If you create with paper, you gotta have cardstock.
It's the foundation of every project. It's also relatively inexpensive, and it comes in oodles of colors, weights and textures. It's available at the big box stores, specialty shops, stationers, and online.
It's a gateway drug for papercrafters, and this addict's cardstock stash takes up four feet of shelf space.
Which is insane!!!
It's also inefficient. Case in point: I start out a project with a piece of patterned paper. I then attempt to find a perfect color match in my FOUR FEET of cardstock. I'm immediately stymied! If I only had two or three shades of, say, pink, I'd be fine. But I have 27 shades of pink because I've got Bazzill and ColorMates and Memory Box and... the list goes on for-freakin'-ever.
I also have a similar problem with ink. Which is equally insane because I find myself reaching for the same ink pads repeatedly - and they account for less than half of my inventory. Again, I yearn for the perfect match.
Clearly my methodology is dysfunctional. I get so bogged down in choosing between all those options that I'm robbed of the pleasure I should experience when making design decisions.
Then there's the guilt of wasteful spending. I don't care if I got these supplies for pennies on the dollar at defunct scrapbook store liquidation sales. As long as I keep them, I'm convincing myself that I will eventually use them (which means I didn't waste money after all).
You can see how this could drive a person to self-medicate.
Luckily, I'm not going to have to do that. A solution has been staring me in the face for years, and I finally got a clue several months ago. Like all great solutions, it's simple.
T H E S O L U T I O N
I ordered the Perfect Match Cardstock Sampler from Papertrey Ink. For $15 you get two pieces of each color they offer (and it's all 110-pound weight). It's an affordable and easy way to see if you like a product before making a long-term commitment. While I was at it, I ordered a few of their $2 cubes of coordinating ink to see how well they matched their cardstock counterparts. (They were a perfect match, so the hype ain't tripe.)
I've slowly been buying the different colors of cardstock in the $3 packs (12 8.5" x 11" sheets) and the $2 ink pad cubes because this new system is working for me! Instead of being paralyzed with too many choices, I've been quickly and decisively making design decisions, and I've been having a GREAT time. I've also not come across a patterned paper (no matter which company manufactured it) that at least one of these 36 colors didn't match.
W H Y I C H O S E P A P E R T R E Y I N K
Papertrey Ink is not the only stamping company that makes coordinating inks and cardstock, etc., so why did I go with it?
- I like the selection. The PTI collection is big enough to meet all my color needs but not so big that it's overwhelming. Now if I want to consider using pink in a card, I have three choices (not 27) - and I can handle three choices!
- I like the color palette and that it's all 110-pound weight. I can make a card base out of any color I want and it's got substantial heft. In addition, anything I die cut from this cardstock looks great because it's heavier.
- I like being able to order "starter" amounts of supplies at a very reasonable price.
- I'm quite confident that this company and its selection of supplies are going to be around for the long haul, so I'm not worried about committing to this relationship.
A L T E R N A T I V E S C H E M E
Create your own "line"! If you buy all your paper from a chain retailer, go with what they sell. If you like ordering Bazzill, use that. To guide you, look at what colors you use most. Or if you're a big fan of an ink line - say, Distress Inks, find colors that coordinate with those products. If you're like me and have an obscene amount of cardstock, shop from your stash and fill in with future purchases as needed.
You can start out very simply with this download: Download Make Your Own Design Palette. (This is a guide/jumping-off point not a one-size-fits-all solution so feel free to play around with it.)
If this sounds like something you're not quite sure about, give it a trial-run. Select (in advance) a palette of no more than 30 colors (not including black and white) and then use nothing but that selected cardstock for a month. (It takes a few projects to acclimate before seeing how freeing this method is.)
W H A T A B O U T T H E G U I L T?
If you feel guilty about the size of your stash, purge and donate! There are many organizations that will be blessed beyond measure at receiving your crafting supplies. And, if you like, you can even write it off on your taxes as long as you get a receipt from the organization. Schools, hospitals, churches, and retirement homes are the most obvious beneficiaries.
T H E R E S U L T S
I cannot describe how much more productive I am as a result of limiting myself to one cardstock line with coordinating inks. I'm spending my time delighting in the process of making design decisions rather than agonizing over them. (Let me also note that although I'm purging most of my inks, I'm not purging ALL of them; no way am I parting with my Distress Inks - LOL!)
Oh, and there's a bonus. Check it out:
I really like this set-up because the drawers are shallow enough for one layer of inks, and it fits easily into my travel cube. Get your own acrylic drawer unit.
So give it a shot. You have nothing to lose but dead weight.
Thanks for stopping and have a blessed day!
This is a series of articles concerning some changes I've made to increase the quality of my papercrafting experience. I hope something here will speak to you!