Storage Tips for Paper Crafting Dies-Magnetic Die Storage & More!
In less than a decade, dies and die cutting machines have completely transformed the paper crafting industry. Industry pioneers like Ellison/Sizzix, Cricut and Spellbinders offered manual and electric cutting machines for years before they began to be more tightly integrated with coordinating rubber stamps, embossing and intricate backgrounds. Now, it is more of the exception rather than the rule that a rubber stamp doesn't have a die that coordinates with it.
As crafters have accumulated more and more dies, the need for storage of these dies for easy access and organization has become as much of a priority as accumulating more stamps and dies. Some stamp and die companies have started to offer their own organization systems and some are even part of their packaging. If you have even two or more sets of dies, it's my opinion it is time to start an organization system so as your die library grows, they're easier to access. Probably one of the biggest reasons to organize your dies is it increases the likelihood that you'll craft with them.
STORAGE & ORGANIZATION TIPS FOR DIES & STAMPS
Adhere to Magnetic Sheets for Storage. All steel wafer dies you purchase on the market will stick to magnetic sheets. I've tried a variety ways before becoming 100% sold on these sheets. You can place each of them out on the sheet so each shape is easy to recognize.
I recommend Stamp N Storage's magnet sheets because they are sturdy (the magnet sheets are backed on a chipboard thickness cardboard) and because they're precut into the most popular sizes that your dies are laid out and shipped in. There are times when I've got a die set has more pieces than fit on one sheet, but I don't fret and just grab another magnet sheet of the same size.
Combine in the same case as any coordinating stamp set. If you bought a stamp and a die that works specifically with it, you should consider keeping them in the same case. Nothing is more frustrating as a crafter to disrupt your creative mojo to have to hunt down the die that goes with the stamp set you're using. Stamps range in their size and many companies package their stamps in different ways. If you're buying photopolymer stamps, no matter what company you buy from should have them in between two sheets of acetate.
Companies like Close to my Heart and Stampin' Up! offer more sturdy and storable cases that you can take out of the shipping box and put on your stamp shelf. Nearly all other companies have your stamps in a cello envelope with a sticky lip. The plastic is usually pretty flimsy and won't last many opens and closes so a more long lasting solution is usually in order. If your photopolymer sheets are 5x7" or smaller, a clear, DVD-like case works great. Often they are thick enough to hold both the stamp set AND the die on a magnetic sheet. Stamp N Storage offers a 3 pack and 10 pack bundle that includes a magnetic sheet and case.
Organize based on how you craft. When you're in the mood to craft, the last thing you want to do is searching for the right dies. Whether your dies are stored with the coordinating stamp or stored by themselves, determine a way that works for you and the way you craft.
Die storage in Container Store acrylic bins and tabs. Dies are stored on magnetic sheets and stored in heavy duty plastic envelopes. Label stickers in the upper left corner with the die company, name of die and number of pieces.
Create a Shadow Sheet. Are you ready for this idea? In many industrial industries, workers use a shadow board that has a shadow where every tool is supposed to go once the worker is done using it. This helps anyone looking for a specific tool know whether it has been 'checked in' or is currently being used by another craftsman.
This organization method uses the same principle-create a way to easily know if all of your tools are returned and that every tool has its place.
Instructions to create a die shadow sheet:
1. Take a Stamp-N-Store magnetic sheet and stamp in white StazOn ink every stamp that has a coordinating die.
2. Consider laying out the dies in the same order and configuration as the stamp set for even easier identification.
3. Let ink dry completely before placing dies on the magnetic sheet.
Note: In order for the dies to lay correctly over the white stamped image, face the cutting edge of each die toward the magnetic die. Stamp-N-Storage's magnet sheets are strong enough to hold the dies with only the cutting edge in contact with the sheet.
Well that about does it! What have you found are the best methods for you to organize your chemically etched dies? Let us know!