Friday, July 26, 2019

How to Organize your Craft Stamps and Dies

Are you the proud owner of rubber, cling, or clear stamps and metal dies for crafting?  Do you feel overwhelmed by the size of your collection?  Or, are you someone who likes to organize?  Maybe you are just interested in craft rooms and all the stuff that we makers like to collect. Then This article may be helpful to you.

There is a series of videos that accompany these posts if you are interested.  Note that I will have links below that are affiliate links that pay me a small commission for any paid purchases from viewers, so if you do buy something (and please don't feel like you have to) then thank you for helping support this blog and my youtube channel: Annmakes.

Ok, so here is the deal.  I am a crazily addicted crafter that has gone from being a hobby crafter to a professional and now an influencer in the Crafts and Arts Industry.  Yes, there is such a thing!  I love what I do, my work is my hobby, and my hobby is my work.  The lines have become utterly blurred!  LOL.

Now that you know this information about me, you may understand why it is that I own so much stuff and that I felt the need to create an organizational system to keep track of everything I have so I could have more time for doing what I love.  Which is to make stuff, design things to be made, teach about how to make stuff, and of course, buy and buy supplies to make things.

I do not know just how many stamps I own, but I know it is a lot!  Over the years, I have tried different systems to store and organize my stamps.  Each system worked for some time, but as my collection grew,  and my lack of commitment to keeping track led me to eventually creating the current system I have.

The first thing I did was to gather ALL of my stamps, and I mean ALL of them!  I had my stamps spread out all over the place before I realized I needed a system before I made a SYSTEM!    So I gathered all my stamps by the type of material they are (clear, rubber, foam, etc.) and created several areas where to place them temporarily, every kind of stamp in its own space.

I had already been keeping my stamps in basic categories such as Christmas, and Other Holidays, but I knew I needed to do more.  So I began by thinking of groups in which I would think of looking for and using stamps.  That is how I came up with 22 categories.  My mind works in a certain way, and these categories just make sense to me, as they may not be relevant to you!  Here is the list of all the types I store and organize my stamps.

1.   Alphas, Numbers, Punctuation
2.   Animals
3.   Backgrounds, Borders
4.   Celebrations, birthdays, Stars, Games
5.   Floral, Nature, Suns, Scenes
6.   Food, Beverages
7.   Frames, Shapes, Flourishes
8.   Love                                                    
9.   People, Kids, Mermaids, Fairies, Other Characters, Clothing
10. Sentiments
11. Travel, Postage
12. Vintage
13. Winged Creatures
14. Creativity
15. Stamps with Dies
16. Micro, Washi, Other
17. Sports
18. Homemade
19. Planner
20. Christmas
21. Easter
22. Halloween

Once I had the category names figured out I needed to consider just how to store my stamps in a way that would be practical for me, and save space.  My current studio is smaller than the place I used to have all my tools, supplies, and did make all the projects.  I need to be efficient as space is at a premium.  I also want to keep all of my stamps in one are, as this follows my mantra of keeping Like with Like!  (See blog post link here and video link here).  To save space and keep the tools that I use regularly, I decided to separate the extensive seasonal collections of stamps that only get used at certain times of the year, such as the Christmas, Halloween, and a modest selection of Easter Stamps.    The season stamps are stored in an off-site location, and I pull them out and bring them into my current creative space when they are needed for projects.

The next step was to create a system,  I store the different types of materials the stamps are made of, as they require different storage needs. First, there are what I call "Flat" stamps, which is anything that is a polymer, flat rubber unmounted and cling stamps, and foam stamps.  The best storage I came up with was a flat system that could be stored like files.  I chose to create pockets in plastic page protectors.

With a cardstock, backing to hold multiple sets of stamps, and cardboard file/magazine boxes to keep them.  My goal was to fit all of my stamps into a specific set of cupboards by my paper crafting area in the craft room.
To make these pockets, I took all of my "flat stamps" (which had been divided into the 22 categories) and laid them out on my dining room table, one group at a time.  I took each set of stamp and removed any packaging and labelled each stamp or stamp set with the information I need to have.  The information I need for my work is the Name of the Stamp, the category, the brand, the product number, the type, and how many pieces are in a set.  Another vital piece of information is if that stamp set is part of a collection or if there are accompanying, stencils die, etc.

Once all the extra packaging was removed, I literally was able to save about 25% of the space, just by removing the bulk.  I also made transparent plastic backing sheets (if none came with a set) to size for each stamp or set to cling on to (an alternative I found is to use DollarTree  Kitchen Chopping Mats).

I even cut down any extra plastic that came in some sets.  Having this plastic made it easier for the stamps to cling to something and to store them safely.  Next, I placed the stamp sets on sheets of thin cardstock that are 8.5 x 11 (that fit inside the plastic page protectors)  I moved everything around to fit as many stamps onto as few layers as possible, on both sides!  I drew lines around each set with a pen and ruler, placed the papers back into the page protectors and using a sewing machine I sewed through the plastic and paper following along the drawn lines.  After, I cut open the pockets below each stitched line very carefully with precision scissors.

 I sewed and sewed for days.  At a later date when I found myself needing some extra pockets, and I had put away the sewing machine I experimented with creating the same pockets but by trying to use double-sided adhesive and even glue to glue the plastic to the cardstock.  That worked a bit, I found that using extra tape made for sturdier pockets.  Each set of stamps in the pockets I made were also labelled with strips of washi tape that corresponds to each category, for faster visual recognition. And a label with the category name.

The thicker stamps such as the wood mounted ones are mostly stored inside of shallow plastic clear boxes from Stampendous.     I like these because of how they fit perfectly on the shelves inside the cupboards in my studio that are basically regular kitchen style cabinets.  I can store a lot of stamps in each box, and several boxes standing up or laying down and stacked on a shelf.  It is incredible how much space I have saved by converting to this system.  Formerly all the stamps used to be stored in at least 6 multi drawer storage drawers on casters by Sterlite., plus several shoe boxes in a closet.
Stampendous                                                           Sterlite.

The side of each Stampendous thicker box is labelled with the name of the category and a piece of decorative tape that is attributed to it for easier visual recognition.  I use a label maker (link) for making the very legible labels!  If there is more than one box worth of stamps in a category, I number them on the side and write the corresponding number in the catalogue along with a picture of the stamps and all of its information.  I like to use these .75 inch round labels.  

Note that I also have some stamps left in two drawers that are waiting to be moved into the new Stampendous thicker boxes,  but are currently labelled in the same fashion.  It necessarily does not matter what the stamps I store in but how to be able to locate them.

As for the metal dies, I store these in a similar yet very different manner.  The similarity is that I do label each die and die set and make a sample that is added into the Tools catalogue in the Die section, or the Die with Stamp section.  My current and favourite way to store all the metal and other dies I own is to keep them close by my desk where I do most the paper crafting and easily found without a lot of searching. 

The thin metal dies are kept in poly envelopes that I either created or that I already had on hand, with DollarTree magnetic sheets, and they are put inside some open photo type boxes to keep them upright inside the drawer.  To make each pocket, my preferred method is to repurpose the plastic packaging that comes with the DollarTreemagnetic sheets I buy.  I especially like to use these magnetic sheets that I buy from DollarTree.  I do all of this just to make it easier and quicker to locate any.  

 I will cut one end of the plastic, pull out the magnetic layer and cut it down to the size of the box I use to store in.  Next, I cut down the sides of the plastic pocket, cut off one of the flaps then I score and fold the other flap to create an envelope that I can slide the DollarTreemagnetic sheet that I adhere to the printed side of the cardboard that was also part of the packaging.  Finally, I create a label using a label maker (link) which includes the name, brand, and item number of the die.  Plus because I work as a Cricut Influencer, I add a piece of green decorative tape to the sheets that hold any Cricut(Cuttle Bug) brand dies.

For the dies that have matching stamps, I use the same system plus I include the stamp set (transparent polymer) in the same pocket behind the die set.  I also make sure to include information about the number of stamps that are part of the collection.  

The thicker dies are stored standing with their respective labels showing on the top and filed into the same drawer in their own area.
 Again there is a sample of each die included in the catalogue with its pertinent information.
Finally, I have a collection of old Cricut Cuttlebug dies (no longer available) that I still like to use.  These are stored standing up in some clear bins.    I cut a piece of the original packaging to the width of the die and slightly taller that includes the information about each die. 


Any other die and die sets I own that came with their storage system are also stored together in their own are in that drawer.  It is a substantial and deep drawer! The kitchen cabinets come from Home Depot and have pull-out drawers inside.

We have come to the end of the post, and I am so appreciative for the time you have taken to read it all!  It would be great if you left any comments (mainly positive, lol) down below beside that little pencil icon.  Also if you have any questions, suggestions, and any tips please leave those in the comment section below.  Thank you again for stopping by.  Stay Crafty!


1 comment:

Annmakes said...

Hi, thanks for taking the time to check out this post. I so appreciate and love reading comments!