After teaching a beading class this weekend, Linda at BOTK turned me onto a "portable bead-tube storage system" by Beadsmith called the Bead Tube Tower. It's a portfolio of sorts that measures 8"x16" when closed, folds for storage and includes a clear plastic travel pouch. This tower holds 13 small tubes (2-3"), 69 large tubes (5-6") or an assortment, up to 9/16" diameter. I was so excited for this find because, perhaps like many, I've been throwing my bead tubes into bags after finishing a project and when I next start something, my beads are organized in no rhyme nor rhythm so I'm left sorting through my many bags yet again!
THE GOOD: What I loved about this tower is the fact that it holds so many tubes. A beader could easily have 3 or 4 of these things hanging around and it wouldn't take up nearly the same amount of space as several bags or storage boxes would. I love that it is portable and includes it's own carrying bag.
THE BAD: While this product holds lots and lots of bead tubes, I did find that it was difficult squeezing the tubes in next to each other as the tower began to get filled. I also thought it was a very tight squeeze trying to get my filled, folded bead tower back into the plastic carrying case. I was worried the whole time I'd rip the zipper from the plastic.
THE UGLY: Perhaps it's just me, but I couldn't get this thing to close properly! I was able to sort of trifold it down after filling it with tubes; however, the velcro closure only seems to be useful when the tower is standing upright. Once it's folded flat, there's no way to hold it together so you must put it back into the travel case in order to make it portable.
Overall, I really do like this product despite my negative points above. I guess we can't have everything! I do recommend this bead tube tower and it retails for $10 to $12 in most places. If your local Michaels, AC Moore or Joann's carry this, you could always print off a coupon and get it for a better price.
Visit the Beadsmith site at www.helby.com
Please share your comments about this product if you've tried it. Thank you and happy beading!!!