Sunday, February 20, 2011

Get it Together with Style - Week 6 - Stamps and Inks

Welcome to another week of our “Get it Together with Style” Organizational Series. This week we are going to talk about organizing your stamps and inks. This is a huge topic, especially if you are like me (Susan) and have tons of stamps and inks.

Before choosing a storage system, you must sort and categorize your stamps. First sort them into general categories (like holidays, people, etc.) Then if you have lots in one category, you can break them down into more specific categories (ie. holidays could be broken down into Christmas, Easter, Halloween etc.) The main thing to consider is how you use your stamps and what makes sense to you. If you would prefer to have all your birthday images and birthday sentiments together, then categorize that as birthday. Or you could have a birthday images category and then put the birthday sentiments with all your other sentiments.

Once you have the stamps sorted by category, you need to decide if you are going to separate them by type: regular wood-mounted rubber stamps; unmounted rubber stamps (just the rubber, no wood); unmounted rubber stamps on cling-cushion; or clear unmounteds. Each type of stamp will require different storage solutions.
Wood-mounted stamps
They take up alot of room and how you store them will depend on how much room you have or how you function (some people like everything out and showing so they don’t forget what they have or so they can be inspired by their supplies; others want everything put away out of sight).

If you only have a few rubber stamps, here is a cute idea for storing them so they can be out on your desk ready to use (also a good idea for storing small ink pads):

Though the Making Memories embellishment shelf below is sold for embellishments, it would make a great stamp shelf.

If you have alot of stamps, this cabinet will store alot. Closed up it also looks like fine furniture but it's pricey.

Here's more shelving for stamps, mounted on the wall. I've seen similar ones sold online but you could also have them custom made (or if your hubby is handy...).

If your stamp collection is not quite as extensive, you could also use decorative ledge type shelves found at home improvement and home decor stores like these seen below.

Clear plastic "project" cases sold in all the craft stores make great storage bins for stamps. You can get two layers of stamps in each case. You can also buy units that hold several of these stacked - great if you have quite a few stamps.

I personally store mine a couple of ways. I started using Iris carts many years ago - you can fit two layers of stamps in each drawer.

I outgrew this system a long time ago, but still use the two carts I have. Here's an open drawer of Valentine stamps.

For years I have used acrylic box picture frames (11 x 14") to store my stamps. They are the perfect depth for wood stamps. I had them stacked several trays high but the one problem I had was the inconvenience of unstacking them to reach some of the trays at the bottom.

When we moved four years ago, we had an inexpensive bookshelf that was falling apart and as I was dismantling it to put on the curb, I had one of those "aha moments." I reconfigured it and it has become my wonderful 25-shelf 6' high stamp cabinet. I LOVE it! To save space here, I have posted the entire story and how-tos on my personal blog (Artful Musings) if you are interested in reading more about it. Here is a quick peek.

And this is my storage solution for those tiny wooden alphabet stamp sets. This is an ammo box! You can get these at sporting goods stores for under $5. They come with different-sized partitions for all kinds of ammunition - this one is called the P-100 Series for .44 magnum bullets. It is perfect for holding three sets of complete alphabets! I love that the stamps are separated and easily accessed.

Unmounted Rubber and Cling-Mounted Rubber Stamps

Unmounted stamps take up far less room. In fact many people are now unmounting their stamps due to space issues. (If you want to do this, you can place your wood-mounted stamp in the microwave for about 10-15 seconds. This will soften the glue enough to remove the stamp and cushion from the wood. You can buy "cling" to add to your cushion so it will then stick to acrylic mounts.) Many stamps come on rigid pages when you buy them. Tim Holtz stamps come on rigid binder pages which can be inserted in a specially made binder. The photo below shows the refill pages.

You can also make your own binder. Several companies sell rigid sheets for this purpose. You can also use pieces of acetate cut to fit. Another idea is to put cardstock inside a sheet protector and then stick the stamps to the outside of the protector. It's also a good idea to stamp the images on an adjoining sheet so you can tell what's on each sheet.
This same system could be used without the binder and stored in a file cabinet.
CD and DVD cases are great for storing stamps together in different categories. Be sure to label the cases according to the contents and also keep a sheet of the stamped images inside each case.

The CD cases and DVD cases can then be stored in any of the CD or DVD storage shelving available.
Look at the stamps this gal has!!

Clear Stamps

Storage for clear stamps is much the same as for unmounted rubber stamps. Binders with stamps adhered to some kind of nonporous pages work well. Be sure to include an index of stamped images as it's very hard to see what the images are!

Stamps of the same brand usually come packaged in similar sized packages so if you buy alot of one brand, you might want to store these all together. Magazine file folders work well for storing lots of packages upright. Or maybe you have a box just the right size.

If you store rubber stamps in drawers or trays, you can add your clear stamp sheets in with the corresponding categories.

If you have alot of hanging space, several sets of clear stamps can be hung together on a ring and then on a hook so they are easily accessible.

I hope this post has given you some ideas for different ways to store your stamps. 
Your Scrappy Do List for this week:
  Sort, categorize, index and organize your stamps.

 I would love to see how you store your stamps, so please share.
Also be sure to comment on this post and you will have the chance to win a fantastic prize! Speaking of prizes, the winning commenter from last week is...
Congratulations! Please contact the LBH to claim your prize!
Check back tomorrow for ideas for storing your inks...

Happy Stamping!


  1. I have my rubber stamps displayed in a wooden shadow type box with dividers randomly placed. My father-in-law made it years ago. It was kind of a knick knack display. Since the division are not all the same size, my stamps fit great because they are all different sizes. I love it because I can see them at a glance and they make a cute decoration on the wall in my LPR (Little Purple Room).

  2. Great ideas Susan. I think I'll try the decorative shelving ledge. Maybe this way I would actually use my stamps.

  3. I Love the Acrylic Photo box idea. And I think that is the size of a shelf in our garage that is just waiting to be repurposed. Thanks Susan!

  4. Great ideas, wooden stamps in. Drawers, acrylics in old Creative Memory. Embellish folder. I to wotk. On. Them. Tfs

  5. I need to redo my craft room, only problem I have to share with hubby so space is limited. LOL

  6. Thanks Susan for all your ideas. I am not a big stamper girl but do have some that need to be stored where I can see them better. If I cant see it, I tend to not use it.

  7. My woodmount stamps are in a cart like yours. I have 3 drawers of them, with the intention of someday unmounting them. I tend not to use them because I like to see what I'm doing. Which brings me to clear stamps. Those I store in cd cases.

  8. So many stamps! Loved seeing your collection Susan!

  9. What are the acrylic box frames you use and where do you find them? This just may be the perfect idea for me! Thanks!

  10. Susan ...great post...I have stamps stored every which way...I really like the ammo box - I have several sets that this would work great!!

  11. great ideas! I really need to get on board and start decluttering and organizing! Thanks for all of the ideas and inspiration!

  12. Love these ideas Susan! Great post!

  13. This is for Claudia and anyone else who was wondering about the acrylic frames. The acrylic box frames can be found at Target, Walmart, and any craft stores. They are acrylic with an open back. There is a cardboard "box" insert - usually you take out the box, insert the picture and then replace the box to keep the photo in. To use as stamp trays, you would just remove the box leaving an open acrylic tray. They come in many sizes, but I found that 11 x 14 is about as big as you want to get and still keep it relatively lightweight! Hope this helps...

  14. I use the cd cases for many of mine.. and the 3 ring binder for the dollar bin ones... they fit right into baseball card sleeves... great ideas susan..thanks so much...

  15. Thanks, Susan!! So many GREAT ideas!! Gotta' go get started!! Bye!!

  16. THANK YOU so much for all the wonderful storage ideas, talk about thinking out of the box! This really helps. I can't wait to get all my stuff organized so that I can use it more often.


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