Die Organization

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. You can purchase the label maker here. I use this tape in the label maker.

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 >>>updated source
Chipboard Sheets
Library Drawer >>> updated storage box solution
Magnet Sheets >>> updated cost effective source

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.

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  • Nancy Guse - Ashley, this is truly wonderful idea!!! This is the first die storage idea that looks good and looks like it is friendly to use. You have great ideas keep them coming.ReplyCancel

  • Susan T - Love this system. Thanks for sharing. I agree…need to have these ready to go!!ReplyCancel

  • Kathi - OMG!! I just did this a week ago! Used the pressboard guides, vent cover magnet sheets, label maker but used a photo box for the storage because I transport my dies to a friends house every week.ReplyCancel

  • Melissa Shea - Nice work! I love that idea and your dies still look pretty! I have to have my goodies out to see also. Thanks for the ideas and photos!ReplyCancel

  • Angela Carter - Such a great way to store your dies. I’m definitely going to be doing this in my room. Thanks for the inspiration.ReplyCancel

  • Karen Spaiches - I love your idea and just ordered the library trays (I love the look of this) and the magnet sheets. I have been searching for something to organize my stash and this is perfect! I may try to do something on this order for the new stamps too! Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Diana Albright - You’re a new addition to my Google reader, and I just love your blog! I was stoked to see this post on die organization because I am constantly in fear that I will either lose dies or buy the same ones more than once because I don’t quite have a handle on what I have. This is such a fabulous idea! Though I must admit I am rather jealous of your die collection. Thanks so much for sharing this idea!ReplyCancel

  • jeannine - this is a great idea. thanks for sharing.ReplyCancel

  • Mary Gill - Thanks! I actually have some magnetic sheets but never thought of using them like this! I’m going to get busy!ReplyCancel

  • SueB - Can you come and stay with me for a while? Love your storage idea. I don’t have nearly as many dies but I have many and I have to fish through all of them in a plastic container until I find the right one.ReplyCancel

  • Marybeth Lopez - This is such a big help Ashley! I was wondering what to do. I was just searching the forum to see what everyone else was doing. Thanks so much for you ideas.Did you state where you got the magnet sheets? What about the library drawer, where did you get that? Sorry i have so many questions. By the way I love the glitter buttons I think I will always us this now that I have the correct glitter, first one looked like metal, lol
    Take Care and ThanksReplyCancel

  • Marybeth Lopez - I saw the link at the bottom of the page. ThanksReplyCancel

  • Susan - Wonderful ideas for organization Ashley! Thank you so much for sharing – I will be incorporating your ideas for my die stash.ReplyCancel

  • Nancy Lempinen - Ashley how kind of you to share your organizational skills with all of us, I love this idea. I too have purchased magnetic sheets, but wasn’t completely happy with them as they seem to only “hold” on one side. Obviously the ones you purchased are different, can you tell me the make of the magnetic sheets you purchased, yours also look thicker in the photo than mine.
    Thanks for great tips!ReplyCancel

  • DIANA L. - Thank you for coming by to visit me on my blog. It was an honor. I loved the video you did on glitter buttons. This is a great way to organize the dies, thanks for sharing. I do not have nearly that many (PTI) dies. Right now I can keep track, great way to start out.ReplyCancel

  • Brenda Hall - Hi Ashley, First of all, I love your website! You inspire me! I ordered all of the supplies to create this die organization system. Thanks for the tip! Currently I have my dies in the container with each coordinating stamp set. It is okay but not perfect. Excited to try your idea!ReplyCancel

  • Tracey C. - Love this! I have a similar system, in a photo box, but I think I’m going to have to get the tabbed index, THAT I don’t have, and I love it! Thanks for the inspiration 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Jayne - Great solution. I’ve been struggling with just this problem.Thanks so much for sharing. I’m making my list!ReplyCancel

  • Mirta Sanchez - My inability to organize ANY part of my life is the bane of my existence! When it comes to my studio, which is the same as my living room, my supplies just rage out of control. This however is brilliant so I do believe I have a project for the weekend to tackle. Thanks!ReplyCancel

  • Maribeth - Love this idea and the library tray! Thank you for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • vivien - hi Ashley, i am a blogger from Hong Kong, who have been in love with papercraft since i was in university back in vancouver, Canada. Recently I found your blog through PTI’s Nicole’s blog, and i have to say, i LOVE your style! i couldn’t stop reading and looking at your beautiful creations for hours!! thank you so much for sharing your ideas and they are truly inspirational! i am writing this msg to let you know that i’ve wrote a blog post about your work/site, and have linked it here~
    happy weekend and i will sure come back to read your blog again very soon ^_^

  • ~Tammy~ - Thanks for sharing this! I use the cd index sleeves, but I am finding they are wearing down quickly since I use my dies a lot as well! Thanks for giving me another look at an alternative. I think I am just too lazy to go through the organizational part of labeling and cutting and filing again! Ha! I have this noted to do when I have some time! Hope all is well!ReplyCancel

  • DWB - I really love all of your work Ashley.

    I’ve just started papercrafting, so my die collection is small, but growing quickly. I’ve started a similar system. I like this a lot!

    Thanks again for all of the great inspiration; it’s always bright and fresh.



  • Helen F. - Fabulous organizational tip, Ashley. Thanks so much for sharing. Hopefully one day I’ll have enough dies to need a library tray with index card too 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Lorie-The Peddler - Thanks so much. I have several dies, but could definitely use a better storage system. Thanks for sharing your idea.ReplyCancel

  • Tina@FlyingHouse - wow, girl! You have got one serious die collection! I have mine stored in a little box and they don’t even fill that! LOL!! Maybe I will get to show off my craft room if you come for a visit!

    I hope you are doing well! Looks like you have been crafting up a storm! Hugs from Copenhagen!ReplyCancel

  • Pendra - Ashley this is so cool. Thanks for sharing how your organize your PTI Dies! I never thought of my 7 Gypsies drawer… and I actually have a couple of antique wood boxes that would work… duh, what a great idea!!
    Crafty Hugs,

  • Deborah R. - I have a question about the magnetic sheets too. The ones I have are not strong enough to hold dies on both sides. Are you able to store on both sides because you have two sheets glued back to back with the chipboard between behind every labeled tab or do you have thicker, stronger magnetic sheets than mine and where do you find them? My collection has just reached the point where I need to organize them better and this looks perfect to me because I like to have things at my fingertips too.ReplyCancel

  • Jessica reyes - This is great idea! I love being able to see my dies easily too & this is something I will have to try. Thanks for sharing! Just one question, how did you cut the magnetic sheets to size?ReplyCancel

  • Jenny - Nice, nice, nice! Not only does it look tidy, organized, and uniform it also is so functional. The idea to label the index cards on the front and back it great but putting the envelop inside with its coordinating die/set is brilliant! This solution solves so many of my problems. Thank you for sharing it! I’m looking forward to other tips and organizational ideas. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • F Bond - Amazing…I love this. When I move into my new scraproom, I definitely would like the ease of finding dies and having them handy. I hope you will share a picture when you do your spellbinders. And the extra bonus of your storage idea is that it just looks soooo pretty also!ReplyCancel

  • Jinny Newlin - This is the best system I’ve seen yet, Ashley! TFS!ReplyCancel

  • Jennie Harper - Love your system of storing dies and found one of these library drawers from Overstock and with free shipping! Thanks so much for sharing, my goal is to organize my stamp space so I can be more efficient when I get opportunities to stamp!ReplyCancel

  • Sue Waller - Super idea! I have some magnetic vent covers that I got at Lowes
    but wasn’t quite sure how to use them. Well, now I know. Thanks
    so much for sharing.ReplyCancel

  • Mini Album Monday | Make Waves » A New Design blog - […] future use. To see more on the die organization to get a better idea what I am referring to click here, here, and […]ReplyCancel

  • Marie-Nicolas - I love your idea !!!!ReplyCancel

  • michele - très sympa ton blog…..ReplyCancel

  • Cheri - Love your style and this die storage appears usable and doable!
    Thank you Hugs long distanceReplyCancel

  • Ellen Bornstein - Hi Ashley,
    This is exactly what I use but I use an old banker’s box and my index cards are the large 8 x 5 which allows me to store quite alot on each one. I color coded mine with an index in the front.ReplyCancel

  • Carole Corey - Ashley,
    I love your organization of dies and bought the 7 Gypsies tray, index cards, and today got the Awesome magnetic sheets from OTC. When I removed the white paper from the black sheet, it is very sticky. The other side is not sticky at all. Is that the magnetic side? I tried to attach the spellbinder dies, but they wouldn’t stay put. Do I use the sticky side to attach to the chipboard and then with the added strength the non-sticky side will hold the die? I’m almost embarrassed to ask such a silly question but I don’t want to waste the sticky side on chipboard if that’s not correct. Thanks, Ashley.ReplyCancel

  • Paula - Hi Ashley,
    Thanks so much for this great idea. I have been storing my dies on Taylored Expressions magnetic die panels in a flip type box, but they would stick together often and I didn’t have an easy way to find them quickly since they are labeled on the back. So when I saw your great idea I jumped on it. I needed larger card guides, but I did find some in a 6″ x9″ size which is perfect. They really help to keep the magnetic panels separate. Mine don’t look as pretty as yours… haha. I haven’t even labeled them yet. Thanks so much for the great idea! Love your blog…always such beautiful work.ReplyCancel

  • Mary Brayton - Ashley, this is terrific!!!
    Thank you for sharing – much appreciated!ReplyCancel

  • Christine Wright - Hello Ashley.
    I’ve admired the way you set the die storage up. So much that I chose to replicate this in my own …read budget…. way.
    So how do YOU store the matching stamps sets?
    Thanks for the inspiration.
    Cheers, Christine.ReplyCancel

  • Cece - Love the Fridge Binz idea! Thank you for sharing! I’m using magnetic sheets too, (more specifically magnetic floor vent covers). I purchased them at a local big box store (Home Depot). There’s several in a package & are VERY INEXPENSIVE! After some trial & error, I’ve found that my dies stay put in the folder when I cut the magnetic strips only 3 inches wide & the height of the folder I’m organizing them in. Even when the die is wider than the magnetic strip, it still stays in place. Happy organizing & creating!ReplyCancel

  • Joanne - Ashley, I love your idea. This will keep me busy, organizing my dies over the holidays, especially today during a snow storm. I have tried other ways but they were all to cumbersome.
    Merci ! JoanneReplyCancel

  • rhonda - Wonderful way to organize die cuts – thank you for sharing!

    How do you organize your unmounted stamps?? THANKS, RhondaReplyCancel

  • diane sims - love your system but one question when you have stamps with dies that are only used with those stamps do you not keep those with the stamps? I would think it much faster and easier if they were together So how do you do that? still separately?
    thanks in advanceReplyCancel

  • CASology Featured Designer Week 2 – Craft Space Tour | honeybeelane - […] I want to acknowledge Cindy, along with Jennifer McGuire, Marie Shaughnessey, Laura Bassen and Ashley Newel for some super […]ReplyCancel

  • Charmain Walker - I am coping your die organization using the exact material you used. LOVE IT! Now if only you could tell me how you store your clear stamps. I have not found a system that I really like.

    Any ideas would be appreciated.


  • Charmain Walker - I am copying your die organization using the exact material you used. LOVE IT! Now if only you could tell me how you store your clear stamps. I have not found a system that I really like.

    Any ideas would be appreciated.


  • Rose terry - Wonderful ideas! Do you have an updated version and supplies? I would love to know!ReplyCancel


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