One site I came across - http://crafts.lovetoknow.com - has a great article by Dana Hinders, group editor of LovetoKnow about storing rubber stamps. Here are some basic tips she mentions to keep your stamps in good condition.
1. Whenever possible, avoid exposing your stamps to heat or sunlight. This will damage the rubber.
2. Always clean your stamps before putting them away. Use a specially formulated cleaner or scrub them with soap and water. (Wanted to mention here - this wasn't in the article - Stampin' Up!'s Stampin' Scrub and Stampin' Mist will take care of that quickly and easily).
3. Don't store wood mounted stamps directly on top of each other. The added pressure can warp the image and create blurred impressions.
Now on to some ideas on how to organize and store your stamps.
1. If you have a small collection of stamps - purchase a shoe organizer to go over a door and instantly you have an organized area for your stamps, which you can easily select the perfect stamp for your next creation.
2. Purchase a DVD/CD cabinet and place your stamps in there.
3. Purchase a 3-drawer or 4-drawer plastic towers to store your sets inside.
4. Purchase wired drawers (IKEA or Container Store is good sources) and place sets in each drawer.
5. A fun "out of the box" storage idea is to take a baby crib, remove the hardware from the side piece of the crib, turn the crib on its end and use the wooden slats as shelves for your mounted rubber stamps. Hmmm ... never thought to recycle that type of furniture.
Whatever the way you store it, you should have some type of filing system in place, so you can find the set you need or be able to return that one stamp you removed from a set quickly. Here are some ideas on how to keep track of where you put that set.
1. Start an index card system. This is where you stamp each image onto an index card in a dark colored ink, preferably black ink, and write the set it is from, along with the company you purchased it from. If you purchase large index cards, or use 8-1/2x11 card stock, you can stamp the complete set on one page. Then store the cards in an index card box or slip the 8-1/2x11 card stock into page protectors and place them into a binder.
2. If you like to do things on a computer, use an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of your sets. This is part of my system that I use, which I will explain my system at the bottom of this article.
3. When you place your sets in drawers, place them by subject (ie., flowers, kids, holidays, etc.). This will help when you are trying to find the perfect flower to place on the be
autiful project you have started.
Whatever system you use, just remember to update your system whenever you purchase a new set. This can be a yearly, monthly, or, for some stampaholics, a weekly or daily thing.
Now for how I organize my stamps. I purchased the wired system at IKEA and have each set organized by the Table of Contents found in the Stampin' Up! catalog. (ie., Holidays, Elements, Growing Up, etc.) Each stamp set has received a number. This is where the Exce
l spreadsheet comes in. I put a number on the outside of the stamp box, along with putting the same number on each wooden block. This helps me return a single stamp to a set easily. I list the set in my spreadsheet, along with the name of the stamp set, the order number, which drawer
to find it and the price of the set. For those that I keep that have retired, in the order number line I put RETIRED.
I hope this helps anyone that needs to organize their stamp sets. I would love to hear how each of you organi
ze your stamps and post pictures, if you have any.
Have a great day and I'll "see" you next
week where I
will introduce you to the Crayon Resist Technique.