Review: Design Save ‘n Go by Bead Buddy

The Design and Save ‘n Go by Bead Buddy is essentially 2 beading trays, with a bead mats on each that snap together much like a case for a CD. It opens all the way flat, or you can easily detach the hinge to create 2 stackable beading trays. I was introduced to this handy, combination bead board and project storage system by several members in the Dallas Bead Society. I decided to buy one before the Texas Bead Retreat back in January, and give it a trial run.

I like to work on 2 projects (or more) at once. I usually have a design project that requires lots of concentration and ripping, or a national teacher project that requires following directions closely, or making lots of decisions etc. In other words, a brainpower project. The other project is mindless, and something I could bead in my sleep. I work on one when I need a break from the other. So having 2 stackable trays is a very nice feature, and I just put one on top of the other when I’m ready to switch projects.

It is also perfect for bead retreats and classes. I work whatever I want on the first board during the free beading time. When its time for class, I don’t have to go through the hassle of cleaning it off and putting all the beads away. I can just grab the second board and use it for the class.

but..Will it work for seed beaders?

Yes! I took my tray and loaded it up with 3 piles of seed beads. I closed it up, and shook it really hard. When I opened it again, the beads were in their same places! Honestly, I was a little surprised at how little they moved. If you put your tray in a bag with other supplies, it won’t move nearly as much as I shook it.

Conclusion: I need more of these, and every beader should have one, hehe. It retails for $16.99 at JoAnn, but it is only available in stores as far as I can because I couldn’t find it on their website. I have emailed Bead Buddy to see where else they can be purchased.

What do you think? What is your favorite tray or bead mat to work on? Please share with us in the comments!

Update: I heard back from Bead Buddy, and the trays can also be purchased from Fire Mountain! They also listed Rio Grande,, and Hancock Fabrics but I couldn’t find them on either site, and the Hancock’s near me closed a few years back.

{ 19 comments… add one }
  • avatar Lexi February 9, 2011, 4:29 pm

    It’s a good time for a JoAnn’s 40%off coupon!!

  • avatar Mandi Ainsworth February 9, 2011, 4:55 pm

    I didn’t the first time, but when I went back to pick up another for a gift I used a coupon : )

  • avatar Ralonda February 11, 2011, 1:07 pm

    Thanks for the review, I hadn’t considered on for myself until you posted this.

  • avatar Mandi Ainsworth February 11, 2011, 2:06 pm

    That is too funny since you were sitting next to me that whole weekend! Although, I didn’t do the shaking experiment until I got home. That’s what sealed the deal for me to recommend it : )

  • avatar Opal February 19, 2011, 1:43 pm

    If you also have the space I find a great ‘mat’ to use while beading is a peice of fabric like wool that has some pile to it. This is what I use while working on my projects, and then if it need to be put away for some reason then I just roll it up. Granted the small beads probalby won’t be as secure then with your nifty board, another great beading toy!

  • avatar Mandi Ainsworth February 20, 2011, 6:22 am

    Thanks for your comment, Opal! I do have some bead mats with a bit of pile, and it helps keep beads from rolling around. I haven’t thought of rolling it up though. Great idea!

  • avatar VIP Beads April 1, 2011, 10:06 pm

    These trays are actually pretty neat,our beader-customers are always using them in their projects,especially if you’re working on multiple projects at the same time.I like Your table set up-it calls for specially beautiful projects and I think-yes You will need more trays indeed.Good luck!!!

  • avatar Patricia Williams April 15, 2011, 2:48 pm

    Hi Mandi, In answer to what is our favorite beading surface…I like cookie sheets. I know, sounds weird…I use the ones with sides (like jelly-roll pans). Double duty for cookies if you are hungry. But they fit into each other nicely; are flat on the bottom. I put a bead mat in it and usually keep several (like 3-4) occupied at once. So I just stack them on top of each other on the shelf. I use the smaller ones. They are great for just moving stuff from one room to the other; lightweight; but not good if you have to travel; no top (downside).

  • avatar Gayle Goddard April 16, 2011, 10:07 pm

    Hi Mandi! Did you hear from bead buddy? Is it truly Joann’s only? Thanks, Gayle

  • avatar Mandi Ainsworth April 17, 2011, 6:37 am

    @ Patricia I haven’t seen anyone use cookie sheets before. Great idea! Thanks for sharing it ; )

  • avatar Mandi Ainsworth April 17, 2011, 6:38 am

    @Gayle No, but I’m going try to contact them again today. Some Jo-ann’s don’t even have them!

  • avatar Laurie Dumont July 20, 2011, 9:52 am

    Patricia, I wondered what you lined the cookie sheet with for a mat, I used a felt square and found the needle caught in the felt and the beeds flew away

  • avatar Carolyn D September 9, 2011, 11:45 am

    I saw these for $19.99 in A.C. Moore today, so if you live on the East Coast where that chain is, that’s another option.

  • avatar Mandi Ainsworth September 9, 2011, 12:17 pm

    Good to know : ) Thanks for sharing Carolyn!

  • avatar Brigitte Baierl August 24, 2012, 4:58 am

    I’ld love to have one, but the postage is so high to Germany :-(

  • avatar Jules September 9, 2012, 2:13 pm

    Brigitte, do these products and their postage to europe is £4.95.

  • avatar CJ Beaders January 28, 2013, 6:40 am

    For UK Beaders, CJ beaders are able to supply the Design Save n Go and the Design Save n Go Junior :-)

  • avatar Trudy White October 6, 2013, 7:02 am

    I have used these bead buddies for years and they are just great. I have 2 larger ones and have just purchased one of the smaller ones for going on holiday. I would recommend them to anyone. I have recommednded them and just about everyone in the beading groups I go to have them.

  • avatar Beverly July 27, 2014, 3:37 pm

    This is the best bead board ever! I have three of them as I love to work on various projects at the same time. I hope they don’t quit making it.

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