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How to Organize Ink Pads – All 40 Stampin’ Up! Colors

I love to organize and have a place for everything so that it’s easy to find, and easy to put back in its place. Keeping both of these things in mind, I’d love to share with you how to organize ink pads from Stampin’ Up! in a way that might just help you stay organized too!

Following these tips will help you to keep your ink pads organized and easy to find. So you can spend less time searching for the perfect color and more time creating beautiful cards and projects!

Stampin’ Up! Stampin’ pads come in 40 different “core” colors, which are divided up into four color groups – Brights, Neutrals, Regals, and Subtles. The colors within each color group are gorgeous together and designed for easy color coordination. Years ago, I always kept mine stored in the color groups. It is just what made sense in my brain!

Then, several years ago, I decided to try arranging them in more of a rainbow. Or by “colors” rather than color groups.

  • Reds together,
  • Blues together,
  • Greens,
  • Purples,
  • etc…

It was really hard at first to make this leap after many many years of organizing my ink pads in the other way. The bottom line is, do what works best for you! In this article, I will show you how to organize ink pads the way that I do, and give you the order in which I have mine. If you’d like to give it a try, you might even move a few around to what makes better sense for you!

How to Organize Ink Pads By Colors, Not Groups

Before I show you the list of the order I have mine in, I also want to mention the storage unit that I use. It is the INK PAD & MARKER STORAGE units from Stampin’ Up! They have a whole collection of Storage by Stampin’ Up! that you might want to check out if you are looking to organize your crafting space.

picture showing all 50 stamping ink pads from Stampin' Up! neatly stored in the ink pad & markder storage that is part of the Storage Collection by Stampin' Up! It shows how to organize ink pads in rainbow color order.

The bottom shelf shows the 40 core colors of ink pads and on the top you will see the current 10 In Colors. These I keep separate because they are only around for two years and I don’t want to have to always reorganize the order I store them.

My Favorite Tip for Easy Clean-Up and Organization

Once I have the order figured out, I number the ink pads from 1 to 40. This helps me always know where to put them back. I am a messy stamper and often have 8-10 ink pads all over my stamping desk. Then, when I go to clean up, I forget how they were organized and don’t know where to put them.

By numbering them, it is easy to put them back in the correct spot!

image showing how to organize ink pads in rainbow color order

Color Order That My Ink Pads are Organized In

If you’d like to order yours like mine, here is the list of the order I have them in. You might want to change a few of them, but this is what makes sense to me!

Column 1

  • Early Espresso
  • Crumb Cake
  • Pecan Pie
  • Gray Granite
  • Smoky Slate
  • Basic Gray
  • Petal Pink
  • Flirty Flamingo
  • Melon Mambo
  • Berry Burst

Column 2

  • Cherry Cobbler
  • Real Red
  • Poppy Parade
  • Cajun Craze
  • Calypso Coral
  • Pumpkin Pie
  • Crushed Curry
  • Daffodil Delight
  • Lemon Lolly
  • Soft Sea Foam

Column 3

  • Lemon Lime Twist
  • Granny Apple Green
  • Old Olive
  • Mossy Meadow
  • Garden Green
  • Shaded Spruce
  • Pretty Peacock
  • Lost Lagoon
  • Coastal Cabana
  • Pool Party

Column 4

  • Balmy Blue
  • Azure AFternoon
  • Misty Moonlight
  • Blueberry Bushel
  • Night of Navy
  • Bubble Bath
  • Fresh Freesia
  • Highland Heather
  • Gorgeous Grape
  • Blackberry Bliss

I also store my card stock organized in the same order in a lateral filing cabinet.

open drawer of a lateral filing cabinet showing stampin' up! card stock filed in rainbow color order

A Couple More Ink Pad Storage Tips

You will notice the label on the edge of each pad. These labels are actually on the bottom of the ink pad when you receive them from Stampin’ Up! Just peel it off and add it to the edge of your ink pad.

This makes it so easy to see the colors.

And, as a reminder, stampin’ ink pads should always be stored UPSIDE DOWN. This keeps the ink on the surface and makes them last longer. Stampin’ Up! designed their ink pads to be UPSIDE DOWN, when they are RIGHT SIDE UP! I love this feature. When you open them, they flip the right way, but you don’t have to think about storing them upside down because they do that automatically!

Want to Learn More About Ink Pads?

Are you confused about the different types of ink pads, especially the different black ones? My COMPLETE GUIDE TO INK PADS will give you all of the information you need to be a successful card-maker by always using the correct ink.

Are You New to Card Making?

If you are a new stamper, or new to card-making, I would love to be able to help you in any way that I can. I have been a Stampin’ Up! demonstrator for over 28 years. I love to create quick and easy cards without being overwhelming or needing a ton of supplies!

Make sure to check out my GETTING STARTED PAGE for lots of information to help you get started, plus many easy card-making ideas that are not only quick and easy, but perfect for beginners.


53 thoughts on “How to Organize Ink Pads – All 40 Stampin’ Up! Colors”

  1. I love your idea of numbering the pads. That idea goes along with an idea I got recently to number your re-inkers to match with your pads so it’s easier to identify.
    Thanks, Jackie

  2. I’ve grouped by color families for years but the numbering them is a great idea!!
    I love your fun fold templates that you do with your husband. As a fellow demonstrator I have a suggestion-You should add a teepee fun fold to your monthly line up.

  3. Lol… let me join the pack by saying I also organize my ink pads by color family, but never thought to number them… GENIUS!! Now I’m like “ Duh! Why didn’t I think of that!”
    Thanks for your helpful tips and your kind generosity in providing us with so many card design ideas!

  4. I just decided to change to grouping by color family. With the shifts of some colors to new groups in recent years, it’s been challenging to get them back in order. Next step numbering though I may use removable stickers to allow for future changes.

  5. This is exactly how I store my ink pads and card stock. Grouping colors together makes it easy to pick out. Didn’t number but I usually dont have more than 2 or 3 out but maybe I’ll do this. Thanks for all your great tips.

  6. I love the tips you offer for both storage and creating! I had no idea pads should be stored upside down, and now I am off to number and change mine. I especially appreciate that you gave us the list of the order of your colors – HUGE time saver for me. Thank you, Jackie.

  7. Thanks for the organization tip! I need to add the numbers now. Regarding the upside down storage of ink pads: What about the ink spots from Paper Pumpkin? I store mine with the label facing up.

  8. I still have some Berry Burst Ink and Lemon Lime Twist CS from their previous lives. I know I’m stretching things but Jackie, what do you do with inks and paper colors that are no longer current? HELP!
    And, while I’m here, THANKS to you and Dave for your card template series – love em, USE em!

  9. Jackie I just want to say a Huge THANK YOU for always being there to set us up to be organized, equpped with knowledge, successful and making card making easy, fun and something to look forward to. Wish money wasn’t such an obstacle, but you always encourage us to use what we have and you help us by showing us how we can.
    I really really Appreciate you so much. Thank You Jackie.

  10. Jackie, I do enjoy your ideas, posts, card layouts, measurements you offer. Always helpful. Thank you, thank you, and thank you.

  11. Jackie,
    What a great idea. I also think you could add the first letter of the color collection to the right side of the ink pad ie.

    11 Cherry Cobbler R 21 Lemon Lime Twist B
    12 Real Red R 22 Granny Apple Green B
    24= in color end year 25= in color end year
    B= Brights N= Neutrals R= Regals S= Subtles

  12. I love that ink storage idea, so I think I need my husband to build me a rack that will fit in the cabinet I have in my craft room. He’ll be thrilled to pieces to help get some organizing into that chaos!

  13. This is wonderful Jackie. I too struggled going from colour families to rainbow. I though am more intrigued by the shelving unit your inks are stored in. They fit the Stampin’ Storage perfectly.

  14. I “inherited” a TON of SU ink pads and reinkers. Each in their own baggie with ink bottle. I just have shelves. Do you recommend keeping inkers and pads together or separating them? I don’t have the markers so the cool shelves that hold all 3 won’t work for me.

  15. OMG I love the idea of numbering them…I’m the same way as you….several pads out when I’m working on cards. I have them in color group order and with the new colors I was struggling to re-organize them. I will try by color as you do and numbering them. It will make it so much easier to find them when I look for them or to put them away!!

    Do you use a sharpie to write the number on them? How do you store ‘retired’ colors? Some of the retired colors are my favorites and I still use them when creating something that doesn’t require the current in-color or new color choices.

    I love your templates and was so excited when my husband gave me a copy of your book for Christmas!!

    Thank you!

    • Hi Karla-yes, I use a Sharpie. Because I get rid of my retired colors, they are not on my shelf or a part of my numbering. I only get rid of them because I am a demonstrator and I only use the current colors. You could just keep them in your “numbering” wherever they fit best by color.

  16. I love your numbering idea! Just for my own information, I put the letter “B, N. R or S” after the number so I know which collection it falls in (bright, neutral, regal or subtle). Sometimes this is helpful when I am deciding on which paper to use. Thanks for all your amazing tips.

  17. Love this tip for ink pads. I was just going to do that with mine, but I never thought about numbering them.
    Thanks for this tip.


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