September 17, 2005

Save $$ - Unmounted Rubber Stamps

Purchasing unmounted rubber stamps is by far cheaper than buying mounted rubber stamps. Of course, then comes the problem of how to mount them and what material to use. Below are two options for mounting rubber stamps. At the bottom of the page I've added my own CHEAP & EASY method.

Mounting on Wood

What you need:

  • wood mount 1/4" larger than the stamp die
  • unmounted rubber stamp
  • double stick foam mounting cushion
  1. Peel off one of the protective sheets from a piece of mounting cushion. Press the stamp die onto the cushion. Trim close to the image with a sharp scissors angling the cut away from the die. The black cushion should extend beyond the die slightly.
  2. Remove the remaining piece of protective backing from the cushion. Firmly apply to the wood block.

Mounting on Acrylic

What you need:

  • acrylic mount slightly larger than the stamp die
  • unmounted rubber stamp die
  • double stick foam cushion mounting & cling vinyl
  • OR EZ-Mount Cling Mounting Foam

  1. Peel off one of the protective sheets from a piece of mounting cushion. Press the stamp die onto the cushion. Trim close to the image with a sharp scissors angling the cut away from the die. The black cushion should extend beyond the die slightly.
  2. Remove the protective backing from the cushion. Apply the stamp die/foam cushion to the cling vinyl.
  3. Trim the vinyl to the size and shape of the cushion.
  4. Temporarily mount the stamp die onto the acrylic mount. The stamp die will "cling" to the acrylic mount surface.
  5. If the stamp die doesn't cling well, clean both the surfaces of the cling vinyl coating and the acrylic mount with window cleaner and dry well.

My Cheap and Easy Method

For small unmounted stamps:

  1. Take your stamps to Micheal's Craft store, or any craft store that has a bin full of mounted rubber stamps for .50 - $1.
  2. Find a mounted rubber stamp the same size or a little larger than the one you need to mount.
  3. Buy the mounted rubber stamp.
  4. Buy a sheet of double stick foam cushion mounting.
  5. Peel the unwanted rubber stamp and mounting material off of the wooden block.
  6. Trim your unmounted rubber stamp.
  7. Cut a piece of double stick foam cushion to fit your unmounted stamp.
  8. Stick your unmounted rubber stamp to the cushioned foam.
  9. Stick the cushioned foam to the wood block.
  10. Stamp the image on a piece of white paper then use clear packing tape to adhere it over the original image on the wood block.

For Larger Rubber Stamps: If you can't find a wood mounted stamp large enough in the dollar bin, buy a one, or a large lot if you want extras, of ugly, cheap wood mounted rubber stamps from a thrift store, rummage sale, or from someone on eBay. Follow directions above.

September 05, 2005

Frugal Crafter - Cheap & Easy Storage

I like to think of myself as frugal when it comes to crafting. I've visited enough scrapbook supply stores to know that the mark-up is over the roof. Craft stores chains, like Michael's, JoAnn Fabric's, and Hobby Lobby, are a bit cheaper than a specialty store. Even most larger chain department stores now have a scrapbook supply isle and carry supplies at a bigger savings over the specialty or chain craft store, but selection is often limited. Fortunately, I live near a Crafts 2000 superstore (there are only 3 stores nationwide) and their prices are unbelievably low - on the average, about 60-75% less than what you would pay at Michael's, but I've found even more ways to save money and will share my tips each week.

Before I begin handing over my budget crafting secrets, we need to talk about storage. Storage and organization is a must. Once you discover how many things you can reuse and recycle, you'll want to save everything, and you're going to need to be able to find what you've saved. If you can't find something, and have to rebuy that item, you've wasted money.

The dollar store is a great place to buy smaller sized plastic bins and containers. For larger storage pieces, watch the store ads for sales.
Over-the-door, clear vinyl shoe organizers work great for larger items - and the clear vinyl allows you to easily see what is in the pouch. There are also over-the-door spice racks and pantry type shelves that can be used to store larger items.

If you have a lot of small craft items, like beads or charms, I would suggest a trip to the hardware store to pick up one of those compartment storage boxes with the clear, see-thru drawers, the kind used to store nuts, bolts, screws and washers. I bought the one pictured, 10x10 inch, for $6 and am able to easily organize and find my smaller crafting items. Looking back, I wish I would have bought a much larger storage box. Maybe I can pass this one off to my husband if I find a larger one on sale. If you want to save the $6 use styrofoam egg cartons to store small embellishments.

Over the course of a few months, I purchased three plastic storage carts on wheels when I found them on sale. When I bought my first cart I thought one would be enough. HA!! I was surprised that I had filled it within minutes, and in truth, I could probably use three more. I prefer the carts with wheels because I can pull them close to my work space and don't have to keep getting up from my chair to find something. Since the drawers are deep, and I had a lot of smaller items to put inside, I used clear plastic containers, bins, baskets, and cutlery drawer dividers to help organize my things. I also have a three drawer bin on wheels that measures 30 inches tall by 18 inches wide that I use to store larger and heavier items.

I have a lot of ribbon. Whenever I needed it, I would have to dig through plastic storage bins to find what I wanted, and of course, the ribbon I wanted was always on the bottom. I came up with a solution for my most used ribbons. I purchased a cafe rod and two large, heavy duty hooks. Now you may be asking yourself "Why the huge hooks?" You need clearance from the wall for your ribbon and the hooks that come with the cafe rod are not long enough. Screw the hooks into the wall and make sure they are level, otherwise your ribbon will be leaning downhill. Most ribbon spools have a hole in the center, for the spools that didn't, I made a hole. I took the cafe rod apart and slid the ribbon spools on it. Once full, I put it back together and laid it across the hooks. Now my ribbon is in a handy spot. It rolls off the spool and I cut the length I need. No need to dig through boxes anymore.

Just as I would dig through bins to find ribbon, I did the same to find a rubber stamp. I looked through catalogs for a storage solution. I didn't find anything particularly for rubber stamps, and what I did find, that I might be able to convert and use, was expensive. Instead, I went to the lumber store and bought 8 pieces of 2 inch wide, 24 inch long, 2.5 inch deep, pre-cut boards. I measured out where I wanted to place my shelf boards and then used screws to hold the whole thing together. This project cost less than $15 and took less than 30 minutes to make. Now, instead of digging through boxes I can easily find the rubber stamp I need.

Next post I'll discuss trash to treasure embellishments and crafting items.