Ten Rules for Your Stamp Room (226 Days of VSN #4)

Stamping Area

226 Days of VSN: Day 4: Today is my fourth “226 Days of VSN post. This time, I was inspired by the Apr ’08 VSN’s “Earth Friendly Techniques” focus article.

While you are the ruler your own creative space, there are rules that every stamper should follow. Here are ten to help make your stamping safer, easier and more successful.

First Three Don’ts:

Don’t Eat or Drink: Having food and drink in your working area can cause two problems. First, it is easy to spill or drip things or mar your project with messy fingers. Second, sprays, loose powders and other art mediums can find their way into your food or drink and most are not something you want to ingest. If you will be working for a while and will want a drink, put it in a covered container and set it down away from your work area.

Don’t Smoke: Many art and craft supplies are flammable; smoking near them can be dangerous. Plus, smoke tends to permeate paper, fabrics and other materials, causing a less than pleasant smell when the recipient pulls the finished card out of the envelope.

Don’t Leave Hot Tools Plugged In: Any tool that could cause a fire or burn someone should be treated with respect while in use and unplugged when you are not using them. This includes things like heat tools, melting pots, soldering tools, irons and wood burning tools. Some stampers like to use a power strip to plug in their tools and make a habit of turning off the power strip at the end of every stamping session.

Now Seven Do’s:

Do Use Good Ventilation: Many things we use in our creative art are not healthy to breathe. Many sprays and paints, some adhesives and many things that you heat, can cause fumes that are toxic to some degree. Make sure that your work area is set up to pull the fumes away from you as you work. (See the Apr ’08 VSN for a Product Picks article on a Fume Trap.)

Do Clean Up Loose Powders: It is easy to get lazy about cleaning up spilled embossing powders, powdered pigments, glitter, etc. But if you don’t clean them up, they can get on your clothes and/or get tracked around your house. A small shop vacuum or Swiffer (or similar) sheets can be handy to keep in the stamp room.

Do Read Product Labels & Directions: It is really frustrating to try to use a product and have it fail miserably. Often though, the fault is not in the product but in trying to use it for something it isn’t designed for or not following required steps. The first time you use a product or when you haven’t used it in a while, take a couple minutes to read the label or directions. It’ll save you time and wasted supplies.

Do Know Where Things Are: There is nothing that happens in the stamp room that gets me in a bad mood faster than not being able to find something I need. It is SO frustrating! It is worth spending a weekend to sort out your stamp room, organize things and put them away. Label everything so that even if you don’t remember which drawer or box or shelf you put something in, you can find it by reading the labels. And even if your typical working style is messy (as mine is), make sure that you at least put away your most often used must-have tools so you can find them. And if you do tend to leave piles of stuff around, at least know what is in each pile.

Do Keep What You Use Close: Think about the tools you use every time you stamp. They should be the closest to your work surface so they are always on hand to use. If you have to constantly walk somewhere else or move things around to find a particular tool or supply, then you should re-think where you store that tool or supply.

Do Work in Good Light: Being able to see what you are doing is important. When working with colors, you want to know that the color you are seeing is the true color. Look for full spectrum natural light bulbs that fit your light fixtures. It really can make a difference!

Do Use Quality Supplies & Store Them Right: That old phrase “you get what you pay for” is very often true when purchasing craft supplies. Get the best quality supplies you can afford. Better quality tools are often easier to use and last longer. Better quality art mediums tend to also be easier to use successfully, have better pigmentation and often last longer too. (Also see the Choosing Quality Supplies Basic mini eArticle.)

The Apr ’08 VSN’s “Earth Friendly Techniques” focus article looks into some of these topics in greater detail. Here is what is inside the issue:

April Cover

April ’08 VSN Earth Friendly Stamp Techniques: Making Choices on the Materials, Tools and Techniques You Use. Avoiding Art Health Hazards, Good Stamp Studio Practices, Choosing Non-Toxic Products, Alternatives, Disposal, Recycling, Reusing and Using Up All Those Scraps! Plus: Fume Trap Product Review and Hot Wax Art Stylus Review. CHA Show Finds, More Thrifty Recyling Ideas, Gesso Paint Uses, Memories Mists Ideas, Shrink Plastic Tips, Alternatives For Temporarily Mounting Oversized Stamps, Punch Shopping, Indexing Cling Film, Erasing Krylon Leafing Pen Ghosting. (32 pg, b/w & color)

~ Nancie

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2 thoughts on “Ten Rules for Your Stamp Room (226 Days of VSN #4)

  1. loved your blog, I a an avid stamper, (since 1989). I have learned a few things here and there; but I have to say that the plastic wrap thing is a new one on me: and I make tissue paper envelopes. I use a dry iron, a hard surface covered in a few layers or newspaper. Then a towel and I roll out the freezer paper using the waxy side up. Then apply the crumpled then smoothed out tissue paper and iron until set. I find it a lot easier and cleaner than I would think using plastic wrap would be. Give it a shot and let me know what you think. Keep up the good work and keep on stamping. Denise Norman

    1. Hi Denise, Thanks for your comment. Yes, the plastic wrap method was really popular for a short time. Then people starting coming up with alternative methods like the freezer paper method. I think that version (the freezer paper) may have originated with quilters. I think they sometimes would iron patterns made from freezer paper onto fabric. On fabric is is temporary and could be peeled off. (I’ve used freezer paper to fuse paper as you have, but I can’t remember if I’ve ever tried it on fabric.)

      Anyway, the plastic wrap method isn’t hard. One interesting thing it does have going for it is that the melted plastic becomes part of the finished tissue paper/base paper sandwich. That made for a more protective envelope. But melting plastic can create fumes, so it isn’t my favorite way of doing things. I’d agree with you that the freezer paper version is neater. (It doesn’t shrink up like the plastic can for one thing and you don’t have to worry about stray melting plastic.)

      I think it’s interesting to have multiple ways of doing things.
      ~ Nancie

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