Good morning, friends! It's my turn to share a tip or two for this week's Papertrey Ink
Design Team Tips, so I thought I might do a little something different. We all have so many tools, stamp sets, and accoutrements that it can be hard to know how best to corral our favorites so they are easily accessible and always convenient.
So I figured it might be fun to welcome you into my studio and share the ways I keep a few choice selections close at hand. It's time for a mini studio tour!
I'm keeping today's tour confined to the area immediately adjacent to my workbench, but there's plenty to see, I promise! I work standing at this counter-height bench with a customized Ikea Kallax
standing behind me. Let's start at the left side of my workbench and continue clockwise.
Here to my left while I'm working I have three baskets. In the one on the end I keep die cutting plates, metal shims
, embossing pads
, and pre-cut shapes I use as templates when I'm designing cards.
I also keep die cut templates that I use for some of my favorite stamp sets. I use them in my stamp platform to make sure I have proper placement on my die cuts. Holding on to the templates saves me time and paper.
In the next basket I keep a few of my favorite stamp sets (like the Cover Up: Grid
and Background Basics: Super Stripes
), the monthly series that we're working with for the current year (like Sentiment Staples
and Corner Adorner
), and the stamp sets for the current month (I put August away in my big cabinet and I'm hiding September, so this basket looks a little thinner than usual). Storing my favorites and frequently used sets in this basket keeps me from having to go back and forth from my bigger storage which, again, saves me time. More time for stamping!
The third basket, the one nearest to my ink pad storage, holds my Blending Sponge Binder
and sponge handles. The ink pad storage
is from Organize More and I have two stacked on top of one another. They are nicely made and sturdy so I just have them standing on my workbench. There is a wall to support them on the back side, too, to keep them upright. My Stencil Binder
is tucked in next to my ink pad storage.
To the right of my Stencil Binder I have a mini six cube organizer
. Each cube holds something that I use on a regular basis. For example, I have my masking paper and post it notes in one cube, erasers that I use to prime stamps (which I do every
time I use them), adhesives and washi for die cutting, etc.
This cube may not look all that exciting, but in this little tray is my secret weapon. These A2 sheets of scrap paper are the foundation of every card. Sometimes I just sketch out an idea (to scale since I have the pre-cut paper). Sometimes I stamp directly onto the paper. Sometimes I arrange die cuts to see how everything fits and then take a photo with my phone so I don't forget the layout. One way or another, each card starts with these pieces of paper.
On top of that organizer sit three small tins. I bought these at the Target Dollar Spot ages
ago, so I don't know if they still have anything similar, but I love them. The one on the left is for my favorite and most frequently used dies. Some of these are basics that can be used with any stamp set (like my Pierced Feature Frames
or select Mix & Mat dies
) while others are the coordinating dies that go with a favorite stamp set (like the Botanical Bounty
dies). And yet others may coordinate with a stamp set, but I use them independently because they don't require the stamps to make sense (like the Direct Messages Banner Die
or the Banner Style Die
The middle tin is for the current month's dies and the dies that coordinate with a series (like the Words To Live By dies
). I still organize my dies in hanging CD sleeves like I showed HERE
, but the company has since discontinued those fabric boxes, and I am packed to the gills! So I'm working on a new, very similar solution that I will share when I finally finish it. The color coding concept won't change, but the sleeves probably will.
The third tin holds my embossing and pigment powders. I don't have many (this is all of them), but I also don't emboss as much as some of you so this works just fine for me. I like having them close at hand though because if I have to go searching I know I'll talk myself out of embossing. I'm sort of a lazy crafter.
Rounding my desktop corner you see my tool carousel. This is actually a Pampered Chef utensil caddy that we received as a wedding gift nearly 15 years ago. It had outlived its usefulness in our kitchen, so I repurposed it here in my studio. It holds all of the essentials so I never have to go in search of anything. I have all of the pens, paint brushes, scissors, glue pens, Xactos, and scoring tools I could ever want right here at my fingertips. Repurposing something you already own is a great way to save money that you could use on a new tool or stamps, am I right?!
Another repurposed item from my craft show days is this dessert stand that I used to use to display stationery at shows. I keep all of my blocks on the bottom (despite the popularity of stamping platforms I still love blocks and use them every time I stamp) and my wipes and cleaning solution are there on the top. Having these things right here makes it easy for me to clean my stamps more quickly which helps reduce really stubborn ink stains (I'm looking at you, Scarlet Jewel).
Let's take a quick peek under my desk for a moment. I have one of the ubiquitous Raskog
carts from Ikea that I use for extras (like packs of unopened blending sponges) and coloring mediums (watercolors and colored pencils). But I also use S-hooks to hang some other tools that I don't want to have to dig around for should the need arise. My Corner Chomper
come to mind. I have a second ATG handing down here too, but the one I use most often sits on the window sill. This is a back up in case that one ever breaks for good.
My rulers also hang down here. I have a paper trimmer, but I'm just as likely to use a metal ruler and xacto to cut a card base as I am to walk across the room to the trimmer. It's a big room. And I mentioned that I'm lazy, right?
Ok, next up is my paper storage, but let's talk about what lives on top first. There are a handful of tools that I reach for regularly that I want to have within easy reach, but are larger or too cumbersome to keep on my work surface at all times. Those items live here. Namely, my Xyron
, stamp platforms, and the sorter that I use for my unfiled cards.
By sorter, I mean "pot lid rack," but who's counting? This is where finished cards live until I can find the time to mail them or put them into categorized boxes. It keeps them relatively safe and they're easy to find.
Now the paper storage. This is a basic Kallax
from Ikea that I customized with a lot of drilling and a large bag of shelf pins
. The shelves themselves are all 3/16" hardboard that I sweet talked my dad into cutting for me. If you choose to do something like this for yourself, I highly
suggest getting an actual cabinet shop, sawmill, or trusted individual to cut them to size for you. Home Depot will do it for a price, but I've had inconsistent results with their finish work. Forewarned is forearmed, friends.
At the end of that shelf stands a lamp with my beloved foam tape
hanging from the switch (that cord looped through the center is my heat tool). I've been tying and retying the same piece of ribbon to hang my foam tape for several years. It's a great way to use some of that cheapo ribbon you may have purchased in the $1 bin at Michaels because it was a great deal even though it doesn't match anything and isn't even all that pretty. Not that I would do such a thing...ahem. This isn't much to look at, but it's very nice to have them so close. And there we are, back at the beginning!
But of course, no studio tour (no matter how mini) would be complete without a peek at my handsome assistant. Always ready to lend a
paw. There are actually two cat towers in this room, so there are plenty of comfy spaces for my fellas to lounge. Louie just seems to need all the attention he can get lately.
Like I said, this is just the area adjacent to my workbench so I didn't show the full extent of my stamp or die storage. The room is a pretty good size (you've seen maybe
1/4 of it) and it would be a huge time waster if I had to run around to all corners of the space every time I needed something. Having the essentials tucked in around my work surface helps me stay more efficient and focused - and I need all the help I can get! Thank you so much for joining me today. I hope you've picked up some tips and enjoyed this little peek into my studio. Have a wonderful weekend and I'll see you again soon!