This idea is the brain child of three of us at my Riverview JoAnn Scrapbook Social. Barb asked me for ideas about how to store smaller clear stamp sets. I said empty CD cases (which is how I stored them until today). She said she wanted to store them with the rest of her clear stamps in clear page protectors in a 3-ring binder. I said she could, but the problem was that if you try to put more than one set of clear stamps in the page protectors, as in, right on top of each other, they flail around inside the pouch and it makes storage very difficult.
The problem had presented itself in my brain... surely there has to be a way to stop them from sliding all over the place...
Suddenly, I knew the solution! Barb takes quilting classes from Louise, our fun, fabulous, and brilliant quilting teacher (who also just so happens to attend our Scrapbook Social), so I knew she had a sewing machine. I said to measure out what pockets you'd need, sew them up, and cut openings.
Then I thought... how do you cut openings? My plans seemed foiled again until Louise said, "Slip a piece of cardboard in there and cut the openings with an X-acto knife before you sew." AHHHHH!!!!
So, after spending a good chunk of my Sunday afternoon making these thingies (instead of doing the things I SHOULD be doing), I figured I'd post pictures and instructions. This post is dedicated to Barb, who asked the question, and Louise, who helped answer it. I LOVE being connected with other crafty people. We clearly do our best work in groups.
1. Lay your small clear stamp sets on your page protector in whatever pattern you desire and draw around them with a sharpie. Also make marks for any openings you need to cut, as I did above. Don't put them too close together! (I aimed for about 1/4" of space around all sides of each stamp set, so really you're looking at about 1/2" between each set.) It seems like a grid of 9 fits most of the really small sets very nicely.
2. Slip a piece of cardboard/cardstock inside the page protector (I used the cardboard that came IN the pack of page protectors I bought). Using a ruler, cut the lines you drew for your openings.
I cut mine as I drew them--three individual slits (in this example) instead of one long one. It's easier to sew it up that way. Also, remember that you don't need to cut slits for the top pockets because they'll be left open.
3. Sew the lines between your pockets, doing backstitching at the end of each seam so you don't have to worry about unraveling. I just happened to have invisible thread in my sewing machine from my previous craft project. I'm sure any thread would work well. Sewing on plastic is just a tad different from sewing fabric. You have to press and pull it through the machine. After a couple of tries, you'll find the pace you need--not to slow and not too fast.
I sewed my lines from the bottom closed part to the top, then from the sides. I recommend starting, whatever your pocket configuration, from a closed piece of the page protector and going towards the opening. If this isn't possible, just work it out as best you can.
Here is my 9 pocket grid filled with little stamp sets! Cute, huh?
Here are more examples--you can see the different shapes I used. Most of the clear stamp sets store very well side by side, such as the ones from The Paper Studio or Inkadinkadoo, and you won't need to sew pockets for those. However, some of the other stamp set brands out there such as Martha Stewart, Basic Grey (my fave!!!), and others, have weird sizes that don't fit perfectly in the page protectors, or leave a lot of space around. Play around with your stamp sets and see what some of the best arrangements are, then save some space in your binders by sewing your own personalized stamp storage!