Stencil Storage Part 1 of 3
It’s time for some Spring cleaning and you may be wondering what is the best way to store your stencils? Truthfully, there is no one answer.
There are many different ways to store your stencils, but finding the right fit for you might depend on the way you create and how you find your inspiration as well as limitations defined by your creative space.
No matter your circumstance, we think we might have some ideas for you. The entire design team here at The Crafter’s Workshop is sharing how they store their stencils and why their methods work for them.
This will be a 3-part series so bookmark now to come back to read all the ideas. Don’t forget to also PIN this post so you can save it for later and share this post with your friends.
We are sure you will find inspiration and the right fit for you. Make sure to leave a comment letting us know which method works for you OR….. do you have another stencil storage idea we didn’t mention and why it works for you.
Cheryl is our Design Team and Educator Coordinator. She has been with us here at TCW for many years. Here is what she shares. *affiliate links
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I use stencils not only in my home studio but also when I’m travel-teaching at scrapbook stores and creative events. I have a very extensive collection of stencils now and find the best way for me to stay organized is to store my stencils by collection in large 12×12 3-ring D binders. TCW usually releases two major collections each year so each collection will fit nicely in one binder. I also save my reference sheets in a separate binder so I can flip through the catalog rather than flipping through multiple binders when looking for inspiration.
I slide each stencil in a page protector and then label the page protector with the TCW product #, the stencil name and the Signature designer’s initials so if I share on social media, I can give them credit when I use a stencil they designed. This helps when I need to create a project or class using a specific stencil and makes locating that stencil quick. Because I also use stencils in most classes I teach, I may have multiples of the same stencil. This storage option allows me to have multiple stencils in the same sheet protector.
Most TCW stencils are 12×12 and 6×6. I used to keep the 6×6 in 12×12 page protectors that had 4 6×6 pockets on each sheet. Unfortunately, I can’t find those any longer. (if anyone knows where to get them, please send me a message 🙂 ). Now I place the corresponding 6×6 behind the 12×12 with a piece of cardstock separating the two so they don’t get tangled and can be removed from the sheet protector easily.
When I am traveling to teach, I place the stencils for each class in a 12×12 clear Artbin Storage Satchel. You can see this in the front left of this photo above. This allows me to add a bit of water to the bin so I can immediately wash any stencils used with modeling paste during the class.
The 6×6 stencils travel in an Artbin SemiSatchel so they don’t get tangled with the larger open stencils.
When I arrive back at my home studio, I refile the stencils in the appropriate sheet protector and binder. I keep the most current collection right near my desk so I’m working with the most current products, but the others are never far away and are always used for inspiration and play.
In my studio, when creating, I also keep a shallow bin nearby with a little water to drop in stencils with modeling paste or some inks. I don’t worry about paints and just let them dry. I’ll admit that I’ll keep my stencils out for a few days before they are refiled and if I’m super busy, they just go in that Art Bin satchel until I can make the time to put them away.
I LOVE my stencils by The Crafter’s Workshop (TCW) and have a couple of ways I store them.
My TCW stencils are stored in a photo box on top of a rolling cart that I have behind me in my studio. The cart is easy to roll up beside me when I am doing a project.
The photo box holds my 6” x 6” TCW stencils and these are my preferred size, as most of my work is in a journal or a card background. I have them organized by theme for the most part, and a file folder cut down to fit the box with a heading of what the stencils are. I have some in packages that I haven’t used yet; and once I use them, they get stored without packaging. I find it frustrating fitting them back onto their respective packages. The new TCW slimline stencils are on their sides in the side of my box.
My other storage for my 12” x 12” TCW stencils is a 12” x 12” plastic box I once used for scrapbook papers years ago. I don’t have a lot of 12” x12” stencils and they are used mostly when I do gel prints. This works well for me at the moment. I have tried using binders for my stencils but this gets too bulky and wonky and drives me crazy!
I also have my large sign stencils from TCW clipped together with a clip and on a pin in my wall.
I don’t mark my stencils with the names, as TCW stencils are always numbered and easy to find in the store when I need to reference them, and add a shop link to a blog post, etc. So far, this system is what works best for me! And most importantly, all my TCW stencils live together!
I like to have my stencils in easy reach on my desk. They appear in everything I create so I need a quick easy system that’s easy to clean up afterward.
I find if it’s too complicated I avoid it and then I have a big mess later and then I avoid going in my studio as I don’t want to clean it!! This system works for me and keeps me organized and tidy-ish!
I have large stencils in a metal tub. They are slightly diagonal just to make them fit correctly. I tend to keep them in their packets if possible as it’s an easy reference for the code and the designer when tagging them on social media. It prevents them from getting tangled together too. If I don’t have the packets anymore it’s not really a problem as all the stencils have the code on them (genius!!) and I just pop them in between other packets to prevent tangling.
I store them in an order that makes sense for the way I create. I often don’t have a plan I just create what comes to me so I need to be able to grab easily mid-creating and as the ideas come. In between each section, I have a sheet of 12×12 cardstock – just to define the subjects. I don’t even label them as I just know in my head the categories. These are:
Front 🖤- any background-making stencils. Eg dots, swirls, grids, graphic patterns. These are the ones I use the most so it makes sense that they’re at the front.
🖤mandalas and doilies
🖤picture/scenes – more specific stencils eg. sea-themed, lighthouse, cow or butterflies
Back 🖤 new longer stencils.
I only tend to clean my stencils if I use pastes. I don’t clean them when using paints or ink. Then I just pop them away in the category. I don’t mind where within the category as long as it’s there I’ll find it if I need it.
I have the same system for my 6×6 stencils – just in a smaller box. These were just tubs I already had at home. I sometimes think it would be nice to have lovely coordinated things but these work just fine.
“I love being able to quickly flip through my stencils and that they’re at easy reach. I know if I put them away in a folder or cupboard I wouldn’t use them. Im a visual person so need to SEE what I have.“
I have a pretty small space but I love it. It’s all mine and I make it work. I fear a large space would mean I never clean up and I’d end up in chaos which would affect my creative flow.
I have limited space within my bedroom so things needs to be within reach and contained.
I store the small stencils by theme in small metal magazine holders, which are placed on my desk, which makes it easier for me to access.
The big stencils are in a big box without classification, I use them a little less.
The long stencils are attached to a coat rack and hung on the wall above my desk. I have no scraproom; everything is in my bedroom, so I need a minimum of organization to find my material.
Don’t Miss Part 2
Make sure to come back tomorrow for Part 2 of this series and more organizing ideas.