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Craft Room Organization is in the Details!

A lot goes into a new craft room organization project. It isn’t just the big things of moving furniture around, and choosing storage containers. It’s usually the small details of how we deal with individual products that make or break a new organization plan. Today, I’m going to delve into a few of the finer details of my new craft room organization plan to show I’m making this scheme work for me.

Labeling is key element of my craft room organization plan. I label practically everything that doesn’t move out of my way with my Dymo Labelmanager 160. (One of these days, the cat is going to take too long of a nap on her favorite spot by my craft room window and wake up labeled.)

But before I can label, I have to categorize items to label. There are three major ways that I divide things up: product type (such as “dry adhesives”), manufacturer, and theme. Below, you can see examples of those last two in some of my embellishment boxes from on my papercrafts shelves.

Labeled Craft Storage Boxes

I also categorize in where I put my boxes. I have tons of these storage boxes. I try to put similar ones together. So, above, my American Crafts sub-brand boxes are together. And below, my “vintage” look boxes – Tim Holtz and Graphic 45 – are shelved together for convenient use.

When labeling, it matters not just that I label a box, but where I label it. The boxes above are labeled in a usual spot on the middle of the front of the box. Since they sit on a high shelf, that is visible from my seat in my desk chair. But the boxes below, which sit on the bottom shelf, are labeled on the front corner of the lid, which is more visible when I’m seated in my chair. A label is no good if you can’t actually see it!

Labeled Craft Storage Boxes

One other thing is different in the second photo of the bins as well. The labels are clear instead of white. Since I’m viewing the boxes in the lower picture from close up, it’s easy to read them without the high contrast white background. But I need that background on the bins that are higher up and further away.

The clear label tape is also useful for creating labels that are more aesthetically pleasing than just a strip of label tape. The ones below are made using print & cut on my Cricut Explore machine on printable vinyl. I create the blank labels, and then use clear label tape to label over them when I fill the bin. I also used the clear label tape on file folder labels to label all of my small drawers that sit over my Cricut machine on my desktop.

Pretty Craft Box Labels

Sometimes, something is already labeled, but in the wrong place. When some of these dies were placed in my storage rack on my desk, the end that showed was not the side that was labeled. So I just labeled them myself.

Labeled Dies

Drawers make for great storage, but have one downfall – we end up looking down on our products, a direction that they weren’t usually designed to be viewed. In some cases, such as with this embossing powder and glitter, clear containers make that not a problem. But when you have multiple things that look the same but are actually different…such as all this white looking embossing powder….labels are in order. Using a clear label allows the label to be visible while also allowing the container’s contents to be seen.

Labeled Embossing Powder

Labeling doesn’t always mean a labeler, however. These Distress Stains are labeled 1/2″ round circles punched out of address labels, which were then colored with the stain in the bottle and stuck on the lid.

Labeled Distress Stains

Some things don’t work with simple labels though – like these Distress Re-inkers. Jennifer McGuire came up with these ingenious rings that you can print with a pdf download from Ranger’s under-appreciated “Organize Your Ranger Products” page. The page contains color charts and labels that you can use to organize and track your purchases of all of the different Ranger product lines, and create color swatches to help you choose colors to use for projects.

I printed my rings on the same heavy cardstock that I am using for my inserts in my stamp folders, and punched them with a 1/2″ punch and a 3/4″ punch. I punched the whole sheet at once even though I don’t currently own all of the re-inkers, and am saving the extras in a small zip bag to be used as I buy more colors.

Labeled Distress Reinkers

There’s no question that us crafters have some difficult shaped things we need to store. One of my favorite things to use is 3M Command hooks to hang things up. You saw some of them in action in my previous article, holding my rings of small templates on the side of my bookcase, and holding my apron the back of my door. But I also use them for holding my Cricut mats on the end of the bookcase near where my machine sits. They are out of the way, but easy to grab to use!

Cricut Mat Storage

I also use my Command hooks over in my paint area. These plastic cups (some of which I drilled holes in to hang on the hooks) are the perfect way to keep my paintbrushes organized and accessible.

Hanging Paint Brush Cups

Paper scraps are another difficult item to organize, and one a lot of people struggle with. I don’t like mixing my paper scraps together, but instead prefer to keep my scraps with the collection they belong to. I have found a way to do that without making my vertical paper files a mess by using inexpensive sheet protectors. When I have small to medium size scraps from a collection, I collect them into one of these sheet protectors and then just file the protector along with the rest of the papers from that collection. There’s no extra cutting needed, and I always know what collection the scraps are from or if I have a scrap left of a certain paper.

Paper Scrap Storage

Sheet protectors are also a great way to store stencils and keep them from getting damaged or tangled together. I use old page protectors to hold my 12×12 stencils, and then file them in my vertical files on my bookshelf. They’re super easy to flip through to find the one that you want stored this way! This is a great way to recycle page protectors that have damaged bindings on them.

Stencil in Page Protector

I hope that I’ve inspired you on how to handle some of your craft room organization challenges! What is your biggest organizing challenge?

Make A Chicken Wire Memo Board

Chicken wire is all the rage right now in home decor. It’s part of the vintage farmhouse decor trend. Especially popular are chicken wire memo boards.

Purchasing chicken wire memo boards in home decor stores can be very pricey, but the supplies needed to make one are extremely affordable:

  • Chicken wire (available at home improvement & garden centers)
  • Poster Frame
  • Wire cutters
  • Staple Gun

Not only is making a DIY version saving money, but it provides the chance to match the project to any decor. The possibilities for frame options are virtually limitless! The frame I am using is a very inexpensive faux barn wood frame from Michaels Stores.

Chicken Wire Memo Board assembly

The key to success with this chicken wire memo board project is to find a frame that has a nice flat and broad inside edge to the frame (the part where you lay the glass down on when the back is off). This will provide a nice area for hiding the raw edges of the chicken wire, and to do your stapling on.

Instructions: Discard the glass and back from the frame. Cut a piece of chicken wire to the dimensions of the image the frame is intended to hold. Then use the staple gun to attach the chicken wire to the frame. I recommend attaching all four corners and then going back around to fill in and reinforce the attachment with more staples. Make sure to pull the chicken wire tight before stapling it down for the best results.

Chicken wire can be sharp, and I suggest wearing work gloves and long sleeves for this project to protect your hands and arms from cuts. I did not use hand or arm protection and ended up looking like I lost a painful fight with a briar patch.

Chicken Wire Memo Board

Paired with some decorative clothespins, a chicken wire memo board is a great location to hold important papers, show off photos, or display special items. Mine is being used in the sewing area of my craft room to display a portfolio of some of my recent sewing projects. With the right frame, these can work in any room of the house, and are a great marriage of form in function in the battle for organization.

What would you display on a chicken wire memo board?

Organized Crafting With Dymo Labelmanager 160 [Sponsored]

[This post was sponsored by Dymo, but the content is solely the author’s opinion.]

Anyone who reads my writing here and on Scrapbook Update knows that I am, well, a tad bit obsessed with organizing. Especially when it comes to my craft supplies.

Dymo Labelmanager 160

I’ve been in the midst of a long process (over a year) of completely reimagining my craft space from top to bottom. I’ll share the results soon but in the meantime, I want to share with you one of the tools that has been important in the final stage of my organizing process.

I’ve been a fan of labeling for awhile, but had gotten really fed up with the one that I was using due to its limitations and the cost of using it. As I was about to chuck it, I received an offer from Dymo to try out their Dymo Labelmanager 160 (pictured above). Since I was already a fan of using labels, I couldn’t have imagined how it would broaden my usage of labels!

Before we get to how I’ve used it, I want to tell you what features I like about this particular label maker so much.

Form Factor: The Dymo Labelmanager 160 has a shape that makes it easy to hold with small (meaning female) hands. The form factor means that the QWERTY keyboard can be typed efficiently with two thumbs, an easy task for any experienced texter.

Cost: The Dymo Labelmanager 160 is way more affordable to use than a competitor model I had previously tried. The tape cartridges are cheaper and there is less waste produced on the ends of labels when printing.

Tapes: Tape is easy to find for the Labelmanager 160 in the small town I live in – the basic black print on white tape is carried at Walmart, a major convenience. But beyond that, Dymo offers a large selection of colors of tape and printing that can create a variety of different effects for different uses. It’s easy to switch cartridges in and out of the machine, so there’s no need to commit to using a single style of tape for projects.

Besides the selection and cost, I also like the body or weight of this tape. As long as the label isn’t overly long, it will maintain its stiffness while you are working with it to apply it. It makes it much easier to apply the tape smoothly and exactly in the position you want without errors.

Fonts & Characters: A huge library of special characters is available with the push of a button on the Labelmanager 160, making it easy to use symbols and punctuation on my labels. But one of my most favorite features of this label maker is that it gives me granular control over the font size you print in – there’s 6 different font sizes between 8 point and 24 point to choose from. In addition, it’s easy to create bold, italic, underlined, and vertical text with just a press of a button.

So, what have I been able to do with all of this functionality? Well, let’s start with the basic black on white label tape that comes standard with the Dymo Labelmanager 160.

I’m a huge fan of using plastic containers in my craft organizing – my space is full of them. But the problem with plastic containers is that it can be hard to know exactly what is inside of them, especially if you tend to change the order they are stacked in frequently.

Project Boxes unlabeled

A few quick labels make my boxes for storing my projects in progress easy to tell apart, and the white tape with the black labels is easy to see from my desk part way across the room. The simple labels are also quick and easy to replace when I finish a project and start another one, changing out what is in the box.

Project Boxes labeled

The white tape also comes in handy on these drawers, which are quite see through but not quite enough to show exactly what is in the drawer. The white tape makes the text on the label stand out.

needlearts drawers labeled

In a drawer containing my cross stitch supplies, the white tape stands out nice and bold from the colorful background of floss behind it. As these supply categories grow, I’ll be able to add extra detail to these labels (such as separating my cross stitch floss drawer from my patterns and fabric drawer).

Cross Stitch Drawer close up

The two line text feature of the Dymo Labelmanager 160 allows me to label my stamps and my dies with nice detailed labels that make creating supply lists easy for my layouts. But on the dividers you can see another one of my favorite ways to use this machine: with the clear tape! These home made plastic dividers look very professional with labels printed for them on the clear Dymo Labelmanager tape.

Stamp Storage labeling

Below, the project of labeling my paper holders was in progress. Without the labels and with the paper standing on edge, it’s hard to tell what is in them from my seat at my desk. With the clear labels, the labels are easily readable from my seat only inches away but aren’t garish.

Paper Holder labeling in progress

The clear labels also work great for my small vertical files, which I keep turned around with no contents visible so without the labels there is no way to tell what is in them!

Labeled Paper holders

But the clear labels don’t just have to be used by themselves. Adding them to a colored background gives them a whole new versatility. For my stacking supply boxes in my closet, I’ve used my Cricut Explore Machine with printable vinyl to create labels. Then I used clear label tape to create text to put on top of them for a decorative look.

Why not just add the text when I printed the vinyl background? Several reasons. Adding the text later lets me print these labels in large batches and then add the text when I use them. And by using the vinyl, I can use a bit of sticker remover to just peel the label tape off of the decorative background and quickly re-label the bin when its contents change, without having to make another decorative sticker.

Print Cut Labels

I tend to hoard 6″x6″ paper pads, and they make a great partner for my clear Dymo label tape! Look how gorgeous these drawer units and boxes look with labels made from an old paper pad and my Dymo Labelmanager 160!

Box labels

It also makes quick & easy work out of creating custom themed labels for my albums, also using my stash of 6×6 paper pads as backgrounds! For instance, a map themed paper with a label on it is perfect for labeling one of my travel albums.

Binder labels

But where the Dymo Labelmanager 160 really starts to shine is creating even more customized labels. For the ones above, I just used the default size of text and threw a clear cartridge into the machine. But for the project shown below, I pushed a few more buttons!

These labels have lived for awhile on my drawers that I use to store my various color mediums. They are made with an alphabet stamp set and some pretty file folder labels. They look nice…but if you look closely, you’ll see the problem. Due to the lettering being limited to only a few characters, the labels contain little information. “Tubes” of what? Three drawers say “Cricut” so how do I know what is in each drawer?

This is especially important because I share my craft space with my somewhat creatively minded husband and these are supplies that he occasionally uses. Despite his best attempts, after 25 years together he still can’t read my mind to know that the middle drawer holds the blue and green Distress colors. And frankly, occasionally I can’t even remember that!

Media Drawers before

But the Dymo Labelmanager 160’s ability to set text point size gives me the perfect solution! By choosing the 16 point text size, I was able to print labels that (when trimmed with scissors) I can use to create two line text on my pretty stickers. Now my drawer says “watercolor tubes”!

Media Drawers after close up

The Dymo Labelmanager 160 will, of course, print two line text itself, but it is limited in size to the width of the tape. By choosing a font size and printing it as two separate lines, I was able to print two line text that is wider than the machine’s tape – and the perfect height for the drawer labels.

The result are drawers that are labeled in the needed detail – but still readable because I wasn’t squeezing my handwriting in the small space. And I was still able to use my fun colored border labels since I used the clear Dymo tape!

Media Drawers labeled

Bonus: If vintage or retro funk is more your style, check out the Dymo Organizer Express Embosser. I’ll show it to you more extensively in a future post, but here’s a sneak peek!

One area of my craft room, the sewing area, has a lot of black & white chalkboard elements in the decor of it. The Organizer Express with the black embossing tape was the perfect match for it!

Embossing Labeler on bin

When you are organizing, don’t forget the details. Labeling may seem like a small thing, but it can make all the difference in the usability of your space. With a tool like theDymo Labelmanager 160, you can create a practical – and pretty – space easily and affordably.