So Many Stencils
I love stencils. I'm not great at drawing and stencils make it easy to create recognizable images. Even more cool are the stencils that have geometric patterns and shapes -- these are the ones I go back to most often because of their versatility.
I love mixed media and stencils are one of my most used tools for page backgrounds. I also like using them with gelli plates and on my ICADs and ATCs. The only problem is that I have so many of them and they were a bit unorganized.
The first step was to inventory all of my stencils and group them by the same creator and/or manufacturer. This made it easier to place the stencils in sleeves. Just grouping by the design would have left me with a lot of bags with only 1 or 2 stencils inside and I knew that wouldn't have solved my problem, so I stuck with the solution that made the most sense.
Once the organization process was done, I placed all of my smaller stencils on the swinging towel rack. They're small enough to fit on there and the process was easy: all I had to do was place a plastic hanging tag on each stencil. Most of the small stencils already had the hanging tags, they just weren't organized in a way that made finding them easy. So, I started grouping those by designer, too.
Now the stencils can be sorted through so I can find the stencil that I need and the whole caboodle won't fall off and spill onto the floor in the process. Who would have thought it could be this easy?
The larger stencils were returned to the 12x12 organizer. They were placed in bags that some of the stencils came in which meant I didn't have to buy anything extra to organize them. Bonus!
Each bag has been labeled with the stencil designer and/or company that produces them. This method many not work for folks that have so many stencils that it's difficult to remember what you have, but it serves me well so far. I'll have to reevaluate my process once I get to that point.
Of course, the easiest way to become familiar with which designs you have is to actually use the stencils. You'll start to recognize them in your art journals as you flip through to the next blank page and those images will stick in your mind for the next time, especially if you've found a great technique that you really like.