can be made of paper, metal, ribbon, cardboard, and more. Think of them as anything that you add to the base of anything to make it pretty

We all love our bling, that is for sure. But the challenge is how to keep all that bling organized. Because there are so many fun little embellishments that we absolutely have to have. The colors and textures appeal to us on every level.

The challenge is how to store them! The first thing to understand is that getting all of these organized can be a challenge. The reward of getting the job done is that you will spend less time and energy once you do it.

There is no one system that fits everyone. the process is finding the best one that fits your needs. You consider the space you have and the budget that you can work with to finish the task at hand.

Signs That You Need To Organize Your Embellishments

If You Fit This Profile, You Know It's Time To Get Organized !

I know that before I tackled this project, I had a pretty disorganized craft room. I mean it was a mess. Once I tackled the main parts of the room, I started getting all the side projects done. One of them was what to do with the odds and ends of my vast collection of embellishments. I was constantly looking for that one piece that I knew would make my projects perfect. So frustrating when I could not find what I was looking for ! And more than that, I had my embellishments in so many different places. Ugh!

So my question for you is.......

  1. "Do you find that you know that you have something you want to add to a project, but just can't put your finger on it?
  2. "Do you find yourself buying something, only to go home and find that you already had it?"
  3. "Do you find yourself searching for just the right touch for a project more than 5 minutes?"
  4. "Do you have a box filled with leftovers sitting around?'
  5. "Are you sometimes frustrated looking for stuff that you know you have?"
  6. Has your husband ever entered your craft room and found one of your embellishments with his bare foot?

Well, if you can answer yes to one or more of these questions, it might be time to get all your embellishments organized once and for all !

Some folks like to store their embellishments in decorative jars

Some folks like to store their embellishments in decorative jars

Storing Embellishments-Getting Started

The quick answer is there is no single best storage system. The best one is the one that will work for you and your craft space.

Be flexible. It might take a few tries to get it right. What works for one may not be the logical solution for another.

Some folks tend to think in colors. So for you, organizing in colors might be the perfect solution. I use a scraprack by colors and themes. No, when I am working in a specific color, everything is in that color range is right there.

Everyone thinks differently about their creative process. I tend to think in categories. I like to have all my brads in one location. But lots of people think in colors and like to be able to go to a location where they can find everything that is blue. It doesn't matter how you set it up. Choose whatever works for you. I actually use a combination storage system. I have brads in one location and then I store them by size and color. That's what works best for me.

So to start with, think about how you see your embellishments. In other words, how do you want to store them?

  1. By Color-Do you do your papercraft by color. Sorting your embellishments by color makes sense. If you are looking for something red, all the red embellishments are sorted and you can go to that color. That way, you can decide what to use by color.
  2. By Type- This is another option that saves you time and frustration. All of your buttons are together, all your gems, etc. So if you are looking for something you can find it by what it is.
  3. By Theme -There are multiple options when it comes to theme. You customize this idea as you need. You can use holidays, seasons, events. You store your embellishments customized to what you have.

So the first step in getting your embellishments stored is to decide which method you are going to use.

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Storage containers with multiple sections are an efficient way to store embellishments. You can do them by color or product type. They can be stacked on a shelf or stored in a draw

Storage containers with multiple sections are an efficient way to store embellishments. You can do them by color or product type. They can be stacked on a shelf or stored in a draw

Step Two- Deciding The Space You Have

Now it is time to decide where you are going to store these embellishments. Rather than spreading them all over your craft space, you need to have a dedicated space for your embellishments.

That way, no matter what type of organization you chose, you will have everything in one space. If you do not have a dedicated craft space, consider using a large box with multiple storage spaces in it.

If you have a dedicated craft space, you may need to rearrange things a bit so that all of your embellishments are on the same location.

Every Crafter Needs A Label Maker - Wouldn't Be Without it

A label maker makes your crafty life so much easier. This is a must have tool for every crafter. The unit doesn't cost much and you will use it for years to come. Not only can you label all your containers, but you can also make titles and sayings for your scrapbook pages and cards. I keep mine handy in a drawer in my desk.

It is important to label your embellishments as you sort them out. If you don't have a label maker, you can type labels out on your computer and tape them on your containers. You may want to make labels for both the top and side of your container.

The Label Maker That Every Crafter Needs

Storing Ribbon

Ribbon is a common embellishment used on cards and paper crafts, With a hook and eye, some plastic link and some dowels, you can store it all in one place.

Ribbon is a common embellishment used on cards and paper crafts, With a hook and eye, some plastic link and some dowels, you can store it all in one place.

More Ribbon Storage Ideas

Stacked Containers On A Shelf

Stacking containers on a bookshelf or in a closet is an easy way to get all your embellishments organized

Stacking containers on a bookshelf or in a closet is an easy way to get all your embellishments organized

Step Three-Gather What You Have In One Location

This was a big enough project for me! I have a dedicated craft room. And I must admit my stuff was all over the place. So I went here and there and everywhere gathering everything I could find.

The first thing I found was that I had more "stuff " than I realized. The second thing was that I had duplicates of things because I did not know what I had. Place them in one location. Discard any broken pieces or things that you know you will not use in the future.

So, this is the moment of revelation for you. Gather, all your embellishments no matter where you have them. Look in all the nooks and crannies to find everything. That would include:

  • Brads
  • Buttons
  • Crystals
  • Eyelets
  • Flowers
  • Metal Hardware
  • Photo Corners
  • Ribbons
  • Rhinestones and Gems
  • Stickers
  • Thread

Grab them and lay them out on a desk. on a bed, or even on a sheet on a floor, Start operating them in the color, type, or theme that you have decided. Until you have the container that you need, place them in zip lock bags labeled with what they are. You have taken a hige step in getting your organizing done.

Organizing Paper Embellishments

A binder is the perfect way to store paper embellishments

A binder is the perfect way to store paper embellishments

Binder Storage-Another Option

Rather than containers, you can use a binder system to store your embellishments. There are special craft binders that you can purchase. You can also use scrapbooks or loose-leaf binders.

If you use a scrapbook size binder or a scrapbook-sized binder, you can use the scrap rack pages to separate your embellishments. These are plastic pages that have pockets where you can place your embellishments.

You can also use page protectors and tabbed deviders. Easy on the budget.

You can still separate by the type of storage that you have decided on.

These can then be stored on a shelf.

Containers That You Can Use-You May Have These In Your Home

There are quite a few things that you may have around your home that will help you get organized. Think outside of the box, so to speak, and you will save yourself some cash and frustration,

Tip-No matter what containers you decide to use, try to keep them in the same area or space. Keeping them together will make your crafting much more fun

  • Glass or plastic jars
  • Zip lock bags in different sizes
  • Spice jars and racks
  • Lazy Susans
  • Peg boards with hanging bins
  • Tackle or tool boxes
  • Plastic pill containers
  • Pill organizers
  • Multi draw chests.

Craft Storing-Embellishments

Brads And Eyelets

There are two types of options to consider for these small embellishments.

One of the most popular options is a multi sectioned plastic container. You can store by size, shape or color.

Again in my case, I use a scraprack, so my eyelets are sorted by color and size. They are then placed by color in the correct section.

Button Storage Solution

You have to love this button storage idea. Recycled pill bottles would work also

You have to love this button storage idea. Recycled pill bottles would work also


How you store buttons depends on how large your collection is.

If you have a large collection, you may want them to store them in glass jars by color.Some folks like to display their collection if there is space.

Others like to store them in smaller jars in baskets.

I store mine in a photo box sorted by colors in plastic bags.

You can also use a plastic compartment container as well.

Sequin, Rhinestone And Gem Storage

Here are some ideas to store those tiny embellishments

Here are some ideas to store those tiny embellishments

Rhinestones And Gems

Rhinestones and gems can be a little more challenging than most embellishments.

The best trick is to try to keep them in their original packaging. Especially when they are on acetate cards. That way they will not get any scratches or damage.

You might consider putting them in a basket, sorted by color or size.

More Embellishment Storage Ideas

Recycled Embellishment Storage Ideas

Look around you in your home and you may find lots of storage solutions right in your home for your embellishments. I save prescription bottles.(Always wash the inside and remove the labels).

1.Baby food jars are great to store buttons and small items.

2.I never throw away Altoid tins. They are another great storage item. Plus decorating them is fun.

3.Ziplock bags make perfect storage units for all your embellishments. I use the little snack bags for small items, I use the quart bags for larger collections.

4. Spice racks are perfect with their little jars. If you find one that spins, all the better

5. Paper towel holders are perfect holders for spools of ribbon

6. I use leftover blueberry and strawberry containers to hold lots of things. They are see through plastic and hold all kinds of things

Check out the Dollar Store near you ! There are an amazing assortment of all kinds of boxes and bins that will address your needs

More Embellishment Storage Ideas

  • Baskets-I would have to say that baskets are probably my favorite storage piece. They come in an infinite amount of sizes and they are pretty. Zip lock bags holding all kinds of pretty things work fine You can often find them on sale, so take some measurements and get ready to get organized with class.
  • Multi compartment containers- Perfect for brads and eyelets. You could sort them by size and then color Rhinestones and beads can also be stored in these containers
  • Glass Containers- Sort your buttons in glass containers by size or color. Check out your local thrift store where you may find discounts on mason jars and other decorative glass ware
  • Multi Drawer Chests- These are the ones with the little type of drawers. in one large unit. Perfect for organizing almost anything. They are plastic. Some come in different color drawers
  • Pill Boxes- They come in different sizes. Perfect for small embellishments
The Scraprack totally organizes embellisshments

The Scraprack totally organizes embellisshments

Using A Scraprack

My favorite storage tool is a Scraprack. The Scraprack is a tool that is basically like an open binder system. It is a 12 inch by 12 inch system where there are pages with attached little flapped sections where you can store your tiny embellishments.

You can store all those little pieces by color or by element. I keep all my ribbons, half beads and sequins together. Some folks like to place their embellishments with like colors. It's up to you how you use the system. You can't imagine how much these pages will actually store ! Now all my embellishments are located in one place. No more hunting around for all those little bottles or envelopes. I can find exactly what I need !

With this system, you can even get specialty embellishment pages, which I am eager to get for myself. These are 72 sectioned pockets made especially for embellishments.

The Scraprack

Store Them In Drawers

There are many drawer options for anywhere from small units to very large units. You need to decide what you have, how much space that you have, and what your needs are. For example, it you just have a little, a small three drawer desk type system would be perfect for you. If you are a real craft hoarder with a large collection, you may want a floor drawer larger option.

You will also decide the actual space that you have available. If you have a craft room than your options are different then someone who may only have a small desk or a closet area.

Look in your local craft store and online for options that may be available. Then plan out your craft space. You will be pleased at the results

Simple do it your self, recycled cereal box  is perfect for storing your embellishments

Simple do it your self, recycled cereal box is perfect for storing your embellishments

More Embellishing Storage Ideas

Final Thought On Organizing Your Embellishments

There is no one perfect system for organizing your embellishments. The best system is the one that will work for you ! It is a journey that begins with one step. So we encourage you to get started one step at a time.

© 2013 Linda F Correa

How Are You Doing With Your Embellishment Organizing? - Did You Find This Page Helpful?

Linda F Correa (author) from Spring Hill Florida on January 23, 2014:

@Craftymarie: Everyone thinks differently. You just need to chose a system that works for you. I use the plastic storage boxes and also some jars stored in photo boxes. Always trying to improve my process

Marie on January 23, 2014:

I usually prefer to sort by colors and I use a number of those plastic storage boxes with multiple compartments for small embellishments. They're just really handy, inexpensive and easy to stack :) Great page on organizing your crafty bits.

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