How to organize your rubber stamps ~ for crafters and paper artists!
Rubber Stamp Station
I started rubber stamping about 20 years ago! I was invited to a stamping tutorial at a local craft store. It was a small store in town that sold mostly yarn and cross-stitching supplies. When I discovered how easy rubber stamping was, I was hooked. After two decades of using rubber stamps to enhance greeting cards and embellishments, I have acquired so many that organizing them became a hobby of its own!
In the beginning...
When I first started rubber stamping, I owned a few stamps. As my collection grew, I had to come up with creative ways to store my stamps.
At the time I started stamping, space was a problem. I did not have a studio yet. I found a three-drawer cart with wheels. The top was flat. Whenever I wanted to make greeting cards, I wheeled the cart around to the living room and used the top of the cart to do the rubber stamping.
The drawers contained a few stamps that I owned at that time, markers, ink pads, and embossing powders. I kept a ziplock bag full of plain folded cards and envelopes.
Then people started actually inquiring about buying the greeting cards I was making. I was delightfully surprised. It was harder to keep everything organized when I was creating 20 cards at a time.
Storage boxes like this photo box help hide the clutter
The problem with lidded boxes...
I love the storage boxes I purchased for storing my rubber stamps. They come in all sizes, shapes, and designs. But as I soon found out, a lidded box as opposed to a drawer is not as convenient. If you stack more than one box on top of each other, it's time-consuming to constantly move the boxes around to get to the stamp you are looking for.
I also tried plastic shoe boxes because they were usually fairly inexpensive. I had about 50 of them stacked against a wall. I could write on the side in marker to identify what was in each shoe box. But again, it was very time-consuming moving the boxes.
I wanted to invest in drawers to store my rubber stamps. I looked around online. One fellow crafter had created these unique shelves which were in a bookcase format but smaller to custom fit her stamps. All of the stamps were standing in a row. My luck, they would all fall down like dominoes. It was a very organized idea and looked beautiful. I knew I had to come up with something that would allow me to store my stamps and easily look through them. Lidded boxes weren't a perfect solution. Standing the stamps up on a shelf weren't an option for me.
What else could I do?
There are some great closet organizers out there that actually work very well for craft supplies. When I originally purchased two organizers at a local department store, my initial intention was to use them for my closet storage.
This storage center has pull-out shelves. I measured the height and width of the shelves. Then I purchased the red lidded boxes. As a bonus, they came with label holders on the front. I store my rubber stamps by theme.
The trick to finding the right combination of storage products, when you are working with a budget and re-purposing things from your home (versus buying everything brand new that already matches) is taking accurate measurements.
These lidded storage boxes came in the perfect size to fit my rubber stamps. I took the bigger of the rubber stamps and measured them. I knew exactly how high the storage containers would need to be. Coincidentally when I stored the stamps in the plastic shoe boxes, I had to store them laying flat because they were too tall to fit in the boxes on their sides. It took a lot more plastic boxes than the red lidded boxes shown above because when I measured, I knew exactly how many I would need and how many I could fit in my storage unit.
Label your storage boxes to eliminate guessing!
Labeling your storage containers, whatever you decide to use, really helps eliminate wasted time. Especially if you have limited time to begin with, you don't want to waste 15 minutes of your allotted craft time just looking for a certain stamp. I find that happens a lot when I don't label containers.
There are so many different ways to label your containers. There are peel and stick chalkboards, white-board papers, and plain old paper and marker.
The red lidded boxes I found already had a label holder on the front. I just created labels on my computer to correspond with the stamps in each box.
Here is my "roller" stamp box. As you can see, each box is really roomy inside.
A cabinet with drawers
The first storage unit wasn't enough. My rubber stamp collection has grown in the last 20 years beyond my wildest imagination.
The red lidded boxes worked great for stamps in themed sets in which I only have a dozen or so. But my Christmas stamp collection exceeds any of my stamp themes.
I needed more space for bigger sets of stamp themes. I didn't want to break them up into multiple red lidded boxes. I wanted them to stay together in one area.
This drawer organizer works excellent for the bigger sets of stamps.
While lidded boxes, pull-out shelves and drawers were a necessity in creating this rubber stamp station, I also needed shelving. The two closet organizers had small shelves on top. These are essential for storing smaller items like adhesives, cutting boards, etc.
A small basket holds small adhesives such as glue sticks and double-sided tape. It fits neatly in one of the shelves on my drawer organizer.
The top of the drawer organizer has two small shelves, perfect for baskets filled with adhesives, and other goodies!
Cookie sheets hold my used rubber stamps that are waiting to be washed
The other storage unit with the pull-out shelves holds a tray for used rubber stamps that I need to wash, duct tape, a cutting board, and my craft mats.
Tip: Use a cutting board for those times when you use a craft knife to cut around a rubber stamped image! It saves your counter top!
A plastic drawer holds my clear stamps
In between the two storage units, (the one with the pull-out drawers, and the one with the drawers) I have a metal towel shelf. It has two shelves. It wasn't as tall as the other two storage cabinets so I was able to use the top as an additional shelf. On the middle shelf, I have a plastic drawer where I keep my clear stamps.
Tip! Store your clear stamps in plastic sleeves.
I use plastic sleeves that once stored my embossing dies to house my clear stamps so they don't stick to each other and get ruined.
On the top part of the towel shelf, I had a set of four stacking boxes and two were the same size. I pulled the extra out of the stack and use it for extra stamps. It holds all the flower stamps I have accumulated.
Storage bin for accessories
I had a cedar bin in my closet that I re-purposed to hold all of my copic markers, rubber stamp markers, chalks, and drafting tools such as rulers.
Taking measurements is vital when organizing!
Sometimes you have to compromise when things don't fit just right!
Ideally, it would be perfect if I could fit the tin of colored pencils pictured here in the bottom bin with the colored markers. The tin was too high to fit laying on its side or standing upright. But to keep it near my coloring accessories, I compromised and fit it neatly on top of the plastic drawer full of clear stamps.
The two closet organizers were purchased separately. To join them, I cut a piece of wood to length and fixed it to the top.
In the photo above you can see that the two closet organizers stood alone separately. It wasn't by accident that I fit the towel rack in between them. I measured everything first; cut a piece of scrap wood to length, then fixed it to the top permanently. This gives me extra counter space. It also serves as a cutting board. When I use my exacto knives for cutting out stamped images, I don't have to worry about ruining my other furniture.
To add more storage, I measured inside the drawers and slipped in two bins to make mock dividers for additional categories of stamps!
To maximize the space for my rubber stamps, I purchased these bins that I measured to fit in to the drawers. This drawer has two bins. I fit three categories in this drawer. The middle has no bin but the stamps are larger so they fill up the extra space.
The top drawer is all Christmas stamps. The bottom drawer has three additional categories like this drawer.
On top of the rubber stamp station, I keep my glue sticks in a cookie jar near my glue gun. I positioned my rubber stamp station next to an electrical outlet s
Storing ink pads and embossing powder
I have a three drawer plastic organizer on a bookshelf where I keep my ink pads, organized by color.
Tip! Store your ink pads upside down for longevity of the ink pad!
I also have a tall cabinet with drawers where I keep my embossing powders and heating tool. They are safer in that drawer where spills are less likely to happen.
I changed out the drawer knobs for a personal touch!
I've seen many crafty storage solutions for organizing rubber stamps. This rubber stamp station is what works best for me.
Remember to measure your space when choosing accessories, baskets, bins, lidded boxes, etc. Measuring is an important step to creating an organized space!
Oh, there is one more thing! Lighting is very important. Remember to position your rubber stamping space near a window or a lamp. I used to have my studio arranged a little differently and worked at night. I used track lighting on my ceiling positioned at my work space. When I designed my studio, I made sure to put my rubber stamp station near natural light for when I work during the day, but I had to also consider the wall space and use it for my desk and sewing area.
Happy Rubber Stamping!