Thursday, July 29, 2010

Make Your Own Layout Tray

One of the things you'll discover when you start doing a lot of embellishment is that what you want to do in a certain period of time usually takes longer than you think.  In my case, a lot of that has to do with those sudden inspirations that I just have to follow up on right now.  I realized years ago that if I wanted to keep the ideas I'd already laid out I'd better find a way to do it, and quick!

I love beading and jewelry supplies and came upon a traveling bead tray.  Basically what they are is a two sided box that clicks shut.  The inside of the box is lined with foam.  If you put your layout on the foam and close the box, the foam will keep the design from shifting.  This is great for extensive jewelry designs because it's often difficult to finish a project in one sitting, and you don't want all of those carefully laid out beads to be knocked over accidentally. 

Most of these boxes are indented on one side with the traditional grooves for jewelry making.  I have one like that and it doesn't work very well for me unless it's for larger pieces.  I also have a large one that I bought at Joann's that doesn't have the grooves and it's great for laying out larger embellishment designs.

However, most of the time I work pretty small and finding something that works for me to tuck into my sewing box has been impossible.  So, in the spirit of American ingenuity I decided to make my own!

The materials are inexpensive and what's really great is many of you will have these on hand at home.  In my case the box is a diaper wipe case.  I bought this one at Target for a buck in their dollar section, (unfortunately, my baby wipe days are well over).  The foam I used is a piece that was used to package some electronic equipment.  It needs to be dense and not thick enough to come to the top of the box interior, usually about 1/2".  I'm pretty sure you can buy it at the fabric store if you can't find any around the house, (ask your techie friends, they probably have some lying around).

All you need to do is cut the foam to fit the two interior sides of the diaper wipe container.  Make sure the box clicks securely before you glue the foam down.  I ended up having to make the top foam a little thinner, (shaved off with a razor blade).  It doesn't matter if you do a perfect job because the beads will be held in the box by being compressed into the foam. 

I used an all purpose spray adhesive but you could probably use good quality double stick tape.  I wouldn't recommend a hot glue gun because the glue beads will change the height of the foam.

Above shows the interior of the box with some embellishments laid out.  In this case I closed the box and came back to it a while later.  When I opened it, this is what I saw:

See how well it works?  It just saved me a ton of time having to layout everything again.  Now I don't have to worry about pieces getting lost or redoing my layout.

Hope you find this helpful.

Happy Stitching!


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