Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Cling Stamp Storage using Unity Stamp Company Cases

Since about 2011, I've been an avid fan of Unity Stamp Company.  They make the best quality rubber stamps I've found yet.  Not only are they deeply etched, but they are generously sized and have a variety of beautiful designs. 

When I first started buying the stamps, I found Cling Storage Cards by Stamper's Best (now Deep Red Stamps) that were perfect for my needs.  They were rigid laminated sheets with three hole punches.  Stamps could cling to either side and the sheets slipped into binders easily.  I remember them being around a dollar a sheet.  Unfortunately, the company stopped producing them and I couldn't find a substitute.  Plus, my stamp collection was growing and I was having a hard time remembering where to return my stamps after I'd used some from several kits since the sheets were blank and I'd never made an index. 

I read online somewhere about using a laminator to make your own, and I tried that for a while, by stamping on cardboard cut from cereal boxes, sticking two sheets together, and running it through my laminator, but I was concerned that I might be degrading the cling foam on my stamps because I couldn't be sure that the lamination film I was using was safe.  I honestly haven't seen any evidence that the foam is degrading, but I wanted to protect my stamps just to be sure.

Unity Stamp Company sells their own storage cases.  Currently, they are $3.89 each.  I hesitated for a long while, not sure if I would like them or if I really wanted to reorganize my whole collection.  There's also something a bit scary about laying out the whole lot of your stamps and coming to terms with just how many you actually own!  (What's a girl to do when they keep having fantastic sales and releasing awesome new designs?)  And let's not even talk about the clear stamps and Stampin' Up stamps I never reach for any more...

I placed an order a few weeks ago for 20 cases, hoping that would contain all of my stamps.  Each case can hold stamps on both sides, so the equivalent of two full 8.5"x11" kits.  I started by sorting my stamps into rough themes.  I chose to keep each kit together instead of breaking apart images and sentiments because that works better for me to find what I want.  While I was working, I used Post-its to label the cases with their themes.  For now, these are the themes I have:
- Kit of the Month
- Sentiment Kits
- Phyllis Harris- Kids
- Phyllis Harris- Nature
- Tierra Jackson- Animals
- Angie Girls
- Masculine
- Love
- Vintage
- Food
- Household Objects
- School
- Borders/Backgrounds/Journaling
- Christmas
- Cute Animals
- Large Florals
- Grab Bags
Twenty cases would probably have been about right, but once I decided on themes, I didn't want to combine different themes in a single case, so I do have some extra room in some cases and some stamps that still need homes.  I ended up ordering seven more.

After I got the bulk of my stamps into cases, I wanted to somehow catalog them.  I'd seen suggestions to attach the packaging to the cases, but I didn't want to ruin the inserts if I was rough on my cases.  I also saw a suggestion to stamp each kit in a different color and to stamp grab bag items in black.  Genius!  I started inking up my stamps (while they were in the case where I knew they would fit) and then placed a sheet of card stock on top to stamp the images out.  While I was at it, I made two for each side of the case.  I'll keep one sheet inside the case and I'll keep the other in a binder of page protectors so I can flip through my stamps without dragging them all out.  I also used a coordinating pen to write the name of the kit.  Note- this is where I realized my colored inks are sadly in need of some TLC or replacement. 

Next, I got my Staz-on ink out and inked up the stamps once more.  This time, I stamped them onto a transparency.  I'm attaching this transparency to the outside of the case.  It will let me easily tell which stamps I need to grab and which stamps are missing if there are holes. 

When my cataloging is done, I'm going to be storing the cases in these magazine files that I got at Target years ago.  Each holds 4 cases comfortably so I can just tote the magazine file to my desk when I need it.  I'll make tags for each magazine file to indicate which themes are inside and label the cases with a more permanent solution than the Post-its. 

So, my organization project is well underway.  The stamping for cataloging is taking a LONG time.  One thing I'd do if I had the equipment would be to photocopy my colored reference sheet in black onto the transparency to save the Staz-on step.  Unfortunately, my printer is on the fritz and my transparencies are not compatible with printers or copiers, so I'm doing it the time consuming way but I do love the results!
Finished Product with Index Sheets Visible

Finished Product Closed
How do YOU store your cling stamps? 

Proud Operation Write Home Alumni
Cards shipped to OWH in 2014: 21
Cards shipped to OWH in 2013: 829 blank and 301 AnyHero
Cards shipped to OWH in 2012: 1284 blank and 218 AnyHero
Cards shipped to OWH in 2011: 1695