It’s fun to create cards and inky artworks, but not so fun to work out how to store your crafty supplies effectively.
When I started out with Cardmaking, my stamps and dies generally fitted in one shoe box. Then two. Then I suddenly had to invest in a set of better quality boxes which could handle the weight of my growing die collection – this happened faster than I’d care to admit hahaha.
I also found, as my stash started to grow, that it was harder to remember what I had, also harder to find the sentiment or image I wanted to use on a project – big hurdles that took all the fun out of creating! So, I started organising my stash, and over the past few years, the system I have developed has resulted in an organised craft room that even my crafty friends and visitors can navigate.
Most crafters store their stamps and dies in plastic pockets, some with cardboard inserts, some with magnetic sheets. However, getting a regular supply of the plastic pockets can be tricky in New Zealand – there is currently only one retailer I’m aware of who stocks them, and even then, intermittently.
Also, I realised I am more of a visual person and need to really be able to see what the die cuts look like, so I like to have examples glued to the front of my pocket. I can’t do this with the plastic pockets anyway, so I chose to use top opening C5 paper envelopes, a much cheaper and more effective system for me. I purchase my C5 envelopes from Kmart – they are just $3-$4 for 25 envelopes!
I purchase A4 magnetic sheets from my local emporium (have seen them in Bargain City type stores too). I cut them in half, and they fit perfectly inside my envelopes, thus holding my dies nicely and giving my envelope stability whilst standing in the boxes.
Here, you can see I can store a large die set in an envelope, a die set with matching stamp set, and even two or three sets in the same envelope! The envelopes are large enough to fit a 6×8 size stamp set too, so they really are a great size.
I cut and glue an example of what each die in the set cuts – great for those stand alone sets where you can see embossed details, immediately see the sizing of pieces and how they may fit with the project on your table. Matching stamps are stamped on the appropriate die cuts and I like to include the sentiments too, so they can be easily seen on the front.
I keep my paper envelopes stored upright in boxes on the shelves in my craft room. I created dividers (laminated cardstock) with labels to sort my stash by theme. My labels were simply printed using Word.
Some crafters prefer to sort by stamp company – this makes it much easier for those on Design Teams and the like.
Of course, there are some stamp sets that do not have matching dies – sentiment sets and background stamps for example. I do have these stored in plastic stamp pockets. The pockets I like are from Ellen Hutson, and I only get to purchase them occasionally – luckily I don’t need a lot! I put a sheet of white cardstock in them for stability, and that also makes it easier to see the stamp contained within.
Ok, I had my dies all sorted out, and even some of my stamps. But I still found myself scrabbling about, hunting for that perfect sentiment – this resulted in getting a bunch of stamps out only to find some were too big, too small, or worse, spotting something better AFTER I completed my card :/
I decided to stamp ALL my stamps out in a notebook. Actually, I went through a couple of different notebooks before I worked out a ring binder set up could grow with me.
Using little binders, I can add pages, remove them if I sell/gift a stamp set, rearrange to suit as my stash grows. I couldn’t do that with a notebook. These sit on the dresser behind me, and are reached for just about every single time I create a card.
I created dividers by simply printing my list twice from Word, cutting them down with a trimmer and creating a two sided tab. The tabs were glued onto A5 divider sheets and I used wide packing tape over the top of them for extra security and durability.
Pro Tip: Print your labels list with the margins to the right, less of your label is covered by the previous divider.
I stamp my stamps out into my binders pretty much as soon as I get them – I try very hard not to ‘play’ with my stamps until they’re properly catalogued into my system! I use 160gsm white paper – heavier than printer paper so the ink doesn’t show through to the other side, but not too thick so it doesn’t fill the binder too fast.
I even have a little colour code going – black for stamps with matching die sets, blue for those without matching dies (the ones in the plastic pockets), and green for my Stampin’ Up! sets – I can immediately go to the appropriate shelf/box to retrieve the stamp set I’m after.
I also add my stamp and die sets to Evernote – an app on my phone. The app is free to install and use, although you can purchase the full version if you intend to use it over a number of devices. I only use mine on my phone, so the free version suits me just fine.
Create your account, and you can have as many notebooks as you like. I just have the one notebook for my stamps and dies so far.
Below are screenshots from my iPhone, showing how to create a note in your notebook. An Android device or PC may look a little different, but the process should be similar.
Click the little green + button at the bottom to create a new note. Give your note a title, I have called mine New Stamp here. You can then add details and descriptions in the body of the note directly below the heading (I don’t, but you may like to). There is another little green + button in the lower half of the screen – click this to add media/pictures to your note. You can take a photo of your stamp set within the app, however, I prefer to get a crisp clear google image of my stamp set, and save it to my camera roll, then I Add from Photos and select the image.
Now you have your title and photo, it is time to add Tags. This is the crucial part that makes EverNote work for you. Click the little “i” at the top right, and above the map that comes up, you can type in the tags appropriate for your stamp set. I have typed in “happy” above, and you can see all sorts of tags come up that I have typed in previously including the word “happy”
My tags always include the brand name of the stamp/die set, whether it has a matching die set, the theme and the words featured in the set. If it has cats and dogs, I also include the “animal” tag, or “pet”. If you think you might use the stamp set for baby cards, or a wedding card etc, include those tags too. EverNote is quite cool in that its search function will scan the images for the word you are searching for, regardless of if you have entered it as a tag or not.
Evernote is handy to use as well as the Stamp Binders – I honestly use them both equally. I might search for a certain word, wondering if it exists in my stash, or I may be at a retail store double checking I don’t already have a stamp set similar (or indeed the exact one!). Plus, crafty friends often ask if I have a set they can borrow, and it’s easy to screenshot pictures!
Pro Tip: The free version of Evernote has a cap on how many notes you can add per calendar month. This is only a concern if you are syncing devices – if you are only using the one device (either your phone or your computer), you can happily ignore the warning messages and carry on building your stash notebook.
For more information about the best value supplies for your craft table, from cardstock to the handiest tools, check out my Best of the Basics series.
Thank you for visiting – I hope you have found the above information helpful in your card making journey and craft room organisation. Feel free to message me if you have any questions.
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