My Studio – Stampapalooza!

First, there were wood-mounted rubber stamps — and a LOT of them!!

Slatwalldisplay_2I had them stored, one set/stamp deep on shelves so I could see everything.  My rationalization was that I could not create if the stamps weren’t right in front of me.

Drywallcornersmd_1This led to MORE shelving and MORE shelving – including the metal drywall corners,  which while an inexpensive solution — really marred up the wall and STILL the collection was growing.  Do we stop buying stamps?  Of course not!  I had four walls of wood stamps staring at me at one point…

But something was happening in the stamp industry which made my life easier, and changed my system of stamp organization: clear, acrylic photopolymer stamps came to market.  Lightweight, less expensive and easier placement, along with the ability to correct mistakes.  What a revolution!  Companies like Technique Tuesday, My Sentiments Exactly, Stampendous and Close To My Heart led the fray into this new territory.

I quickly sold off a lot of my wood-mounted rubber stamps in a "Super Bowl Block Blowout".  This allowed me to thin out my collection of stamps, at least those that I wasn’t using very often — and even at a discount, I was pretty much getting enough money per set to purchase a different set, in the clear format.

UnmountedBut this does not mean that I don’t have rubber stamps in my collection.  I do.  When you love an image, you just don’t care what format it comes in.  So for my rubber stamps, I unmount them from their wood pieces, or purchase them as unmounted rubber. 

There are many systems for temporarilly mounting rubber stamps.  I use EZ Mount, cling mount system for acrylic blocks by Sunday International.  You can also purchase this at local stamp stores or websites like Blockhead Stamps.  Simply place your wood mounted rubber stamp in the microwave (yes, even the microwave has craft purposes) for 10 seconds and follow the directions on the site listed above.  In the picture, I show the space taken up by five unmounted stamp sets, compared to the five storage boxes that use to contain their wood-mounted counterparts.  Any questions?  You are free to buy more stamps!  LOL!

BennoshelvesSo how do I store the stamps?  I have Benno Wall / DVD shelves from Ikea.  I place the stamp sets into clear 6×6 envelopes.  Either the 6×6 Paper Taker ones from CTMH or the 6×6 clear envelopes from www.clearbags.com.  I put these in either the Stamp Organizers from CTMH or Sterlite Show Offs, #1892 which I find at Wal-Mart.  The difference between the two is the CTMH one has a closeable lid and are therefore stackable.  The Sterlite ones have a lid, but they aren’t tall enough for me to place the stamps inside and use it.  I use a combination on purpose because I have wood-mounted sets that are taller than, or unmounted and they fit nicely in this, now and after unmounting.  Either solution is good.  The CTMH ones are more portable in a tote.

Other large sets, such as the absolutely necessary large alphabets are stored in a 3-ring binder style system which I will cover in the Embellishments discussion.

Throughout the year, I have been unmounting all of my wood-mounted sets, even the big background stamps.  Give me room to buy more.  LOL!  I do have to say that ACRYLIC stamps are always my first choice though.  And reports from last year’s CHA show and Memory Trends indicated that about 90% of the companies represented were putting out stamp images in photopolymer / acrylic form.  So if you like the art available from companies such as KI, Chatterbox, and with artists like Rhonna Farrer / Autumn Leaves – you are gonna have to go clear, m’dear.  Hero Arts has great monogram letters with matching words in acrylic too; so the wood-mounted folks are making clear stamps when they make sense, design-wise.  Even Prima Flowers is getting in on the act!  Here is a little sampling:

from ClearsmallPrima:

Clearki_1 …and KI Memories:

That said, there are still companies that are offering clear stamps that are NOT photopolymer, and while the name of the material they are using escapes me; I will say that it is the snap apart, cut apart and doesn’t stick stuff that you see from the company that puts out Anna Griffin’s stamps, and unless they have changed, all the Inkadinkadoo stamps – which is really a shame, because the images are nice for some of their artists’ lines.

And to revisit rubber for a moment, I haven’t purchased from them in a few years, but I liked TAC’s rubber stamps because at least at the time, you could purchase their stamps with pricing as EITHER wood-mounted, or they came with EZ Mount.  This way, you would pay for the system of your choice.  Oftentimes though, I fall in love with a wood-mounted stamp and end up unmounting it and putting it on EZ Mount anyways.  So I’m sorta paying a

LOT

for a rubber stamp if that option isn’t available to me.  But then again, if you love the image – you don’t care!  I’m certainly loving the BIG BLOSSOM in Stampin’ Up’s Sell-a-Bration sets.  May have to get it…

Don’t you love a system with room to grow?

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