My Stamping Work Space

Work Area

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been showing you where I store my stamps and stamping supplies. I have a few more storage areas to show you today, but mostly I want to show you where I actually do my stamping. It also dawned on me today that I now know the best tip for getting your stamping area in shape.

My Stamp Area

This is my stamping area. It’s a little tricky to take a picture of it because it takes up about a quarter of a larger room. To take this picture, I’m standing in my husband’s area looking towards the stamping area, trying not to include his stuff in the picture. My office area is to the right. The white paper sorters on the right mark the boundary between stamp area and office area.

Most of what you see in this picture has been covered in previous blog posts. At the near left is my work island made up of a combination of IKEA and IRIS units. This is where I store many of my related supplies and have work stations. To the left you can see my sloped thread display stamp storage and my paper sorter stamp storage that sits on top of a chest of drawers. In the center back, you can see the IRIS units by the window where I store most of my art mediums with pegboard storage for other supplies. What I want to show you today is a bit obscured in this picture: my actual stamping work space by the window.

Work Area

Lately, I’ve been busy mounting unmounted stamps on cling cushion (see “Temporary Stamp Mounting” and “Two Variations on Temporary Stamp Mounting” blog posts) so you can see today’s batch of cushioned stamps that I need to index and put away. I’m also getting started on a new eArticle on Gel Sticks, so I have a pack sitting out to play with. At the right of the picture is a yogurt container full of water, ready to use when needed. Against the window are acrylic stamp mounts. (I washed them all today so they are all nice and pretty for the picture!)

The white paper is where I do most of my actual stamping. While I sometimes work on a craft sheet or a cutting board, most of the time I work on a stack of white paper because it usually is a good back drop for photos taken for the blog or eArticles (or previously for VSN.) When a sheet of paper gets too messy, I can either recycle it or use it as a background paper.

The light in this room is both good and bad. The room itself has one overhead light for the one big room, which isn’t enough to light it well. The room is full of windows though, so on sunny days, the light near the window is really nice. The two office lights you see in the picture work as task lights for my stamping area. I’ve replaced the original bulbs with natural light OttLite bulbs.

Notice that I’ve got a power strip at the back too. There is actually also a second one to the right outside of the picture that is corded to this first one. I like it because there is a rocker switch on it so I can turn off the powder to everything plugged in on both power strips quickly and easily. We stampers sometimes use some hot tools that you don’t want to forget to power off. Getting in the habit of always hitting the switch makes that less likely.

Work Area

I used to have my paper trimmer at a separate work station but I find that I use my paper trimmer constantly while I work, so it makes more sense for me to put it right in my work space. I’m loving this change. That grey box behind the paper trimmer is a Fume Trap. I turn this on anytime I heat emboss or do anything that might create fumes, smoke or basically demands working in a well-ventilated area. It by itself doesn’t guarantee perfect ventilation but it helps. (See the Apr ’08 VSN for more on the Fume Trap.)

At the back of the picture is my pegboard storage attached to the side of one of my IRIS drawer units. I blogged about these previously. On this section of pegboard, I store tools I use often, especially scissors, my heat tool and ruler. The little flat surface next to it is a good space for odds and ends of handy things like stamp cleaner, water, glycerin, etc.

Work Area

Ok, I know that my work area might look a little odd to you. If you’ve been reading my previous posts on my stamp room reorganization, you might remember that I used to do my stamping on the IKEA units that are now an island in the middle of the room. My current (new) work area is a make-shift set up but it works well for me. The base is two low IKEA bookcases. Back when I was publishing VSN, these bookcases were filled mostly with shipping supplies. My mailing machine and postage meter sat on top. My husband used some pieces from an old bookcase to improvise another section on top of the IKEA pieces. The mailing machine sat on top of this large raised area. The small lower area to the right is where the envelopes would pile up after the machine spit them out, all sealed and printed with postage.

Now that I no longer have the mailing machine, this space near the window has become my stamping area. I’ve kept the extra top piece because it puts the work space at a good working height, as I like to stand while I stamp most of the time. (Hopefully my husband will never want his clamps back! LOL)

Work Area Right

While I am obviously a fan of shallow drawers for storing stamping supplies, there are some things that just store better on a shelf than a drawer. This is the right side beneath my work area. On the top shelf on the left, I have a large acrylic box frame acting as a drawer of sorts for storing palettes. On the top right shelf are craft sheets, a Pergamano pad, various cutting mats and my Scor-it tool. These are all things I use often.

On the next shelf down there are two boxes, one with odds and ends of plastic cups, spoons, clothespins, etc and another with gloves. Next to it is a scissors sharpener and a cardboard “Color Catcher” spray booth.

Cleaning Bin

The white bin on this shelf was an ice bin from an old refrigerator. (Yes, I save everything!) It holds cleaning supplies for stamps and brushes.

colored pencil storage

Next to it are two stacked in-boxes where I am storing colored pencils. (I moved them from the taller IRIS units because I use these so often.) The top in-box works as a shelf for watercolor pencils and pastel pencils. The bottom one uses an acrylic box frame as a drawer for regular pencils. I use these Prismacolor pencils often so I leave the box top off so they are easily accessible.

Work Area Right

On the bottom shelf, I’ve got four boxes with embellishments: Ribbon, Threads & Iron-On Thread, Fibers and Rafia. I used to have these in IRIS drawers but they were overflowing and always trying to get out. The boxes keep things in place and I can easily grab the box I want.

Watercolor Storage Drawer

In the middles is another small set of IRIS drawers. The top two drawers hold small helpful tools like sharp craft knives, sanding blocks, tweezers, etc. The bottom drawer has watercolor paints and calligraphy inks. I originally had both in other IRIS drawers but decided to move them both because I wanted a deeper drawer for some of the paints but also because I want to start using these more often. (I pulled out some of the Dr Ph Martin Hydrus Watercolors for one of my samples for the recent “Sponge & Brush Techniques for Stampers” eArticle and fell in love with them all over again – gorgeous intense color!)

Work Area Right

The area next to this has another stack of in-boxes. Again, the top in-box acts a shelf (for Stamp Positioners), while the other three have acrylic box frame drawers for Pastels, Crayons and Chalks and Rub on’s.

Chalk Storage Drawer

These box frame “drawers” are good for holding shallow things.

Work Area Left

The shelves on the left side hold bulky things that store better on shelves than in drawers. At the upper right, you can see a basket with Masking Supplies and Micro Glaze wax. The top shelf of the IKEA bookcase itself is mostly boxed supplies for related crafts. So there is a box of Candle Making Supplies, a box with a Melting Pot and its supplies, a box full of Polymer Clay and one with Bead Roller sets. This shelf also has Encaustic Wax, a Pasta Machine (for polymer clay) and an iron. The boxed supplies are easy to pull off the shelf. When I do, I have all the supplies for that activity in one portable place.

The bottom shelf on this side is mostly for my heavy heat laminator and its pouches (left), Xyron replacement adhesive rolls (along the back), a roll of double-sided adhesive and rolls of packing tape.

One thing you might have noticed in some my stamp area pictures in this series is the floor. Some areas have carpet and others have linoleum tile. We covered all of the tile with carpeting many years ago but the carpet is now very worn. We are in the process of pulling it up and plan to cover the floor in something else – probably something like Pergo laminate. While the carpeting is warm in the winter, I’d like to be able to roll my office chair over to my stamping area more easily when I want to sit down and work there. (I usually stand.) Something besides carpet really makes more sense in a work area where you work with things like ink and paint and water too!

Ok, so would you like to know the best tip for getting your stamping area into shape?

Blog about it.

Seriously. Other stampers would probably love to see how you store your stuff and where you work, either because it gives them ideas for their own space or because it makes them feel better about all the stamping stuff that they have too! And there is nothing like showing the internet your space to get you to clean it up so you won’t feel embarrassed! Talk about motivation!

If you are not into blogging, you could invite local stamping friends to lunch and stamping and to show off your newly reorganized stamping space. Or show someone else who you would prefer to see only your organized best.

However you get yourself motivated to get your space straightened up and working better for you, you’ll love all the supplies you discover in the process and will find yourself motivated to work in your beautiful stamping area!

How do you get motivated to organize your stamping space? How many times over the years have you done a major re-org? What have you learned in the process?

Nancie, VSN

Previous Stamp & Supply Storage Posts:

5 thoughts on “My Stamping Work Space

  1. Thanks for showing us your work space. Maybe this will give me the inspiration I need to reorganize mine! I get it all straightened up and organized — then I make a card or two, and it is un-organized again. I must remember to put everything away when I finish! I use the Iris drawers, and plastic storage boxes and whatever box or container that will hold everything. I am a “scrapaholic” and can’t bear to throw anything away if I think I can use it sometime. AND at my age, you can imagine all the “stuff” I have. Thanks again for your expertise. – Sarah

    1. Hi Sarah, I can relate. But I have learned the hard way that I am more likely to put things away each time if there is a place for everything and that place is easy to get into. If I have to move things around to put something else away, I tend to procrastinate about doing it. Or if a drawer is too full and it is a pain to put things back, I won’t want to do it or add something else to it. It needs to be simple and easy to put things away. For me, spreading things out and leaving room for future purchases and acquisitions really helps.

      Of course, it is also true that mess breeds more mess. Leave something out and that somehow makes it more likely that more things will be left out – kind of like dishes accumulating in the kitchen sink. Leave one glass in the sink and before you know it, every dish in the cupboard is hanging out in the sink! (We don’t have a dishwasher so that reference might not make sense to some folks I guess! LOL) Nancie

  2. hahahahaha, that is how I clean my house, I throw a party! Can’t let folks see my slovenly ways LOL! I think there is no such think as a “perfect setup forever” because as your stash grows and you get involved with other crafts you need to adapt your space. If you get into a certain technique you may devote a type of product to your workspace and rearrange…sometimes I spend more time reorganizing than stamping! I was cleaning my craftroom today while talking to a friend on the phone and I referred to myself as a highly functioning hoarder LOL! The space looks great Nancie, invite us to snoop anytime;)

    1. LOL Lindsay, I do that too. It is so nice after the party when you still have that clean house to enjoy the next day. (Well, after all the dishes are washed, etc.) I agree. I’ve done a major re-org of my craft area several times. You kind of grow out of them over time. But I do think they get closer to perfect each time, as I learn new things about what works for me and what doesn’t. Nancie

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