Where do I start?

Just starting with your stamping hobby?  Whether you are into card making or scrapbooking, these six suggestions will help you get going without breaking the budget.

 1. Use what you have

Clean out your drawers and cupboards.  Gather craft supplies from other hobbies to be reused; like string, beads and wire.  Ribbon and buttons from your sewing box make great embellishments.

2. Organise what you have

When you are starting out it is better to invest in good quality crafting supplies rather than storage solutions.  Perhaps you may want to invest in some inexpensive plastic drawers and containers for this purpose.  You will need a few smaller containers with dividers for buttons and embellishments.  As your hobby grows you may have to decide on some better storage options.

3. Store and use your supplies correctly

Looking after your supplies will make them last longer and make the investment in them worthwhile.

  • Stamps should always be cleaned as soon as possible after use.  Never clean rubber stamps under running water.  Use a damp cloth or wet wipes (ensure that wet wipes are not alcohol-based).  Better yet, invest in a good stamp cleaning system like the Stampin' Scrub and Stampin' Mist Stamp Cleaner.
  • Most stamp pads should be stored turned upside down so the ink is on the surface of the pad, ready for stamping.  The Classic Stampin' Pad from Stampin' Up! turn themselves over automatically when you close them, so store these the right-way up.
  • Most ink markers and pens should be stored lying flat.
  • Paper and card should be stored flat.
  • Reserve a pair of scissors just for cutting ribbon and don't use them on paper so they stay sharp.  The Paper Snips are perfect for this job.
  • Read and follow any instructions or suggestions for storage and cleaning listed on the products you purchase.

4. Conserve what you have

Make sure your paper is stored correctly so you don't loose any to creases and wrinkles.  Always cut only what you need and not from the middle; this applies to paper, card and ribbon.  Keep all your scraps.  It is more convenient to store larger scraps of card or paper by colour.  I use a clear-file folder, but I have also seen concertina files and filing drawers used.  Those smaller scraps of paper and card come in handy for punching and embellishing.  Re-roll any unused ribbon onto some stiff card or a peg.  Make sure your working space is free from anything that may mark or spoil your supplies and projects, like drink, food and open stamp pads.

5. Buy quality products

There are cheaper stamps and stamping products on the market than those purchased through Stampin' Up!, but I have learned from first-hand experience that not all stamping products are alike in quality.  Think of your supplies as an investment and choose wisely.  Stampin' Up! stamps are made from quality materials and, if you look after them, they will last for as long as you need them.  Stampin' Up! card stock is of a high standard and is dyed with exclusive colours all the way through, that way if you tear the card you won't see a white core. 

6. Take advantage of specials and cheaper items

Stampin' Up! have regular specials and promotions, so take advantage of these.  Also, the catalogue has many embellishments and accessories that are $20 or under.  There are also a number of versatile stamp sets that are under $45.