Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Workspace Wednesday : how I organize my Project Life cards

Last fall, I finally found a perfect + inexpensive box to hold all of my Project Life cards. Not just my 3x4 cards, but all of them. While browsing the aisles of Michaels, I ended up in the aisle were they have unfinished wood boxes and craft supplies. Up on the top shelf, I spotted a photo box for 4x6 photos. I almost smacked my forehead as I had an 'ah-ha' moment right there. Perfect! Add in the 40% off coupon and I was sold.

I've kept my cards in this box for some time now and love having everything in one spot. It's a great size in that I have plenty of room to add more (as I usually add a dozen or so leftover cards each month once I'm done with my Studio Calico kit work) and when it starts getting tight, I can easily purge.

Last month though, I decided it was time to revamp and divide up my cards into more specific categories. I had them loosely organized by manufacturer or designer, but wanted to start separating them by material too. You know, wood veneer, watercolor and of course, letterpress. I also wanted to add a seasonal / holiday section.

Today I want to share a step-by-step photo tutorial on how I did it :
First, consolidate all of your cards. Or at least all of the cards you want to contain in one box. I know a lot of people use a variety of core kits and only keep a portion of them out and available to use. That's cool too.
Start making piles. Each of my 3x4 stacks above are by core kit, manufacturer / designer or paper type. Top row (left to right) : Mayfield, Midnight, Seafoam, Jade, Becky Higgins grid cards. Middle row : Studio Calico, seasonal / holiday, Studio Calico grid cards, letterpress, wood. Bottom row : patterned paper cut down to 3x4, Ali Edwards, LifeLovePaper, watercolor, bags and envelopes. Because I don't have as many 4x6 cards, I divided them a little more loosely and those are only separated into three categories - Becky Higgins, Studio Calico and patterned paper.

While I was at it (and because my piles aren't that extensive), I also organized them by color. ROYGBIV to be exact. When I'm looking for a card, I usually have a color in mind. Having them in this order made sense to me but you can do what works for you. I think it all depends on how large your stash of cards is and how quickly you work on your layouts.
Make a list of these categories. This will be the sheet you reference when making your tabs in the next few steps.
I'm using the tab craft die from this set to create tabs for my dividers. You could also use a tab punch or something like these index tabs. Trim cardstock (I used kraft) to 3" x 3" - just a bit larger than the metal die.
Cut however many you need based on the list you made above. I cut about 20 tabs using my Cuttlebug die cutting machine.
Choose a stamp from the set (I chose the small dot tab stamp) and stamp the tabs you just cut in the color of your choice.
I wanted something subtle against the kraft, as I planned on writing on my tabs too, so I picked Coral Bay from the Color Theory line.
The dots added a nice color and texture to the tab and I decided to stamp them all the same color. You could get really fun here and stamp all of your tabs in different colors.
Next, it's time to label your tabs. You could use small alpha stamps or stickers like I did below :
Or handwrite the descriptions on. I chose the latter because I wanted to write out the full name on the tabs. Once they are all labeled, score the tabs in the center. If you are sitting at a table with a sharp edge, simply line up the center of the tab along the end of the table to help form the score line. You could also use a bone folder and straight edge.
After you are done labeling and folding, cut down some cardstock or thin chipboard to 3x4 and 4x6 to use as dividers. Again, refer to your list to figure out how many of each size you will need.
One at a time, flip the tabs over and add adhesive to the back side.
For the 3x4 dividers, I either lined up the tab all the way to the left, or the right, side of the divider so they will be staggered in my storage box. If you want the cards to be organized in a particular order (Studio Calico, watercolor, wood, letterpress...), plan out the order first so you can stagger these tabs accordingly.
On the 4x6 dividers, since I only had three, I have a left tab, a center tab and a right tab. Easy enough.
Now the fun part - put the cards back in their box! As I placed the 3x4 cards inside, I used a piece of chipboard to separate the two rows. There is just enough room to slip it in so it sits loosely but doesn't move much since the box is pretty full of cards. And now those cards won't mix and mingle and get out of place.
Ah, I think organizing my supplies makes me as happy as actually using them!

Want more tips for organizing your scraproom? Enrollment for Studio Calico's Workspace is still open! You can read more about the class here and get a peek at the digital freebies here. Acrylic stamps, you're next!


  1. I store mine in 4x6 Iris cases. They are a pain to dumb out each case as I'm working but great for travel. Thanks for sharing your setup. I'm going to give it a try and see how it works for me!

  2. Wow!! This looks amazing and SO organized! I bet it's so easy to find the cards that you're looking for too. I feel like I'm always flipping through likes of cards. I might have to try something like this!

  3. Thanks for sharing, this looks awesome! I need to try to snag a box like this for all the 3x4 cards I have piling up from monthly kits. Right now they are in a 4x4 box but I don't know how long it'll take for them to grow out of it.

  4. This is so cool! I've been trying to find a good way to organize my cards. I'm definitely going to try making something similar. Thanks for the tutorial!