Monday, June 20, 2005

Getting Organized - Sort Your Ephemera

I wish I had all the shelves, drawers, cabinets, totes and containers I would ever need for paper crafting. But like many crafters, my storage solutions are often seat-of-the-pants and at the expense of aesthetics. Sometimes I just don't have the money, time or patience to find one more container for one more project.

I started "bagging it" when I began participating in crafts swaps. A crafts host would announce a theme -- say, celestial artist trading cards -- and I would start hoarding related ephemera (i.e. stars, moons and planets) in a gallon-sized, zippable plastic food bag. If I had several swaps in mind, I'd have a bag for each.

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Ephemera Sorted by Theme

For labeling, I chose a temporary fix. Rather than write directly on the bags with indelible marker, I'd create a small label on plain paper and adhere it with clear packing tape. I'd fold a tiny end of the tape back onto itself to create a tab for easy removal. When I finished making the swaps, I removed the label and saved the bag for the next theme. Soon I gathered materials in anticipation of themes. Now I have a bin full of different bags, waiting for the creative muse to strike.

But sorting by theme doesn't always meet my needs, I've found. There are days when I'd rather do art based on color or texture. One day I was in the mood for everything Egyptian, but I didn't have enough ephemera on this theme. After rummaging through my bags and bins, I pulled together lots of gold and metallic items, which satisfied my artistic appetite.

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Ephemera Sorted by Type or Color

Another nice thing about "bagging it," is the portability. I can grab exactly what I need for a crafts session. It saves lots of time in pre-class preparation.

What have YOU done to organize your crafts space? Let me know!

Additional Reading
  • More Ephemera, by Beth Cote, Suzanne McNeill

  • Product Resource Guide
  • Words Ephemera, by Hot Off The Press

  • Vintage Ephemera, by Hot Off The Press

  • Buy your craft supplies at

  • Wholesale Arts & Crafts Supplies

  • Most project photos on this page were taken with a 5.0 MP resolution KODAK EASYSHARE DX4530 Zoom Digital Camera

  • Article Description: Are your paper crafts ephemera, found art and other materials taking over your life and home? Try this quick fix.

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