Thursday, January 6, 2011

Happy New Year-are you ready to get organized?

Happy New Year to all of my stamping friends, customers and blog readers!
Thanks for visiting my blog, and patronizing our shop, Integrity Designs Rubber Stamps & Paper Crafts, located in Medicine Hat, Ab. Canada, as well as our Online catalog during the past year! 

Christmas is now over, and the new year has started... that means the same thing every year for me...Every January,  I get the urge to re-arrange my rubber stamping studio and the shop..  I look around and think "hmmm, I have to find a place to store my new rubber stamping and crafting goodies that I received for Christmas...and, of course I have to make room in  the shop for new goodies that will be introduced at CHA at the end of January..."
     When we decided to down-size, and we built this house, I was so tickled that I had such a large craft room.  At that time, I wasn't planning on having a home based business and having a shop 'take over' the lower level in our home.  It kind of limits the room I have to store my own goodies...It couldn't be because I have too many great toys, right?? (at least I'm not admitting it in 'black and white')
     I guess that's why I'm always checking out new storage options.  Some work...some don't.  Over the years, I did find several products that work well for me.  There are several great storage and organizational products in the rubber stamping, scrap-booking and paper-crafting world. Craft supply storage is an issue most of us deal with, so, for national 'Get Organized Month', I thought I'd talk about various storage options that I've tried and that have either worked, or not.(I guess so many of us get the urge to organize our supplies in January, that they named the month for us, lol.

At first, my biggest problem was where to store my rubber stamps.  When all of my stamps were wood-mounted, every Christmas, Mother's Day, birthday, etc, I was asking for (and getting) some kind of storage bin or container for my stamps.  One year I even got a large carpenter's metal tool box for Christmas!  My family didn't have any problems choosing gifts for me, lol...I always wanted the same thing:  "something to store my stamps in!"  I was looking for a way to avoid having to stack my stamps on top of each other in a drawer.  'Out of sight, out of mind' as  the old saying goes.  I kept forgetting what I had, or I couldn't find the stamp I was looking for (and I knew I had it, somewhere!!)

Then I discovered unmounted rubber stamps! After purchasing unmounted rubber stamps at half the price as wood mounted stamps, I decided this was the way to go!  (I could save money, and then buy more rubber stamps!- isn't that a great logic, lol)

I explored various methods of mounting my unmounted stamps to my acrylic blocks (mounts); I tried double-sided adhesive, glue sticks, and temporary liquid adhesive.  I discovered that I'm basically a lazy person...I hated having to soak and clean adhesive off my stamps after every stamp session...So, when I tried Sunday International's EZ mount, which, once applied was no 'work', and it kept my stamps on the mount,  I decided that was the product for me!

     For those  who aren't familiar with EZ mount, it is a mounting cushion that has (permanent) adhesive on one side, which adheres to the back of your rubber image, and the other side of the cushion has a super smooth finish, which temporarily 'sticks' to your acrylic mount. You put your stamp on the mount, stamp your image, clean your stamp and peel off the rubber stamp and EZ mount (which are 'adhered together') and store it.  EZ mount comes in two thicknesses, Regular and Thin.  The thin EZ mount is great for small stamps, (reduces 'rocking' while stamping) and stamps that are purchased with adhesive cushion on them already.  I loved unmounted stamps and EZ mount so much, that I unmounted all of my wood mounted stamps using the microwave.  I'll give 'un-mounting' instructions for wood mounted stamps below.

I tried various methods of storing my unmounted rubber stamps (back to the storage issue, lol)...I tried storing them in CD cases, envelopes, and then, large three ring binders (with D rings, rather than the round ones)....Using the binders took the least amount of space, and I liked the way I could categorize my stamps, and line the binders up, taking next to now space.
In the binders, at first, I used photo sleeves and clear plastic sleeves made for storing trading cards that I found at the dollar store, and just slipped my stamps in the pockets.  That worked the ok, but my larger stamps kept slipping out of the pockets. Then I tried Sunday International's Lightweight storage Panels (made to fit a binder)!  Hot darn, that worked like a charm!!

    The EZ mount cushion sticks to the storage panels the same way as it does to acrylic mounts.  EZ mount cushion is a 'super smooth' surface, and it will stick to another smooth surface by 'suction', rather than static cling.  This means, as long as it is clean and smooth, and the surface you want to apply it to is clean and super smooth, it will 'stick'.  It actually has a Lifetime Warranty, from Sunday International.  I have been using EZ mount since 2005, and I haven't had any EZ mount cushion lose it's cling.(other than when it gets dirty, and I just washed it).  
When the EZ mount or the surface of the acrylic mounts gets dirty from inks and oils, it won't stick as well.  Just wash (the cushion and the acrylic mount) with warm water and, if necessary a mild soap solution, let dry, and it clings again!  Don't try to clean the cushion with an acid solution, such as vinegar, or ammonia, as it can harm the smooth surface of the cushion.
Another word of caution- Do NOT try to stick your EZ mount to acetate for storage!!  There is a chemical reaction between the cushion's surface and the acetate, and you will NEVER get your cushion and stamp off the acetate...(Just ask me!)
For an Index sheet, I punch holes in a piece of cardstock and insert it in the binder, facing the page of stamps.  Instead of stamping the image directly onto the cardstock, I found that stamping it on scrap paper (scrap printer paper works well), cutting it out roughly, and then writing the name of the stamp company in a place on the image, worked best.  I attach it to the cardstock with (re)positional tape runner.  Then I can move the stamp (and index image) to another page when I'm rearranging   my stamps, or taking them out of the binder (I take some with me when we travel, slipping them on another Stamp n Store panel in a one inch binder, and putting them back when we get home.                                                       
 I arrange my stamps in themes.  Each binder holds a theme, Christmas, holidays, flowers, greetings, etc.  Because I can store stamps on both sides of the Stamp n Store panels, I can get a LOT of stamps in a binder!  I found the 'round ring' binders couldn't hold as many pages of stamps as the D-ring binders.  One side of a panel will hold a 8.5 x 11" stamp sheet!  There are 5 sheets per package--that's 10 pages of stamps per package! I store my binders under a shelf in my studio, not bad, I can get so many stamps in a small space when I store the binders 'on end'  (and when my husband and children come (they've grown, and I have grandchildren); no one has any idea of how many stamps I've got, lol. 

Unmounting Instructions using Microwave

To remove rubber stamps from wood mounts, put your wood mounted stamp, rubber side up, in the microwave.  Heat on High for 10 - 15 seconds.  Take the 'side' of your thumb, and try to work the rubber off the cushion or mount.  Some of the cheaper stamp sets, (you get a box of about 20 or more small themed stamps for a great price) don't remove easily.  I've left some of them mounted.  Sometimes the cushion breaks up, then it takes forever with 'Goo Gone' or 'Undu' to try and get all the lumpy bits of cushion off, and you want a smooth surface under the stamp.
 When peeling the rubber image from the mount, you will find either the cushion comes off with it, or it doesn't...just go with the flow...If the cushion stays on the rubber die (image), you just use the thinner EZ mount...if the cushion peels off the rubber die, then use the thicker EZ mount.
While peeling the die off the wood mount, when your thumb meets resistance, and the rubber / rubber/cushion won't peel back easily any further, pop it back in the microwave for another 10 - 15 seconds....If you use the side of your thumb to peel off the stamp, it is much easier...(and you will have a thumbnail left).  Continue to heat and peel, til your stamp comes off. If the cushion comes off nicely, attached to the rubber, (it will be sticky), you can place it on the (adhesive side) of the thin EZ mount.  If it is easier to take the rubber stamp off, leaving the cushion attached to the wood mount, then you can put it on the adhesive side of the thicker, regular thickness of EZ mount.

In my next post I'm going give some tips on cutting rubber stamps, mounting them, and some tips that I've learned (the hard way) over the years.
If you have found a great way for storing your unmounted rubber stamps, that works for you, please leave a comment.  I'd love to hear it!  (Also, if you have any questions)
And, before I forget...
...Spellbinders is getting ready to introduce their newest additions to the family of Spellbinder's Nestabilities and dies...Be sure to check out Spellbinders' blog! There is going to be a blog hop going on there very soon, and you don't want to miss it!  They are going to be giving us a 'sneak peak' of the new releases!  (I LOVE their dies, and I'm looking forward to seeing what will be released at CHA in California this year...(I can't go, waaaah!)  But as usual, we'll be doing our best to bring in all of the great new products this year. 

Thanks for visiting

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love your posts, Elaine. They are always full of good information and a few laughs too! Thanks.