Monday, September 14, 2015

Tools: Empty Gift Cards and Wire Colanders

The last Tool post showed a fabulous Teflon folder that was a bit pricey as bone folders go. But today, the first tool I'm spotlighting need not cost you a penny.

Here's a freshly re-inked Brilliance ink pad
with the ink mostly smooshed in.

Always ask for your used-up gift cards back from the clerk after you use them. These handy rectangles of flexible plastic are the PERFECT tool for smooshing thick pigment inks into spongy ink pads.

Generally, the instructions on reinker bottles say to use the bottle tip to smoosh the ink in, but that takes forever and a gift card works ever so much faster and cleans up easily, too.

And yes, I made up the verb smoosh. Because it perfectly describes what you have to do.

Reinking dry ink pads is one of my least favorite tasks of paper crafting. Ugh. Just not fun. Neither is cleaning clear stamps that have lost their stick, but a cheap wire mesh colander from Target at least keeps me from losing the tiny ones down the soapy drain.

If your clear stamps lose their stick, all you have to do is put the stamps in the colander, put the colander in a sink with some soapy water, swish the stamps with your fingers, rubbing the backs to remove the dust and oil, rinse with clean water, and dump the stamps out on a lint-free towel to air dry.

That's all there is to it. It's not glamorous, but it works.

So as you can see, not all the tools we use need be expensive...just useful.

What other useful tools have you discovered that are inexpensive/free/re-purposed? Please share!


  1. Love my teflon bone folder and my colander; I also have in my stamping arsenal: dental floss threaders, chopsticks, denture brushes (especially good for removing pigment ink), emery boards, metal duct tape, shoe polish, and several other items, but I'm too lazy to go look for them. I have a tip for some of your readers who might not be into one-layer cards concerning a scoring board: if you're covering the front of your card with a full-sized panel, bank your card against the upper-left corner of your score board, thus giving yourself a guide to place your panel on your card.

    And I beg to differ with you, dear lady, about smooshing: did you see the movie, "Stepmom," with Julia Roberts? She used the term to describe, to her stepdaughter, how to draw the leaves on a tree. :)

  2. I use the top of the lid of the reinkers to massage the ink into my ink pads. But those are like the Memento reinkers with are larger, not like the tiny-tipped ones from most ink companies.

    My non-crafty tool of choice is a jar of tooth picks. I use those things for everything.

  3. Great tips, Susan! I use the inexpensive pill reminders for storing sequins. Would also work for brads, eyelets, etc.

  4. I have a LOT of used up gift cards, and have used one for reinking, too! The colander is a GREAT idea! Thanks!

  5. LOL smoosh is not a new verb in the crafting community, there is actually a technique called ink smooshing- and I have been smooshing up stuff as long as I have been crafting. LOL

    1. You're right, of course! I was disconcerted when the auto-spell-check on Blogger underlined smoosh in red, and forgot all about various smooshing techniques.

  6. Great idea about the colander! [What a "duh" moment I had :)] I do use my hair straightener to iron out crinkled ribbon

  7. Well now, I have to say that I don't mind refilling ink pads at all. Just think of the money you are saving not replacing those pads. Money you can use for new items, of course!

    The colander is a good idea. I haven't bothered getting one because I have one of those little strainers in the sink to keep the hair out of the drain. It does the trick, but your method sounds very efficient. I like efficient.


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