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Saturday, March 10, 2012

Stamp storage how-to

I had a blog reader ask what adhesive laminate I used for my clear stamp storage. I used C-line 3 mil cleer-adheer adhesive laminate but I don't know if they make the 3 mil anymore so you could try 2 mil or another brand to get the 3 mil. You don't want anything too flimsy for this method because the stamp sheets will be standing to flip through like files. She had a couple of other questions so I thought the best thing would be to do a sort of tutorial with pics to show how I made my sheets. Sorry, I don't do videos. LOL I kind of explained it the clear stamp storage post but this would probably be more helpful.
I prefer to split up my stamps and arrange by themes, rather than keep stamps together because they came that way. I also like to put my word/phrase ones on one sheet and the images on another, though occasionally sometimes words and images end up together to fill a sheet. Of course, you can arrange however you like. :)
It's a good idea to read through at least the first few steps before you start.

You will need to cut an index card or piece of cardstock the size you want your finished sheet to be. It's your size template. Keep in mind, your laminate will need to be bigger than the finished sheet size. I had made my stamp sheets to fit a certain small container when I had a lot less stamps. So my stamp sheets are only 4 x 5 1/8 inches. With this small size, it worked out that I could cut my laminate sheets into quarters as the laminate was 9 x 12 and a quarter sheet was still half an inch or so around larger than my finished sheet. This is important that you have your laminate sheets cut at least half an inch larger all the way around than your index card/finished size will be. If you're not so good at eyeballing, you may want to allow yourself even an extra inch on each side. Still with me now?

First, remove your stamps from the backing. This serves 2 purposes: 1. it's easier to cut around your image and 2. when you need to peel the stamps off later, it will be easier especially if they are new. They tend to be difficult to peel off the backing they came on. Then cut closely around each image on the backing. (I had the camera in my other hand til I wised up for later pics where I needed 2 hands. LOL)

After you cut around your images, put them back on your stamps. For one, it makes it easier because the stamps will keep the images from sliding around on your index card template. And two, the images will be raised so you won't end up sticking your laminate to the index card. Now arrange your stamps image-side-up on the index card template until you are happy with it. Try to leave a little space between them if you can and definitely at least a quarter inch in from the edge of your template. Your two laminate sides will need to stick to each other. Here are my stamps all arranged ready to be laminated.

Now, remove the backing from your laminate you've cut to size and try to keep your fingers on the edges and carefully apply your laminate to the top of the stamps, sticky side down of course. Bend the laminate so it will touch the middle first and then work it down from the inside out.

Here is my laminate applied to the top. Notice how the laminate is larger than the index card.

With caution, flip over your laminate with the stamps stuck to it. Don't worry about the index card now. It won't matter again until later when you cut your sheet. I just left it in the pics. Carefully pull off your stamps. You may need to get tweezers unless you have a long fingernail to hold the image backing to the laminate while you peel off the stamps because if the stamps are holding to the image backing well, you'll end up pulling the image up.

Once you've removed all the stamps, carefully apply another sheet of laminate on top like you did the first time. Don't rush yourself because now the two sticky sides are coming together. Once applied, rub the laminate all over well. You can even run a fingernail or stylus around each of the image pieces.

Put your laminated images back on top of the index card template. You're going to want to stick some tape on the back of the index card for this so you can stick it to your laminate sheet. Center your cluster of images from the edges like they were when you arranged them on the index card the first time.

Now you can trim your sheets to the right size. Line up the edge of your index card that doesn't have the tape with the cutting groove (or edge of your trimmer if you have a guillotine style). Trim and repeat on the opposite side.

Remove the tape and put it on the trimmed sides to hold your template to your laminate sheet and cut the other 2 sides.

Now you can stick your stamps onto the back sides of your new laminate stamp sheets.

Take a piece of your laminate backing and trim to the finished size. You can do that just by measuring, you don't need your template.

And voila! Here is the finished stamp sheet. The laminate backing keeps the stamps from sticking to the next sheet of stamps behind it.

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