Guest Author - Sarah Roop
Organization is one of the most important things you can have in your studio, whether that studio consists of a large room with a view (such as my new room - finally!) or a small portion of a closet and your kitchen table. You will find that the more organized your tools are, the more you can let your imagination flow and the more you can create.
There are a number of tools I use in my studio, both to protect my projects and keep my tools both organized and in top condition. I will be covering my favorites of these.
The first product I want to cover, and one of my favorites is the EZ Mount system It is a simple wonderful way to save a huge amount of space in your studio. It allows you to unmount any existing mounted stamps you have and make them compatible with the new acrylic blocks. If you look at your mounted stamps you will find that only about 20% of the stamp is the actual rubber portion you actually need, the rest is the wood block. The first thing you have to do is carefully unmount the stamps. If they do not come off easily for you simply put them in the microwave, rubber side up, for about 30 seconds. This will soften the adhesive and allow the stamps to come off quite easily. There are very few stamps I have found this does not work like magic with. With many stamps I have even trimmed the rubber just on the outside of the design. You will then be able to see your placement through the acrylic block quite easily. Then you take the adhesive foam and adhere the rubber stamp to it. Trim the foam to the same size and shape as your stamp. The back side of the foam has a coating which will temporarily stick to the acrylic and allow you to stamp as well as ever, if not better. The kit also has binder pages which can hold your new EZ mount stamps. I now have 3 large binder full of stamps, but it takes less than a tenth of the space I used before.
The second tool I cannot live without is Ranger Industries' "Perfect Ink Refresher". This amazing stuff comes in a spray bottle and does exactly as the name implies. It refreshes your ink pads. I have found it works extremely well with both dye and pigment ink pads. I have not tried it yet with chalk ink pads, but it does not work well with the Pearl Ex pads (which I really think is the fault of the pads and not the ink refresher. They never worked well to begin with). This is not a re-inker, but a solution which will re-moisten pads that still have ink but have dried out somewhat.
I also have a small clear T-Square I got at Michael's in their fine art section. It is about 8 inches long and allows for perfect placement of stamps what you need lined up exactly.
I have several Rubbermaid storage carts with the semi clear drawers lining my one wall, each drawer designated for something in particular, such as Adhesives, Decorative Scissors, Punches, Embellishments, Embossing Enamels, Stickers, etc. The drawers are all labeled so things are easy to find.
For more organized storage I invested in 72 (yes, that is not a typo) photo boxes. In these I have things such as glass paints, glass drops, Adirondak Inks, Envelopes - everything but pictures! (I am a digital girl) Keep your eyes open for these as they do go on sale quite often at craft stores. I found mine for $1.00 each. They stack neatly, have a space for labeling, and come in almost any color or design.
Keep you eyes open, there may be something great you find you can re-purpose for a great stamping tool or organizational help.
For more information about the EZ Mount System visit Kris Thomas Creations