A Detail Coloring and Cutting Station

Coloring Station

I can’t seem to let well enough alone when it comes to my stamping area. But I do think you need to live with a set up to see how well it works for you and what you might want to tweak to make it better. This past weekend, I decided to carve out just a little bit of space for an additional work area – this one just for detail coloring and cutting.

Over the past few months, I’ve been noticing that while I like standing up at my stamping work area for 90% of stamping related tasks, I don’t really like standing up when I have a lot of coloring or fussy detail cutting to do. (I think that is part of the reason that I tend to avoid both  in my stamp art.) When I do need to do one of these things, I typically bring them over to my office desk, sit down at my chair there and do my coloring or fussy cutting. (My office area is right next to my stamp working area.) The problem is that I find myself having to work around the electronic objects on my desk (the keyboard, mouse and Wacom tablet) as well as other papers that are already there. It doesn’t make for the best place to work.

And another problem that has gradually crept in. As my eyes are getting older, they don’t see small detail areas as well and that has been affecting my coloring and detail cutting. For example, I might color a stamped image and it looks fine to me. But when I scan the finished piece of stamp art to include in an eArticle or post here on the blog, and look on it on my computer screen, I find that I’ve missed spots and/or have colored over lines. Now, part of the reason I notice it is that I’m looking at it close up and I suspect that it looks fine to the average pair of eyes when seen in person, but it still really bugs me and I find myself going back to touch up my coloring or even re-doing pieces.

About a month ago, I was in Joann fabric store and saw they had OTTLites on sale. One of the lamps was a “Craft Organizer Lamp”. It has an rotating shallow sectioned organizer at the base which might be useful if you are working on a project where you have to temporarily sort and store little beads or buttons, although I doubt I’ll use that section. But what interested me more was an extra attachment with three spot magnifiers to help you see little things you are working on. (Note: I don’t see the same exact lamp on their website today, but there is a similar lamp called a “Spin and Store Desk Lamp” that has two spot magnifiers.)

So I bought it on sale, on a whim. Now, I should have researched it a little bit online because once I started using it, I noticed some issues with its design that you can read about in online reviews. Basically, the light itself is very nice, giving good quality light. And the spot magnifiers are ok too, although I find that I only use the large center spot for coloring or detail cutting. But the lamp is top heavy. If you position the lamp so that its support is straight up and down, then it is fine. If you extend the magnifier section, it is ok too. But the arm of the magnifier is long, so if you fully extend it, it puts it outside the direct pool of light. If you then try to lean the lamp section so that it is over the magnifier area, the light starts creeping down. Very frustrating.

I have figured out the way to use the thing. If you keep the lamp section fairly upright and angle the magnifier piece like you see it in the picture above, it will behave itself. This approach will work for my purposes, so I’m going to hang onto it, but I don’t recommend that you purchase one of these because I don’t think it is well designed.

Magnified Coloring

Here, I am coloring a stamped jack-o-lantern (from Quick art). As you can see, the magnifying spot lets me clearly see the lines and spaces so I can color neatly in the first place. Working under the magnifier spot is really only for detail areas; I pick colors and do wider area coloring without using the magnifier.

If you’ve read my previous posts on reorganizing my stamping area, you may wonder where this new coloring and cutting station is located. It is about three feet to the right of my main work area on the other side of the counter top IRIS storage drawer where I store stencils. It’s actually in my office area, so I can still sit using my desk chair, but is still within reach of my coloring mediums stored under the main work area. I did move my alcohol ink markers, but everything else stayed in place. This was space I previously used for shipping out orders. As most orders are digital these days, I made sense to make this area more useful.

How about you? Do you find that there are some stamping tasks where you’d rather sit down and others where you’d rather stand? Do you have any issues with seeing detail?  Have you used this particular product or an alternative magnifier set up in your stamping?

Nancie, VSN

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Nancie Waterman

Nancie Waterman created and self published Vamp Stamp News magazine for nearly twenty years. These days, Nancie creates and posts monthly eArticles on stamping topics on the Vamp Stamp News website (http://www.vampstampnews.com)

8 thoughts on “A Detail Coloring and Cutting Station”

  1. I have a 10 x 10 room for crafting. All the walls are taken up with shelves, cabinets and Iris carts. In the centre I have a large table that has a hutch with more shelves. I keep all my colouring supplies in the hutch with my Big Shot and accessories and a basket of tools. On the rest of the table there is a box of precut cardstock, scraps (in a basket), small embellishments in a hardware storage unit, and in the small leftover space, a large cutting mat and a craft mat. It’s crowded but everything I use most is well within reach. And this is my favourite place to be! Thanks for sharing all your ideas.

    1. Hi Diane, Sounds great! I envy you your wall space. Because I’m using just a quarter of the room, I only have two walls and one is mostly windows and the other has a sliding glass door. So I’ve had to be inventive about how I arrange things. I just posted a floor plan to show that. Nancie

  2. Thanks for the candid evaluation of the lamp. I was just thinking, ‘well if it works for her, I’ll go get it!’ I too am starting to have issues colouring fine detail. I basically take off my glasses and crouch in tight to the image and colour. (gives me a tad of a headache after a while…) I have one work area surrounded by storage of all by things. Sometimes when in the middle of a couple projects, I have a 6×6″ spot on my desk to colour! LOL!

    1. Hi Cindy, That’s how I used to be before I rearranged my stamp area (working in 6″ x 6″)! My new set up gives me more horizontal space to set work in progress or tools I want to set aside, so I don’t tend to get so cramped when I work. That is the best thing about doing the work to rearrange it all.

      The lamp is ok; just could have been designed so much better. I don’t know why they made it so that the lamp support can be tilted at an angle, because it really doesn’t behave itself when you try to tilt it more than a couple of degrees. I like the way the magnifier fits into the support but they could have just done the one big magnifier spot on a shorter arm and I think it would have worked better. Ah well. It does help me see better, so I’m hanging onto it but I don’t know that I’d buy it again. Nancie

    2. Hi Cindy, That’s how I used to be before I rearranged my stamp area (working in 6″ x 6″)! My new set up gives me more horizontal space to set work in progress or tools I want to set aside, so I don’t tend to get so cramped when I work. That is the best thing about doing the work to rearrange it all.

      The lamp is ok; just could have been designed so much better. I don’t know why they made it so that the lamp support can be tilted at an angle, because it really doesn’t behave itself when you try to tilt it more than a couple of degrees. I like the way the magnifier fits into the support but they could have just done the one big magnifier spot on a shorter arm and I think it would have worked better. Ah well. It does help me see better, so I’m hanging onto it but I don’t know that I’d buy it again. Nancie

  3. I can sure empathize about the eyesight! I’ve been wanting an Ott light for a while now…didn’t know about the ones with magnifiers. Thanks for the warning about the design problems. I am currently, very slowly, reorganizing my craft room. I’ve got plenty of space…a whole room…and lots of shelving and potential work space. I’ve been doing Scrapbooking.com’s 27 week Get Organized class. I’m on week 13…stamps! They suggest unmounting wooden stamps, but I’m not sure about that. I enjoy all that you post and learn a lot. Since I only discovered you recently, I’ll have to go back and look at your posts on storage/organization. Thanks, and keep up the good work sharing your knowledge.

    1. Hi Heather, I’ve seen pictures online of a floor lamp from OTT with a magnifier attachment that looks like it might be a better design; it seems to get better reviews online anyway. It has a more flexible arm for the magnifier that ought to make positioning it more flexible. Haven’t tried it myself though. A floor lamp wouldn’t work for me in my space but it might be worth looking at as an alternative in some stamp room set-ups if you have the space.

      I know that a lot of people do unmount their mounted stamps. It can save a lot of space and it can make it easier to store them all together. But to be honest, I don’t want to take the time to do it. So I have a mix of unmounted (cushion mounted) and mounted. Anyway, definitely do go back and look at my previous posts on storage/studio topics. They (and/or the comments people leave on the posts) might give you some ideas for your project. Nancie

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