Do you sometimes squeeze a lot of your supplies into a small space, only to realize that because your items are so tightly packed, you’re not able to view them easily, and thus don’t use them very often? It’s like that old adage says, “Out of sight, out of mind.” That’s how I have been feeling about my collection of clear acrylic stamps. I’ve been storing them in one of those inexpensive clear plastic shoe boxes you can buy at Target or Walmart, and though it looks nice stacked on top of other boxes just like it, I pretty much don’t even know the stamps are there.
In an effort to come up with a better and more visible storage solution, I began combing the Web for ideas. Finally, I discovered Jennifer Wilson’s post, How to Organize Clear Stamps, which is a wonderful summary of the various methods that are out there for organizing your clear acrylic stamps. You can store them in a notebook or binder, clip them to a spinning rack, stand them up vertically in a box or basket inside their original wrappers, or put them inside plastic CD cases (minus the case’s guts) and stack them in a container or on a shelf. All of these methods have their pros and cons, which Jennifer lays out very clearly for you. I highly recommend you check out her post if you’re not sure which storage idea will work for you. Meanwhile, here’s what I came up with, since I have a fairly large collection of stamps.
I decided to store my stamps inside three-hole punched vinyl sleeves which fit nicely into heavy duty, three-ring notebooks. Although this may sound like a commercial for Office Depot or Office Max, I located most of the supplies I needed at these two stores, with one stop at Archiver’s for adhesive dots. I discovered that vinyl sleeves come in many different varieties that seem to fit whatever size acrylic stamp you own. The ones I deemed most helpful included 2-count CD/DVD binder pages, 3-1/2 x 5-inch photo binder pages, trading card binder pages, and 8-1/2 x 11-inch clear sheet protectors.
Most stamps, when you purchase them, are sandwiched between two rectangles of clear plastic inside a flimsy cello envelope. The clear plastic rectangles serves a double purpose, keeping the stamp clean while making the design visible. Usually the design is printed in black on one side of the stamp, or it is printed on the plastic protector sheet to which the stamp is adhered. The design shows up especially well against a white background, so I cut rectangles of white card stock to fit inside all of the vinyl sleeve pages (or their pockets) that I had purchased. Some of the stamps were missing their plastic backing sheet, so I replaced it with a rectangle cut out from an overhead transparency. Once upon a time I used transparencies for training presentations I conducted, but the days of the overhead projector are nearly past and the leftover transparencies have since found their way into my paper crafting supplies. This is what one of the binder pages looks like, when you combine card stock and stamp inside the pockets or full-sized pages. You’ll notice I am storing stamps on one side of each page only.
Some of the stamps were too big to fit inside the specialized pocket pages, so I used full-sized sheet protectors. I stuck adhesive dots to the back corners of the stamp backing sheet, and pressed them onto card stock. Then I slid them into the sheet protectors. You can find these adhesive dots at a scrapbooking store like Archiver’s, or in the scrapbooking aisles of a department store such as Target or Walmart.
If you’ve been reading my posts, then you know that I prefer Corel WordPerfect software. I was introduced to it back in 1984 and am quite comfortable with it, so that’s the software I use most often. I utilized its Tables feature to create labels I could print, cut out with scissors, and slide inside two-inch-wide adhesive tabs. I bought Office Depot brand adhesive tabs, but you’ll find that Avery and other brands work equally well.
On each tab I typed the name of each section I wanted to have in my binders, according to the way I intended to use them. There are two columns so that I can fold each label in half, thus producing double-sided tabs.You may prefer to organize your stamps by manufacturer’s brand or according to the frequency you use them. There is not really a right or wrong way to do this, but this is what works for me. You can use Microsoft Word to accomplish the same task I did with Corel WordPerfect. The adhesive tab package, in fact, comes with perforated card stock that you can slide in your printer and then tear apart into individual tabs; the package usually contains instructions for how to set up and enter your labels using Microsoft Word software. I used color card stock instead because that made the tabs more visible inside my binder.
If you decide to store your acrylic stamps this way, make sure you use a heavy duty binder, since you don’t want the metal hardware to separate from the binder cover. I used Wilson Jones® Heavy Duty binders with their “Extra Durable Hinge.”
I needed labels for the binders’ spines, so I returned to the Tables feature in Corel WordPerfect, and created a one-column, two-row table that stretched across my page in a landscape orientation. Since my binders were two inches thick, each row in my table was two inches high.
Finally, it was time to put everything together. I slid the spine labels into the binder, and decided the binder cover needed some spiffing up. I had just put away in a drawer my 2012 Susan Winget calendar, which was filled with images of birds, butterflies, dragonflies and flowers. I can never bear to throw away these beautiful calendars, so cutting some pages to the right size for my stamp binders seemed like the perfect opportunity to give new life to an old calendar.
I cut the front cover so that it measured 11 inches x 11 inches. The easiest way to insert card stock into the clear vinyl pocket attached to your cover is to open up your binder face down. This gives you some slack so that you can slip your card stock without difficulty into the vinyl pocket.
I cut the back cover so that it measured 11 inches tall x 9-3/4 inches wide. Two rivets punched into the back cover prevented me from completely covering it, but I think it looks fine, just the same.
It took me a few days to get all of my stamps organized, but now I’m ready to tackle my rubber cling stamps the same way. Because they are thicker, I will likely use only full-size page protectors. I’ll share the results here when I’m done. What acrylic stamp storage method have you found useful?
© 2013 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved.