Friday, September 26, 2014

Organization for Your Creative Space–Taming Your Stencils


Hi, everyone, today is the first installment of a new challenge for the
MFT design team. We are challenged to organize our creative space and share it with you, our readers. This month the challenge is: Taming Your Stencils and it couldn’t have come at a better time for me. My stack of MFT stencils is growing and I have had to constantly flip through them ALL to find the one I want to use. But not any more!


I have been quietly admiring Jennifer McGuire’s system and decided: why reinvent the wheel. I’ve adapted it to my situation and I’m going to walk you through how I set it up.

In my first photo you can see I am storing my stencils now in a photo box. That’s working better than just in a drawer like before and is fine for now but might change if I find something I like better. It’s lightweight, just the right size, was already on hand, and pretty sturdy nested in the lid. Once I get more stencils, though, it might get too heavy and I’ll need something even sturdier—I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it :)

Since stencils themselves are thin and lightweight, THESE lightweight bags are perfect for storing individual stencils. They are approximately 6 1/4” x 6 7/16” and have a flap seal. I didn’t think that the flap seal was necessary so I trimmed off the seal side flush with the other side to make it pretty much 6 1/4” x 6 1/4” square. To give it some “body” I slipped a piece of THIS inexpensive white card stock, cut just slightly smaller than the bag, into the sleeve before inserting my stencil.


Each stencil bag is labeled with the stencil name. I used a label maker that I already had to make the labels, placed on the upper left corner of the bag.


I’m slowing collecting a second copy of some stencils, and I’m simply slipping them into the back of the bag.


To help me find a specific stencil, I’m filing them behind dividers made from heavy duty file dividers. I thought about card stock but I figured I’d be flipping through these things really frequently and card stock might not hold up to that much use, so I decided to go with something a little stouter. The file dividers I used are similar to THESE folders, but are dividers and not folders—same material, though, and very sturdy. To dress the dividers up a bit, I rounded the top two corners.


I’ve labeled each divider with a category—I’m not sure if I will keep them as they are or not—I’ll have to work with this system for a while and see if additional or different categories would work better for me—it’s a pretty individual thing, I think.

My label maker is an older Brother P-touch and I used THIS 1/2 black on white tape for all of my labels. However, a label maker is not necessary at all—you could simply write the stencil name on the white card stock insert with a marker or pen.


I like how this box is large enough to hold all of my stencils, embossing pastes, AND my palette knives in one place—before, I had the stencils in a drawer, the knives in my tool carousel, and the pastes on a shelf. Now I just reach for my organizer box and it’s all there :)


And there you have it: Organization for Your Creative Space – Taming You Stencils. Thanks so much for stopping by today!

I hope I’ve given you some ideas for taming your own stencils—if you don’t have any yet, you should think about trying them out. They are so versatile—whether you use them for applying color or a texture medium or for dry embossing by running them through your die-cutting machine, stencils provide lots of bang for your buck!

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  1. Yes this is a Great way to get everything in one place... I just LOVE Jennifer McGuire and have been re-organizing my craft room with several of her ideas now for about 6-months.
    Thanks for sharing!!

  2. Hi Barb! I use Jennifer McGuire's storage system for clear stamps and my dienamics! But I've bought the refrigerator bins and I'm pretty sure the stencils don't fit -- but I do love the system, and I do have photo boxes available, I may try Cindy's binder system -- I'll have to check out the other DT members' systems, but so far you and Cindy have excellent systems that are inexpensive and practice as heck!

  3. Great post Barbara! Looks like we think a lot a like! I do like your bags.

  4. Easy & cost effective, love all the supplies organized yet still together!
    God's blessings,
    Sarah :)


Thank you for your kind comments--they make my day and I appreciate every one!