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A Look at my Overhauled Stamp Storage

One of my most frequently used supplies are my stamps. So it’s very important that I have a stamp storage system that works to make my stamps easy to find, and that is flexible and expandable. I have struggled for years to find the right solution for my stamps, as well as my 6×6 pads and my metal dies. But I think in my latest room overhaul, I finally have the solution I’ve been searching for.

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Like many stampers, I’m now using stamp storage based on the system designed by Jennifer McGuire. (Click here to see a YouTube playlist of her videos about the system. But set aside a chunk of time because Jennifer will have you organizing all the things by the time you are done with her amazing organizing playlist!)

But of course, as with every organization project I take on…I modified it somewhat from the inspiration source to fit my preferences and way of working – to make it work for me.

Stamp Storage

The system is based around plastic bins, with plastic bag pouches to hold stamps, and dividers cut from plastic pocket folders. For my bins, I use an InterDesign Divided Fridge Bin and four InterDesign Linus Pantry Bins. One of the pantry bins is devoted to my large Tim Holtz stamp sets, and the rest of the bins are used for a variety of things, including stamps, dies, and 6×6 paper pads.

stamp storage

My original stamp pockets were from Avery Elle, but now since those have disappeared I use a brand called CheckOutStore available on Amazon.

For my larger stamps, I use three other sizes of bags from ClearBags:

I cut the flaps off of the bags that have them, to create open top pouches.

For the paper inserts, I use 110lb Georgia Pacific cardstock that I buy affordably at Walmart in large packs. My labelmaker for labeling my stamp pockets is a Dymo Labelmanager 160 that I previously wrote a sponsored review about.

The larger flap bag (B66XL) is used for most of my supplies. I use it for my larger stamps, embossing folders, and several other things.

Background Stamp Storage

I also use those bags to hold multiple small stamps, such as my sets of Tim Holtz mini Blueprints.

Small Stamp Storage

The smaller flap bag (B6x6) I use primarily for my 6×6 stencils.

6x6 stencil storage

One of the largest places where I deviated from Jennifer’s system is with my metal die storage. Instead of using pockets, I opted to use the 6×7 magnet cards from Stamp-n-Storage. They fit perfectly filed in my bins alongside my other items.

Since the magnet cards are not exactly cheap, sometimes I put multiple small die sets from the same company on the same card. This saves money as well as saving room in my file bins.

Magnetic Die Storage

Like Jennifer, I also use this bin system to store my 6×6 paper pads. I still need to make some dividers for them. I plan to sort them into a few major themes such as various holidays. I also keep a few other things, such as paper scraps that have been cut into a standard size, and a few Close to my Heart stamps, in this section.

6x6 paper pad storage

I’m a major paper hoarder, especially for the collections that I love the most, but that can get really messy in my paper files. I found a way to solve that in the file for the 6×6 paper pads using the B66XL flap bags. Once I start using a paper pad and it has scraps that are getting annoying in the file bin, I put the pad in one of the bags. It allows me to still place it in the file with the others, but keeps the pesky little scraps contained!

6x6 paper pad storage

Initial set-up for this stamp storage system required an investment of both time and money, but now that it is up and running, it is relatively easy to maintain. I have a basket of supplies for my organizing systems that lives in my craft room closet, and when I have new things to put away I just pull it out on the desk to use to get my new goodies all put away.

Are you using the Jennifer McGuire stamp storage system? What modifications have you made to it?

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CHA Craft Storage: Simply Renee

Seriously? How could you not drool over the prospect of this crafty storage? The new All-In-One Clip It Up system from Simply Renee looks totally to die for! The All-In-One Base has two 78″ tall poles on a 26″ wide base for a whole score of storage.

The pole is composed of 1″ pieces so you can easily set it up with the combination of elements that work best for you like the All-In-One Single Ribbon or Double Ribbon holders that work really well for ribbon rolls or rolls of fabric.


There are also amazing Clip It Up Trays that easily spin without wobble and have helpful little dividers so that things don’t tip over in the tray.

The spinning arm from the floor model also works on the All-In-One Base for your classic Clip It Up needs, whether that’s stamps, paper, embellishments, fabric, sewing patterns or pretty much anything else you can pinch with a clip.

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Unity Stamp Co.

Editor’s Note: We’d like to welcome Anne-Marie Teo to our team of staff reporters… this is her first article for Craft Critique! Be sure to click on her name to visit her terrific blog, and leave her a little love in the comments below!

Reported by Anne-Marie Teo

One of the most innovative stamp companies to emerge onto the crafting scene this last year has got to be Unity Stamp Co..

I first saw their unique mounting system for rubber stamps at the Craft and Hobby Association show in Anaheim, California in 2008. I have never been a fan of wood-mounted rubber stamps simply because they take up a lot of storage space and they cost noticeably more than their acrylic counterparts. But Unity Stamp Co. has devised a unique mounting system that not only helps you to save on storage space, you can use these ‘handles’ with your acrylic stamps as well.

The handles come in 4 different sizes and are made to fit perfectly with Unity’s wooden cassette stamps. Match the letter on the handle to the letter on the stamp, slide the cassette into the handle and stamp. You can turn the handles over and use them with your acrylic stamps as well.

Unity Stamp Co.’s range of stamps include the cassette-mounted stamps as well as unmounted rubber stamps. They have released an extensive range of images over the year, and there are singles as well as sets to choose from. There are new releases almost every week, and Unity stamps cater to all paper crafters: from cardmakers to scrapbookers.

Pros:

  • Unique, space-saving mounting system
  • Stamp handles that can be used with all other unmounted rubber and acrylic stamps
  • Deeply-etched stamps for cardmakers and scrapbookers

Cons:

  • Not as extensively available in brick and mortar or online stores since they are still a relatively new company

You can buy Unity Stamp Co.’s mounting system and stamps from their online store at unitystampco.com.

In conclusion, I have preferred red rubber stamps since I’ve started using Unity. The stamped images are much clearer than images from acrylic stamps, and I haven’t had to think of how to store wood-mounted stamps.

Have you tried Unity yet? Let us know what you think!

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SeeD’s Cling Unmounted/Wood Mounted Conversion Kit for Rubber Stamps

Reported by: Jessica Diedrich

Even if you’re brand new to the stamping world, you are probably well aware that this “ain’t your Grandmother’s rubber!” There are tons of different varieties of rubber, polymer and the like on the market nowadays, and many of these choices vary greatly from the traditional, wood-mounted rubber stamps. You can find die-cut, mounted, unmounted, unmounted with cling, uncut rubber…the possibilities seem endless, and can sometimes be confusing.

Unlike their traditional, wood-mounted counterparts, this new breed of stamps pack one big advantage: being able to use them with clear acrylic blocks makes it easier to see where you’re stamping. In fact, this technique has become SO popular recently, that enthusiasts are finding ways to convert their older wooden stamps into unmounted ones that are ready to go with the acrylic blocks. This is achieved by converting them with a special material that helps them “cling” to the blocks and store away from them when not in use.

There are a few different products out there to try. The three that I think have been the most popular are EZ Mount by Sunday International, Aleene’s Tack it Over and Over Again glue, and SeeD’s Cling Unmounted/Wood Mounted Conversion Kit for Rubber Stamps.

(stamps by Stamping Bella)

A great value at under ten dollars, I chose to pick up the SeeD’s kit at my local Michael’s (editor’s note: I have scoured the internet looking for an online source and have come up empty. SeeD’s was recently bought by Darice, which may have affected their distribution channels).
The kit comes with 4 clear plastic storage cases, just a tad longer than my CD cases I store some of my clear stamps in. In fact, it will fit in some CD case holders/towers. It also comes with 8 sheets of cling material and 8 cardboard inserts that are coated smooth on both sides to allow for the stamps to cling to them when not in use.


The instructions are right on the box. They were a bit vague in my opinion but easy enough to get started. There was also information on how to microwave wood-mounted stamps individually for 10 seconds and then apply this cling to convert them to unmounted stamps. I chose to try them out first with some unmounted rubber I’ve been really wanting to use. The cling has two sides; a “permanent” side that adheres to the stamp, and the cling side that you can re-use over and over on acrylic blocks.

To begin mounting the stamps, you place the stamp over the cling sheet (before backing is removed) and just trim around the stamp as best you can to try and shape it.


Once trimmed, the backing on the permanent side (the side with the SeeD’s logo) can be removed and the permanent backing can be placed on the stamp. I trimmed mine a bit more after adhereing.

The stamp mounted easily and securely on the acrylic block. However, after only a few uses, some of the stamps lost their cling completely. I was surprised that this occured only after a few uses. Also after a few uses, the backing seemed to start to peel off the rubber stamp.

Eventually, there were a few stamps that I had to completely re-do. I was sort of surprised that this happened on more than one occasion because the box said that you could re-use it “over and over” again.

The other thing I noticed was that the cling began to warp and wrinkle on the back of several of my stamps as well. I mounted and stored them exactly as directed and I was disappointed by this.

One thing that a few people have asked me was if there was any compromise in the image quality because the cling is not on any type of foam material, it’s just a flat surface. Although I don’t believe so, it was a bit hard to get used to without there being any foam attached to the sticky material. Just like polymer stamps, the image isn’t any different, though.

Pros:

  • Very reasonably priced at $9.99 (USD) in most stores
  • A great way to convert wooden stamps into unmounted for use w/ acrylic blocks
  • Comes with its own storage system which is great

Cons:

  • No real staying power in the cling material; took re-application long before I expected it to
  • No foam surface between the rubber and the cling
  • A bit tricky to get used to using in terms of hand-trimming and mounting without much instruction

Overall, I don’t think that I would recommend this product. It lacked the staying power and ease of use that the box claimed, and became frustrating to work with. My stamps often fell off the blocks after only a few uses. This product didn’t seem to hold up well and was disappointing; I had hoped it would be a great way to mount my unmounted rubber stamps and even possibly convert some wood ones.

What have you tried to convert your stamps? Any suggestions or advice to make this product work better for me? Leave a comment and let me know! Thanks so much for reading! Enjoy the upcoming holidays!

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Storing your Stamping Wheels

Reported by Sara McKenzie

When you have a lot of crafting and stampin’ stuff (and don’t we all?!?) storage is a problem. For me it’s a problem in two ways. One is organization- how to organize everything so that it makes sense and you can find it a month later, after you’ve rearranged your space for the ump-teenth time. The other is the old “out of sight, out of mind”. If I put something neatly away, but out of sight, I will quickly forget about it and never use it. Anyone else have that problem?? LOL.

For me, storing stamping wheels was a problem on both fronts: first of all, they are ROUND! so you can’t stack them or pack them in any efficient way. How do you organize these puppies? The “out of sight” problem is that there is no index on them- no picture of the image. For me, that is as good as being thrown in a drawer somewhere and forgotten- if I don’t have the visual cue of the image, I just won’t reach for it.

And then a friend told me about Pringles! Not as a snack food (although I have been known to munch a few of the low fat variety…) No, rather, it’s the cans. When the snack is finished and they’ve been wiped out, they make the PERFECT storage container for stamping wheels. Honest. Why? How?

  • They are the perfect diameter. The wheels fit right in, without any wasted space on the sides.
  • You can fit three jumbo wheels plus one standard (1″ wide) wheel in one container, or you can fill one can with 7 standard sized wheels. Or, obviously, you can do many combinations of the two sizes in one container.
  • You can easily make your own index!! Just roll the design on a piece of plain white paper (copy paper is the perfect size), and attach this to the outside of the can.

  • AND, you can line these guys up on your shelf like soldiers! It keeps them in plain view and with your images on the outside, makes it incredibly easy to find just the right stamp.

So go get yourselves some Pringles! For a mere $1.50 per can, you get a fun salty snack, and some great, practical storage!

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Iris Multi Media Organizer Box

Reported by Dana Vitek

If you are anything like me, your stamping life changed with the sudden swamping of the marketplace with, say it with me now, PHOTOPOLYMER STAMPS! Also known as acrylic or clear stamps, these bad boys have changed the way I create. Unfortunately, they create something of their very own… a storage dilemma. The popular stamping message boards are full of threads with newbies asking about the best way to store clear stamps (and cling-mounted rubber stamps too, let’s not forget about them). The general consensus: empty CD cases!

Brilliant! So smart, that I immediately bought 200 empty CD cases, assuring my husband that a bulk buy was really the cheapest way to go, and certainly I’d have plenty to share with other stampers who were as desperate for storage as I was. Ahem. So, how do I store my 180 CD cases full of clear and cling-mounted rubber stamps? I present the Iris Multi Media Organizer Box:

The first pass of moving and organizing my stamps filled about 50 CD cases which I was able to fit in a re-appropriated CD rack stolen (permanently) borrowed from an old roommate. It did its job, but it was out in the open. My daughter would often toddle by, remove anywhere from 17 to 48 CDs at a time–depending on her mood–and leave me cursing
the fact that my basement craft room still wasn’t finished. When I came across the Iris Multi Media Organizer Box, I knew I could finally keep my kids out of my stuff, oh happy day! To be fair, my husband found and bought the first batch of these boxes for his computer geekery stuff; I promptly dumped them out to keep the ill-gotten gains for myself.

The boxes themselves are typical Iris quality plastic with tight-fitting lids. They measure 9 1/4″ x 17 1/4″ and are 6 3/4″ deep, so it’s a pretty sizable box. According to their website, they can hold 57 CDs, but I have 60 in each of mine. I like round numbers. Here’s one of them:


The best part about these boxes is their compartment-size flexibility. They come with two dividers, and three different slots for those dividers, so they can be customized (within reason) to what you’re storing. Do you keep your stuff in large DVD cases? They can hold 26 DVDs (maybe more, that’s just what their website says). Or, you can take the dividers out entirely
to make a big bin that is (gasp) big enough to hold your 12″ paper cutter (that’s really more like 15 inches) and all of your rulers:


For you folks in a hurry, here’s the executive summary:

Pros:

  • Plastic storage with a tight lid keeps out dust, buggies, and children with grabby hands, if you have any of those issues in your work area.
  • Transparent, so you can see their contents at a glance without even opening them.
  • Movable dividers to customize the space specifically for your stuff.
  • Stackable.

Cons:

  • Price. For what is ultimately a plastic box, it’s pretty spendy. I’ve seen them for between $8.99 to $11.99. I paid $15 for a three-pack at Costco and felt the sweet satisfaction of getting a good deal.
  • Transparent (yes, I know… it can be both), so you need to keep them out of direct sunlight if you’re storing photopolymer stamps or anything that can fade, like cardstock or designer paper.
  • As much as I really, really want it to, my Tonic guillotine trimmer just won’t fit. But, since it was hardly designed with that in mind, I can’t really fault them for it!

You can find the Iris Multi Media Organizer Box at office supply stores (like Office Depot, and a quick Google search turned up these other retailers: stacksandstacks.com, huney-do.com, and spacesavers.com.

I definitely recommend the Iris Multi Media Organizer Box for storing your CD cases (whatever might be in them), and other random stuff as well. Do you have this storage system, or do you have something that works even better? Leave us a comment and we’ll check it out!

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How to Store Unmounted Stamps

Reported By: Gina Krupsky

When I walk in to any stamp store, I always enjoy picking up the wood mounted stamps. There is something so rich feeling about a smooth, hard-wood maple block graced by a deeply etched rubber image. I like them so much that I barely have room left in my stamp room to actually stamp anything.

So, I’ve taken the plunge into the unmounted realm. Unmounted stamps not only save you money, they save you tons of space.

But how do you even know what you have?

This question has been the reason many stampers won’t cross the line. They are afraid that if they can’t see what they have, they won’t use it.

Well, you know what? They are right! I had 80 CD cases full of unmounted rubber stamps that never got used. I also had plastic bags of unmounted stamps, little baskets full of unmounted stamps and little tins of unmounted stamps. Nothing went together and everything was placed neatly in a cabinet where I couldn’t see it.

Instead, I reached for my nice, visible wood-mounted stamp sets that were proudly displayed out in the open.

Does this sound like you?

If it does, I have the answer!

It’s time to release those unmounted babies from stamp purgatory!

Next time you are at the office supply or your favorite discount store, pick up a few of these.

These are clear acrylic picture frames 8 ½ X 11 in size. They come vertical or horizontal like mine above.

Take a piece of colored card stock and stamp all the images that work together all over the piece of cardstock. You could have a Christmas sheet, a flower sheet, a birthday sheet, etc… and make them each a different color so they can be spotted easily.

Next, slip that piece of card stock into the picture frame.

Then, place each stamp over its respective stamped image.

Unmounted greeting stamps have always been a problem for me but look!

And see how nice these sit right on your desk, out in the open where you’ll use them!

This method works great for all unmounted stamps with cling cushion, tack it over and over, or clear polymer and vinyl stamps.

So come on unmounted stamps, it’s time to come out of the closet!
Get those stamps out where you can see them with this convenient new storage method available everywhere picture frames are sold!

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