Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Alphabet Stamps Storage

Like many stampers, my collection of alphabet stamps continues to grow. The assortment ranges from $1.00 mini sets I pick-up at Michael's and Target to fablulous collections from a terrific sized set from Michelle Ward and large funky sets from MaVinci's to the reliable easy-to- find & use sets by Hero Arts. Many of these are unmounted because it is much more economical to sell in this fashion as apposed to mounting them on wood. Some stampers like to store their unmounted rubber in binders. I have found I don't access them as readily, I even find I do the same with the clear stamps I have been collecting. My tried and true way of stamping is using wood mounted. It feels better to me and I can work much quicker with a hands-on, technique. A 'Grab and Go' sort of thing! One of the great tips for mounting alpha sets is to use the mini square wood blocks found at craft stores. They come in quantity, in a bag. I use the regular craft foam as a cushion and mount them on the blocks. And also, like many stampers, I store them in an acrylic frame....which I buy on sale at AC Moore, (gargage sales are a good source for these too). Using the different sized frames depending on my needs. My only problem was the blocks of wood would roll over I could never see the index of the stamp, which is really the fastest way to use them. I would spend too much time fumbling throught them looking for a letter. Well, you stampers know the routine. So I decided to try an idea I had, to store them at an angle, so when they go back in the frame, I can easily see what and where they are and they stay put. Long story....but this is what I came up with. Using chipboard which I recycle from used paper pads, I measures a strip of chipboard about 2.5" wide (size does not have to be precise), the length was the the width size of the frame, (at the risk of confusing you.....I found much of the cardboard from my old art paper pads were the same width as the frames, so all I had to do was cut the 2.5" width). Then, measuring with a C-Thru I would score that strip down the middle, cutting through most of the board, but not completely. Fold it over and you have a mountain to insert in the acrylic frame. I reinforced the underside (valley fold) with a bead of hot glue. Place it in your tray and toss in your alphabet blocks and watch them stay in place. Oh, what's that? What are the pink mountains in the frame you see? Well, like with many things in life and art, I over-thought this idea and first tried it by making the mountain fold and securing it with a lot of masking tape onto a base (look closely) underneath. Then, I had to paint it pink....I think the paint was just therapy I unconciously needed after struggling to make these chipboard mountains harder than they needed to be. Of course after the initial pink ones were made I let them sit for many days, avoiding making more of these PITA's (pain-in-the-ass). Then after I 'let go of the process', it hit me.....just do it with two easy strips. Whew!! I am very happy with my mountains and intend to do more after I mount the many other alpha sets I have in binders.

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