Friday, July 19, 2013

Crafting Clean Up

If you are anything like me, the thing you enjoy least about crafting is cleaning up. Shamefully, I am one of those cleaner-upers that stacks all the project supplies in a nesting doll sort of way and then tucks the pile in a corner or on a shelf to address at a later date (yeah right...) The results include ruined brushes, stained applicators, materials and table tops, leaks, splatters, odd smells, smashed supplies along with an array of other messes.

And materials maintenance? With head held low, I must admit that I do not clean my stamps after I use them, I use the wrong type of scissors to cut things with adhesive, I don't scrape all the paper residue off of my Cricut mat and my Sizzix dies have years of paper scraps wedged around the blades. This blog post is dedicated to craft clean-up and maintenance tricks, tips and recipes. I'm thinking maybe I'll even use some of these gems:

  • Use a cookie sheet covered with wax paper as a "messy" station for glue, glitter, punching and hand cutting. Super easy clean-up and no more scattered mess on your work surface or floor. Did you know you can buy cookie sheets at the Dollar store? And guess how much they cost? A dollar.
  • Cover your work surface with cheap dollar store shower curtain liner for easy clean-up.  I prefer a shower curtain liner to tablecloths because they are thicker and less likely to tear.
  • Keep a funnel with your beading supplies so when it is time to clean up you can easily pour beads back into small plastic baggies and containers.
  • To clean paint brushed, soak them in vinegar overnight.  You can also soak brushes that are weary in Murphy's oil, hair conditioner or fabric softener to make them like new.
  • If interrupted while painting, stash your brushes in plastic bags.  Secure brush bristles in a baggie with a rubber band.  Store in the fridge until you can return to your project, even if it takes a few days.
  • Clean up glitter with a lint roller
  • Use a small dust pan/ sweeper to clean small paper scraps and wrappers off of your work surface.  Swoooosh - right into the trash.  By the way, you can also pick one of these combos at the dollar store.
  • Keep a magnet in your craft room to pick up stick pins, brads, eyelets (does anyone use those anymore?) in a cinch.  You can buy a large horseshoe sized magnet at Micheal's in the "Fun Finds" section.

  • You can remove new and recent paint, pen, and marker stains from your favorite cutting mat using two common household items: a smooth cotton cloth and a bottle of 70% isopropyl alcohol! To clean your mat, simply soak the cloth with undiluted rubbing alcohol, then gently rub away the stains before they set.
  • When cutting things with adhesive, your scissors can get sticky and gummy.  DON'T WASH THEM WITH WATER - they will rust.  Use alcohol swabs or pour some on a cotton ball to clean them right up.  
  • You can also use Goo-gone to clean up sticky messes including gum on scissors.  No need to buy it at the store.  Make it at home with this recipe:    Combine 1 teaspoon vegetable oil and 2 teaspoons baking soda in a small bowl.  It will be a somewhat thin mixture but not as thin as the real Goo Gone.  Dip the edge of a piece of paper towel in the mixture and then rub over the sticky stuff you are trying to remove.  Keep applying and rubbing as needed.
  • Speaking of Goo-gone, did you know it cleans crayon off of walls.
  • Use a cardboard box as an enclosure when you spray clear coat, setting/ finishing spray, varnish and spray paint to contain the mess.
  • Sharpen your scissors and punches by cutting/ punching sandpaper!
  • Lubricate your scissors and punches by cutting/ punching waxed paper!
  • Make sandpaper last 3 times longer by putting duct tape on the back of it.
  • Put a little Vaseline on the end of your glue gun to prevent those long glue strings
  • Use a long knitting needled to apply/ manipulate hot glue and prevent burnt fingers!
  • Give life to old tape by microwaving it for 10 seconds.
  • Hardened glue sticks can be revitalized by soaking them in water to rehydrate.
  • When pinning fabric together or hand sewing, stick pins into a bar of soap.  It will make it easier to use and bring new life to old over used pins. If you are feeling a little frisky, you could actually use a bar of soap as a pin cushion.
  • Keep a small, weak magnet stuck to your sewing machine to hold a threaded needle for when you need to hand-sew something.


  1. Love all the tips and tricks!!! I got out a bar if soap left from a motel visit (nice citrus mint smell) wrapped in a square of fabric. I plan on gluing that suck down so I can get pins out easily and a handy place to stick them. I use the small ones on my 100's of rolls of ribbon.
    You can also freeze your paint brushes and rollers. I did that for about 3 months and when thawed out, they worked great.

  2. Linda, that is a great tip! I didn't realize freezing would work too. I hope other reader leave more suggestions. I need as many as I can get!

  3. Great tips !! Thank you so much for sharing !!


  4. Okay just gotta come right out and ask this...
    Are you lurking in my craft space?
    You just described me to the tee.
    I never want to stop to clean between projects because it distracts my creativity.
    Time to clean for me?
    It is usually when I find myself crafting on my lap because my table space has too many of those piles you described.
    Confession time over.
    Time to create.