Storing Dies – Solving a Paper Crafter’s Dilemma

I love dies!  They are a great tool, but there are so many on the market you can go bonkers and end up with a storage dilemma!

I  use lots of Spellbinders and I love the dies that Memory Box, Poppy Stamp, Couture Creations and My Favorite Things put out.  I have some Sizzix too, but not many.  I find the size and thickness of those other Tim Holtz dies too problematic to store, so though I have a couple I no longer buy them.

The dies I do buy are thin.  They may be thin, but they are weighty.

When I first starting using dies, about six or seven years ago now,  I kept them in their packets in a small box.  I kept buying more dies [all paper crafters know it is addictive!] and they graduated to a large shoe box or two, where they got all muddled up and I spent more time hunting for what I wanted then actually die-cutting.

About two years ago they found themselves being fitted onto magnetic sheets and being stored in a purpose built plastic case.  Which the growing number of them soon out-grew. This solution was also problematic – the cases are pricey and the specially shaped magnetic sheets are also pricey.  The cases hold a finite amount of dies and do not hold the larger ones at all [Spellbinders ‘Grands’ for example.]

Their next home was an apartment building of 3 hard cover large ring binders, still attached to their magnetic sheets and each sheet individually encased in a plastic sleeve.

That seemed to work better than any of the previous scenarios, but the weight of the combined dies in each folder made for two problems.

1: hoisting the folders down from their storage shelf and back up again [I’m short and leaning over the work bench and reaching up to the shelf with weighty things can be fraught in a crowded working space – if you drop a folder it breaks stuff!]

2: the weight was tearing the plastic sheets away from the binding holes, making the folders unstable and searching for items more difficult.

There was still also the issue of searching through weighty pages of dies to find the one I was looking for.

Then a couple of weeks ago someone in my local Freecycle group advertised 30 new, empty DVD cases to give away.

I was on the phone like a shot!

When I got to the house to collect the cases the lovely man asked me how many I wanted.  “All of them” I said – meaning ‘all thirty.’ and explained what I wanted to do with them.  He swooped up two boxes and carried them to the car.  When I got home I discovered I had ninety new, empty DVD cases.


Here’s a shot of about forty of them:

Die Storage 2

All beautifully and tidily lined up, labelled and categorised.   Every Virgo’s dream  🙂

Some of the fronts even have a picture of the contents, others just a list.

Die Storage 5

Open one up and take your pick – this is a selection of my favourite embellishment type dies::

Die Storage 3

This is a Sizzix set of stamps and dies – most recently used in the making of the ‘Box to Book’ project:

Die Storage 4


No more hunting through pages of heavy dies – now a quick peruse down the spines and Hola!  there is the one I want to use!

Die Storage 1

I love my little mannequin posed there – he ever so slightly reminds me of C-3PO out of Star Wars ….. Perhaps I should paint him – is it silver or gold, I can’t remember – what do you think?

There is now one remaining large folder housing the  aforementioned ‘Grand’s’ and a couple of extra long lace edge dies from Couture Creations.  Not a problem with just six pages to sort through.

The remaining DVD cases are now being utilised to store acrylic and unmounted rubber stamps – still in progress.

And there we are my friends, one less dilemma in the creative space   🙂  It is working really well and is encouraging me to use my dies more often as they are so easily accessible!

Thanks for dropping by today, I love that you did!

Order Restored

I worked like a mad woman – but it still took several hours to sort, re-catagorise, move around and move around some more.  When I at last found my desk tops they were filthy – covered in dust from all the edge sanding that has gone on in preparing my box to look like an old book.  Also I had been cutting out some intricate dies that left a layer of minute confetti sprayed across all surfaces….. and, lets face it, it got away on me  I’ve been on a series of creative binges without stopping to clear up in between projects.

I’m a Virgo for heavens sake – we like organised and we like clean!!

Anyway – here’s some pics, can you see the difference?

The long shot - notice the tower of boxes is missing?

The long shot – notice the tower of boxes is missing?

The back desk - usable space for sewing, die cutting, hot gluing and more...

The back desk – usable space for sewing, die cutting, hot gluing and more…

Major sort out in this corner.  Now all stamps, dies, patterns and papers are accessible.

Major sort out in this corner. Now all stamps, dies, patterns and papers are accessible.

Craft Room 8 Cleaned

We have clear working space again ………….. and even Orlando is happy – though he leapt off his chair when he saw the camera coming towards him – modest chap!

Chaos In The Creative Space!

Especially for Casey [Junquemail Contessa – please do take a look at her blog] who showed her neat and tidy creative space and who keeps on creating despite living through an extremely anxious time………. a quick peek at my playroom – in comparison, a complete disaster area:

View From The Doorway

The tower of boxes to the right hold an assortment of books, CD’s, DVD’s and assorted kitchen paraphernalia and other unrequired items waiting to go somewhere else ……..All been sitting here since the big kitchen clean up about three months ago …..

[A quick aside: I like the light coming through the window – winter on a cloudy day]

The Desk - it's here somewhere .....

The Desk – it’s here somewhere …..

….ah, yes, you see –  there’s about 10 square centimetres of working space left…..

Craft Rm 3 May 13

See those empty file folders on the chair [Orlando’s Chair!] they have been there for about three weeks, waiting to be utilised as stamp and die storage – see the files on the shelf to the left – bulging and overstuffed [folders and shelves] and there’s no room for more folders ……. and the boxes on the floor with all the art supplies higgledy-piggedly.  It all needs a good sort out!  No room for Orlando either – no wonder he’s cross with me!

Cross Orlando 1

Craft Rm 4 May 13

And lastly, the storage area, probably the least messy part of the room, but that’s because I had a bit of a clean-up here a few days ago on account of not being able to access the papers in the lower cubby……

So the rest of today will  may be spent cleaning this up – I really need to make more working space – but there’s a big pile of ironing and the whole house needs a vacuum …..

I’ve been spending way too much time reading blog posts and not nearly enough time on my own life!

Hope that made your day Casey – feel proud!  Be well!

Hello! My First Blog Entry


About me: My children are grown, my job came to an end and I decided to live a simple life, doing – where ever possible –  only things that make me happy.  I have a craft room, a cat and my freedom.  What more could I ask for? 

The cat is a rather handsome and somewhat over indulged Maine Coon named Orlando King -he has his own pinterest page, truly, go have a look. He is commonly called ‘Tig’ after Winnie-the-Pooh’s Tigger on account of his bounciness when he was young. The name doesn’t really matter though as he comes when whistled. He has become quite wise in his middle-age, though is still rather fond of roof-tops and has spent considerable time over his years stuck on them.

I blame this all on my daughters as they have both declined to give me grandchildren to spoil, all I have left is the cat!