As the studio is beginning to come together I’m working on getting all my supplies organized. When it came to my paper organization I knew that I would be using my old magazine files I purchased from IKEA many moons ago. They need to be updated and some of them are falling apart. After this many moves and as much use as they’ve been through I forgive them for showing signs of wear. Eventually. Since November of 2015 my paper has been living like this.
Here’s what I didn’t love about this system. It only worked for full sheets. Originally my idea was to have a drawer of scraps but I quickly found I couldn’t remember which colors were used before. This led to all kinds of mess that I didn’t want to deal with. My solution was to stop using paper. Of course that doesn’t make sense so that solution went out the window. I headed over to my best source of inspiration, otherwise known as the time suck that is Pinterest. It was there that I found this post and knew I had to do exactly this idea. OK not exactly. The inexpensive version of exactly.
True story. I was nervous when I went to check out this pin. I was so seriously in love with how this looked. You can imagine my utter delight when I found in the comments that she had actually done a whole blog post at her blog on her paper organization. With a freaking video! Seriously? Hello new best friend!
One of the interesting things about my brain is that it is always going. I’m always thinking about something, I can’t help it. So as I watched this video I immediately thought to myself that I would be using page protectors instead of whatever fancy schmancy scrapbook gizmo or gadget that Carissa was using. I didn’t know what she was using but I was sure it was expensive. Scrapbooking and card making stuff always is. As I was sitting there figuring out how to make it work, to my surprise she says she is using heavy-duty page protectors. Perfect! I have a Costco sized box waiting on my shelf. So far I have the magazine files and the page protectors. Bring it on!
In the video Carissa uses a paper punch and some tab stickers along with her P-Touch (side note, I love mine too!) but this is about doing it on the cheap, not about buying more things. I knew right away that I would be cutting out the labels on my Cricut Explore Air. One of the reasons that I wanted this machine was to avoid having to pay for paper punches. I looked at the tab stickers she used and boy are they expensive! At the time of this post the cost worked out to around $1.00 per sticker and I was not going to pay that! Cricut to the rescue! I skipped over the step of labeling the paper colors. I don’t buy name brand paper and it doesn’t have a color name so why bother? I did have a couple of labels that I wrote on because I was too lazy to get out the P-Touch for two labels.
I designed some little tabs because I’m too cheap to pay for a subscription to Cricut Design Space. For what I do, I’m happy to create the designs myself. This time around instead of grabbing a graphic I decided to challenge myself and actually design the shape myself. I just kept working with slice and weld until I had a shape that pleased me, from there it was easy to make the tab stickers. The ones that Carissa purchased had a scoring line but I skipped that figuring it would be easy enough to fold. I did make the bottom of my tab stickers a little bit larger. The good thing about knowing yourself is knowing things like the fact that I’m likely to use these tabs to pull the dividers out. One of my favorite bosses used to love to say “Work smarter, not harder.” Some reinforcement now might make my life easier in the long run.
Once the design was in place it was time to get working. Initially I started by working with one color at a time. After running yet another mat for one little tiny cut, I realized I wasn’t taking the solid advice I had used earlier. I remembered a video that I had pinned about working with multiple colors on one mat. Well I thought I pinned it. After some searching I found it. Honestly, I’m kicking myself for not watching it sooner. This would have saved me several times over on other projects.
Genius! Sheer genius! Applying the technique by Debbie I decided on the size for my tab which was 4″ x 2″. Coincidently , this works quite well on a 12 x 12 mat. I kept them in the order they were sorted by and laid them out on a mat like so.
And away we go! After a quick manual adjustment at the cut screen so that the tabs were in the center of the 2″x”4 grid I had worked out. Look at that 18 colors on one mat! Let me tell you that picked up the pace!
Initially when I cut the first set of tab stickers, I was only able to get four on each mat. I knew I could squeeze another one on there. This issue has plagued me for quite some time. After watching the second video I was able to increase that to five covers per mat using a 12 x 13″ piece of contact paper as my layout for that went just a little over 12″ in length. Initially I started out with Cont-Tact Brand Clear Cover but I sorely underestimated how much I needed. I wasn’t completely happy with this liner because it didn’t like to lay flat on the mat. The next purchase I went with Duck Brand Peel & Stick and I was much happier with the results. To be clear either vinyl worked great for the project, the second one was just easier to cut.
Once I figured out how to change it to mass assembly, it went pretty quickly. It was a matter of lining things up and sticking them together, pretty much like Carissa does in her video. I’ll save you boring blow-by-blow pictures of that process. It took several hours to complete this project but I think it was time well spent. It’s even easier what colors I have. I’ve got my scraps right there where they can be easily used and I added a divider for my random patterned paper at the start of each color section.
If you’d like to use the files I designed please feel free to do so. I have created a project link for the tabs and the tab stickers. If you don’t need as many tabs or stickers you may easily ungroup the pieces.