I have quite a large collection of unmounted stamps. I know that some people shy away from these treasures because they don't know what to do with them. My biggest problem has always been how to store them. For me, its "out of sight, out of mind". When I go to look for a stamp, I look in my stamp trays for the theme I am looking for, and I forget all about my "ums". I have tried several ways of storing these. For a long time I had them in binders, thinking that I would go for the binder when looking for certain themes.
I even kept the binders beside the trays of like-themed stamps when I could. I found that they were still forgotten. I need the stamps up front and centre! The only ums that were used regularly were the few that I kept right in the stamp trays. They were usually ones that came with their own little package, like Paper Artsy. I saw a demo online a few weeks ago that made a lot of sense to me - putting my ums in CD boxes. My daughter had left a CD tower behind when she moved out, and My um's would be right out where I could see them. Perfect. So this is what I've been doing:
Start with a normal (NOT thin) CD case (I bought 3 for a dollar at the dollar store. The normal ones are getting harder to find, though). Take out the black insert. Turn the case upside down and open it. You want the realtively flat side on the bottom, and the side with the lip at the hinge on the left side. Put your ums on the flat side, fitting as best you can. Most of my ums have sticky spray on them (a tacky spray glue that I sprayed on them), some come sticky already, but many of them have nothing. For the ones with no stickiness I just use double sided tape. For tiny pieces or alphabet letters I place a long strip of double-sided tape across and just stick the stamps on. Easy!
Then you will need to cut a piece of paper 4 1/2" by 5 3/4" for your cover. Stamp your images the same way that they are in the CD box (remember - right is left), write the name of your stamps, and the company they are from, if you have room. Mount this paper on the left side lid, with the name on the lip at the hinge, so that when you close it, you can see the name of the stamps in the CD case. Use tape or double sided tape to mount the paper.
I don't mount my stamps on foam anymore, I just use bare rubber. To stamp an um you need an acrylic mount, you can buy them online, and I think Michael's have them. I think you could get scraps from places that use acrylic as well. I've even found them in dollar stores. If i am using ums that I haven't sprayed with sticky glue, I usually use UHU glue to stick them to the acrylic, and stamp away. I usually stamp with a mouse pad underneath to give the cushion needed. I just wash the glue off afterwards, it comes off easily with a baby wipe.
This is how I am storing my CDs, right in my stamp trays, bordered by mounted stamps. The tray will hold 6 CDs, which is a lot of stamps!
I am also putting some in the CD tower that my daughter left. I think these will probably all end up in my shelves, though with the like themed stamps.
So I hope this method will finally work, and I that I will get lots more use from my ums! And I hope that this has helped at least one more person to organise their own ums, or to start buying ums!