The best way to keep your stencils (and pre-exposed film) in top condition is to store them properly. This will help ensure that your stencils are flat and protected when they're not in use. In this post we will run through our storage process and the products we use to keep our stencils safe in the office.
How To Store Ikonart Stencils
All pre-exposed film as well as stencils and transparent designs are organized in a basic Alex style drawer unit from IKEA. The key is closed drawers to eliminate extra light exposure and/or dust. Our first drawer of the unit holds our extra Tacky Mats. We keep several full sized mats as well as a few that have been cut down to fit in smaller items like bags or baby onesies.
Ikonart Stencil Film is photosensitive and should remain in the packaging it comes in until you are ready to expose it. The pre-exposed film has a shelf life of at least one year from the date of manufacture if stored and handled properly. All pre-exposed film should stay in their black sleeve bags prior to exposure. We also save these black bags to use to hold smaller pieces to pre-exposed film so they're easier to find when you need them.
For storage of the Ikonart Stencil Film before it is exposed, we recommend storing in a cool, dry place, and temperatures should not be below freezing or above 85°F. After the film is exposed, your finished stencils should be stored flat in a dry area. This drawer unit is perfect for both stencil film and imaged stencils.
Note: Ikonart Stencil Film is LIGHT SENSITIVE. It must stay out of the sunlight and bright lights before exposure and during washout.
The larger stencil film gets its own drawer, as we like to keep the film flat, not folded or bent.
When storing smaller designs, 8.5x11 or smaller, we use these Amy Tangerine binders and page protectors to hold the stencils. We also use binder organizing tabs to organize our stencils by category in the binders. Keeping your designs in the clear page protectors rather than a regular folder makes it much easier to find the design you're looking for when you need it.
For bigger designs and stencils, we use the 11x14 Itoya Art Portfoliofor our 10x12 designs. We also use the 13x19 Itoya Art Portfolio for our 12x18/designs.
The better you store your stencils, the better shape they'll stay in, the more projects you can create with them!
Take a look at our FAQ to answer any further questions you may have regarding stencil and film storage. If you have any additional question about storing your Ikonart stencils, please contact us or visit our Ikonart Crafters Group on Facebook.