Today, I’m excited to share some new things in my studio. Although I have not shared my current space with you all, I thought my die organization may be something you can find helpful. There are so many ways to store and organize dies and I have tried a few, but so far, this method is working for me. It combines a few of the popular die organization methods I have seen. You just have to find what is best for you and your space and this is what I came up with…
I really enjoy having my supplies at my fingertips on my work table. I like to see certain products and since my die cutting machines are always out, I figured my die collection should be as well. I really like library drawers and have had this one for nearly a year before I figured out the perfect use.
Originally, my Papertrey Ink dies were left in their original plastic package, but it started to become a challenge to locate the die I wanted to use and I started to fear I would lose some. My next big organizational change consisted of taking adhesive backed magnet sheets and adhering them to chipboard (to make it sturdy). I intended to add these magnetic sheets into a binder of some sort, but never got around to that. I simply placed them in one of those fabric bins you can find at Target and flipped through them. Dies were all over each page, wherever I could find a space for it. So, there was no real organized method. They would also fall off easily and the magnet sheets would of course stick together.
I really liked the concept of using CD paper sleeves to hold the dies because it allowed you to flip through and not lose them. However, I wanted a quicker way to get to the die. I also did not want to waste the time and investment I put into the magnetic sheets. This is how my library filing system was created. It was as if it fell out of the sky! I’m probably not the first person to use this method, but I thought I’d share anyway.
I trimmed each 8.5 x 11 magnet sheet to 4 x 6. I placed die sets on each side or one set on both, depending on sizes, shapes, and quantities. To prevent each sheet from sticking and also to help with identifying each die, I purchased index guides and labeled them by name. Although the dies names are not in alphabetical order, they are all there and can be located. I can flip through and browse, pull out a magnet sheet, keep all my dies in their proper place, and know exactly where to return that magnet sheet when I’m finished – making clean up so easy.
Since the magnet sheets are front and back, I also labeled the index guides in the opposing direction. This allows me to store so many more dies in one library drawer.
When cutting the 8.5 x 11 magnet sheets into 4 x 6 sheets, you have some scraps. Instead of wasting them, I thought to use them to store the smaller dies. I labeled the index guides to show two dies on each tab.
Here is a photo of the 4 x 6 sheet storing Simply Jane. All of the dies did not fit comfortably on one side, so the remaining dies in this collection are on the reverse side.
We all know when die cutting, sometimes we have extra. We love to save to use for another project, so I am in the process of adding envelopes to each filed collection which allows me to store the extra die cuts. My plan is to check the envelope first before die cutting again. I had to trim a bit off the top of the envelope so it fit comfortably in the drawer without interfering with my browsing and it works!
You may be wondering about my border (and larger dies). For the time being, I have kept the border dies on an 8.5 x 11 magnet sheet in one of those fabric bins near my die cutting machines. This works great. I used to have magnetic knife holders from Ikea (called Grundtal) in my old studio, but I never quite found a space for them in my current studio. They are really great and I highly recommend installing them in your space. They used to be about $9 at Ikea, but it has been 4 years since I purchased them.
My other larger dies are placed on larger magnet sheets about 6 x 8 or so. You can see them sticking up at the end of the library file in the first photo. I also stored my impression plates in the library file. They fit perfectly there. I still need to make labels for my index guides. Speaking of…here is a photo of the supplies…
To the left are a few 4 x 6 magnet sheets I cut. They are double-sided with chipboard in the center. To the right are plain index guides.
I used this label maker to print names for the index guides. I purchased this at Office Depot because my really older label maker (from high school) finally decided to rest.
And here is an empty library drawer. I had to invest in a new one because as you can see my first one is at full capacity. I have plenty more dies to organize, including all of my Spellbinder dies. I can’t wait until this project is completed!
If you like this method, but travel with your dies or like to stow them away, then an index card holder would work great too, as opposed to the library drawer.
I hope this post helps you with your die organization. It is definitely worth the time and investment. Creating with them now is so much easier because I can find them quickly. Below, are a few links to where I found my supplies. Take care!Esselte Index Card Guides Chipboard Sheets Library Drawer Magnet Sheets
Updated to add the following:
I had a few questions about my die organization, so I thought I would clarify a few things here.
- I use a Tonic trimmer to cut the magnet sheets and chipboard. It takes a bit of muscle if the magnet sheets and chipboard are adhered together. I recommend making 4 x 6 cuts of magnet sheets and chipboard separately prior to adhering them together.
- The magnet sheets I use are from Oriental Trading and are linked in the original post. All other supplies are linked there too!
- To make each page durable, I cut two 4 x 6 magnet sheets and one 4 x 6 chipboard sheet. Then, I adhere them together with a magnet sheet on each side of the chipnboard. In the photos, I used black chipboard, so it may look like a thick magnet sheet, but it is the sandwich of sheets as described above. The chipboard sandwiched between two magnet sheets makes it sturdy and prevents the dies from falling off easily.
- The blue index guides are separate and only used as a divider between each page. Nothing is adhered to the index guide, except the label on the tabs.
I also posted a video demonstration of the die organization system I created.