Tuesday, January 20, 2015

5 Days to An Organized Craft Stash–Day Two: Stencils


Welcome to Day 2 of MFT’s 5 Days To An Organized Craft Stash feature. Check out the MFT Blog to see what designers are participating today and how you can win this prize package—there’s a different one every day so don’t miss a single chance to win some MFT goodness!


Today we’re organizing stencils. I love stencils—you can sponge ‘em, you can ink ‘em, you can do two kinds of embossing with ‘em—the biggest bang for your buck in Stampingdom, IMO.

Here’s how I store my stencils now.


Not only are my stencils all together and organized according to a theme, I keep some of the basic products I use with them in the bin as well: an assortment of embossing pastes, my MIX-ables Shimmer Mists, palette knives, and a couple other mixed media items.  

I currently have them in an InterDesign Storage Bin up on a shelf, where they are pretty easily accessible, but it is a little heavy so my DH is going to add another pull out shelf for it to the bottom of the cabinet in which I store my stamps.



My system was heavily influenced by seeing Jennifer McGuire’s system—why reinvent the wheel, right? Since stencils themselves are thin and lightweight, lightweight bags are perfect for storing individual stencils. The ones I use are approximately 6 1/4” x 6 7/16” and have a flap seal—you can find them HERE. 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 inexpensive white card stock, cut just slightly smaller than the bag, into the sleeve before inserting my stencil.


HOWEVER, the bag in which MFT stencils are packaged are PERFECT for storage, IMO. Just trim the top off, slip in the card stock, label, and voila! Instant packaging!

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. The reason I have a second copy is some inks will stain the stencils and I don’t want that transferring to my project if I use it for dry embossing. So one copy is for inks, embossing pastes, etc., and the second is for dry embossing.


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. My dividers are made from these Pendaflex heavy weight file guides that I purchased at Office Max. 


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. MFT has a downloadable file that you can print on your printer using stock labels for every MFT stamp set, Die-namics, and stencil available. How awesome is that!! You can find them HERE in the resources section at the MFT Blog.


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 are a bargain!

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  1. Barbara, can you share that handy hubby? LOL. I see that I need to reorganize my stencils and other products that I use with them. Thanks for the tips.

  2. I am just loving all this organizing, Great ideas.

  3. I love that you have all the supplies in one bin.

  4. You are right about reinventing the wheel, Jennifer has done so much to help us with storage ideas, I'm still working on the stencils area and it's growing too fast, I just wish they would come out with one or two at a time. I like too many things. TFS

  5. Appreciate your sharing your storage system for stencils. I had actually started organizing my stencils a bit ago. Bought page protectors to use, then decided I like the packaging they were already in from MFT. As you suggested I just cut the top off, left the MFT cardboard packaging, and inserted vivid colors of copy weight paper to highlight the design. And I had typed up my own labels. Super easy. Now on to my stamps and die collections.

  6. I love that you hubby makes you pull out shelves, so awesome!! Love that it is all together in one container.

  7. I would love to have stencils...none yet in my stash. They look so fun!

  8. One thing I don't have is a label maker and I know, I NEED it! I tell my hubby that all the time with my craft stuff! LOL


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


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