DIY Montessori Bead Cabinet, Compact Space Saving Version At Home

The Montessori Bead Cabinet is a collection of beads used to practice linear and skip counting. It is also a physical, hands on representation of the concept of the squaring and cubing of numbers 1-10.
The child counts to label the first bar on every chain and continues counting and labelling as each bar/multiple of the chain is counted.

In the case of short chains - when the child reaches the end of the chain they are working with there will be a larger arrow with the squared value of the chain you are working with printed on it. 

If working with the (10 bars) 10 - hundred chain then the last arrow for the chain will be 100
This number is the square of ten 10 x 10 =100.

The long chains work the same way, but go further to create the cube of each number.
The chains can also be folded to form the squares, but it is the squares placed above the chain each time a square is formed that can be stacked beside their respective cube to physically see and explore the actual cube of the number.

The traditional bead cabinet is large and an additional cost of approx $150. The bead collection can be found for approx $300 at various retailers online.

Our Version

This cabinet/shelf is VERY simple and compact. The hard part was my deciding basically how complicated or big it needed to be, not the actual finished product.  
This is my super space saver version of a bead cabinet.  My awesome husband built this for us out of 1"x 4" stock lumber.   As I've mentioned before we do not have a ton of space, so this works amazingly well for our needs and houses everything very nicely.
 I have hung the long/cubing chains with the short/squaring chains - I may decide to separate them in the future and have included enough hooks to do so.  
The cubes are on the bottom, and I decided to stack the squares.  We also included a shelf for the arrows. The squares are on top, as well as a set of random number arrows that I made for practice.

We used 42 basic cup hooks on the bottom to hang the bead chains. You can lay a ruler along the bottom and evenly mark your pilot holes (use a nail or awl), you may need pliers to screw them in as they are pretty close together . 
We used wood glue and brads to put this together, though you can just as easily pre-drill and 
screw it together.  
This cabinet is very heavy once the beads are on it, so take care in hanging it.

If you are looking for an economical option for a Printable Bead Cabinet you can visit our Printable Store.

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  1. So excellent. I love your idea so much .Thank you for sharing your idea.

  2. Thank you so much!!! I really love this tiny cabinet :)

  3. What a great idea! This is perfect for our small space, our budget and yet it looks well made. What are the measurements of this cabinet? Thank you for sharing this idea.

    1. Thanks!! It's wonderful to hear that you like it!! I did a quick drawing with dimensions. It's very basic, but if you have any questions please ask. I would love to see it when it's finished!!!
      Good luck!!!

    2. Well it's finally finished & on my wall. My husband made a compact bead cabinet based on yours but made it square instead of rectangle. He also left the back opened. I am so excited that my beads set is displayed so nicely after months of being in a box. Again thanks for sharing this idea. I am not sure how to share a picture with you.

    3. That is sooo exciting!!! I bet it looks wonderful:))
      Do you have a blog?? Send me a link or email it to me at
      I'd love to see!!

  4. hi Cherine ! I had made a compact bead cabinet based on yours can look it at my blog . I am not good in English and computer but I will try to develop it.Thank you for your idea again.

    1. Your school room is so fantastic and the cabinet looks amazing!!!! Thank you for sharing:))

  5. With a limited budget, what are the necessary beads? I have made the sets of gold beads (units and tens)and two sets of bead stairs (1-9). I have also purchased the gold bead 100 squares and set of 9 thousand cubes. My son just turned 5 and it will be his second year for Montessori homeschooling but I did not purchase any manuals last year so I was using as a guide. It was helpful but I realized that it would be best to get the MRD Manual for this year. He is doing well learning the four operations and has been introduced to the stamp game but I feel as if we have missed something very important without all the beads. What are your thoughts? Is there a way to give you my email address privately?

    1. You can email me at
      I will help out in any way I can:))

  6. Also, I think I might have read somewhere but I'm not sure of this, that the Bead Decanomial could be used for everything? Is this possible?

    1. There are ways to piggy back some of the bead materials. I did buy the Bead Decanomial box because because you can use the beads for different lessons through many years in any way you wish. Like the Snake Game beads...the Subtraction snake game alone can cover addition, subtraction and multiplication you simply take the boxes you need. My email is above:))

  7. how did you space for the hooks, I would like to hang the square chains separate from the cube chains and I am just not sure how far apart to space each hook. we are just starting our church preschool and I ordered the beads yesterday and I love this idea for a cabinet.

  8. Thank you!!!
    We measured and used an awl (or a finish nail) to make pilot holes evenly spaced. We made sure that the cup hooks had just enough space to turn. You can easily make space to hang the square chains on their own. Hope that helps:) Good luck with it!!

  9. This looks great! I really need space saving ideas like this... I still haven't got the beads but I have pinned this to keep it in ming when I get them. Thanks for sharing!

  10. Thanks!! I really needed them also and this really has worked for us. Let me know if you make one:)

  11. Hi. I was wondering if you could offer any advice on what bead materials to purchase vs. print for the 6-9 range (my daughter is 6, son almost 3). I'm uncertain of everything I "need", and when or if the printed beads will do just as well.

    1. Hi Sherri! The Beads are wonderful but extremely expensive to purchase. We were gifted much of our collection - if not I would have done a combination of making/printing some and purchasing some. You can do everything you need to do to complete the activities this way. The Decanomial Bead Box is great because you can do so much with it. I like the idea of real bead stairs etc for early work . We make printed versions of everything and many things can be found for free. Hope that is helpful!

  12. Thank you so much. The instruction is easy to follow. I made ours in our classroom by using the leftover hardwood flooring materials.
    You can see our cabinet in here

    1. It looks fantastic!!! Thank you for sharing with us :)


I greatly appreciate your friendly comments and feedback. I love to see what others are making, so please feel free to include a links and share your site with us!!! If you have any questions regarding any of the materials we have made...I'd love to help!!! Thank you for visiting us:)



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