Craft Room Organization: Dyes and Fragrances

This is part of a series of posts I was writing on my personal blog about a year ago. I never finished them, and am using the excuse of finishing and revisiting to post them here. I started these because I have a great love of being snoopy and looking at pictures of other people's crafting areas, and one thing that voyeurism has taught me is that either those people don't really use their rooms for crafting, or I am the messiest craftsperson in the world. So I set about to do a series of blog posts that will show the areas in which I work, mess and all, and talk about how it works (or doesn't work) for me.

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Part One of Craft Room Organization: If you can't FIND the inspiration, BE the inspiration (AKA "Arne's Mr. Rogers Factory Tour Dreams Come True"). You can't see it but I have changed my shoes and am wearing a comfy handknit cardigan.

For part one, I want to talk about the shelves where I keep my dyes and smaller amount of soap fragrances. Here are a few pre-and-during construction shots:
Future dye bar The dye bar Shelves, stocked with dye

And over the last ten months - my gosh, has it been that long?! - it has evolved into this (editors note: At this point it's been almost two years, and I've found that while the number of things I have on these shelves has grown as I've acquired more dyes and fragrances, this system is still working for me!):

The Dye Shelves (overall)

Top shelf

The top two shelves are where I keep Empty Bottles and Stuff.

On the top shelf, from left to right, we have...

Empty bottles from samples that I haven't decided what to do with yet. As in, I haven't decided if I want to bring in those fragrances or not. Some of them I used and then gave the soap to friends for Christmas or birthdays, and some of them wound up in this set and I haven't had enough (any) feedback so I can't judge if they would be popular or not.

Empty bottles from samples that either I have decided to invest in larger quantities (but keep the empty samplers to remind me where they're from, as I try to pour everything into amber glass bottles --  more on that in another post); or samples that I decided "heck no" to and keep them around to remind me not to try THAT again.

Both of these things are good to keep around, but I don't have to see them all the time and I don't have a drawer to keep them in. So, top shelf it is!

Last on the top shelf is my Awesome Knife of Awesomeness (previously seen here). It is not quite three feet long, and it will cut through a 25-lb block of soap base like butter. I've got holes in shirts and aprons I wear when cutting, by getting them caught under the knife when I push down. I keep it up and away when not in use, because (1) I'm clumsy and (2) I don't want an errant cat to knock it over onto themselves, another cat, or a dog.

Second shelf (AKA "stuff I don't use much"). A plastic bin with an old potholder, some light bulbs, and a thing of cheap fragrance I got at Michaels like five years ago. OH COME ON. Like you don't have a similar junk drawer. Then a basket of very old dyes I don't know what to do with, followed by a plastic container of old micas and very old fragrances. I should throw these out, but... I don't know. I might need them! Someday!

Then we have a container of apricot seeds (used in soap as exfoliants), a bag of lavender buds, a washcloth and soap dish I bought when first starting out to use as photo props, and haven't used since I started making so many soap dishes, and a pile of organza bags for guest soap sets.

Thus ends the first two shelves.

Middle shelves

The next three shelves have some empty 4-oz amber bottles, and a bag of lids that fit both 4, 8, and 16-oz bottles. Following that are all my dyes, arranged alphabetically.

Lower shelves

On the next-to-the-last shelf I have a bunch of 4-ounce fragrance bottles. Most are fragrances that don't sell very well and thus don't warrant buying in larger quantities; some are fragrances I want to try out and that was the smallest amount available; and some are for soap clubs that I didn't want to invest in larger quantities until after I get soap club feedback. Also on that shelf are short lengths of yarn used to tie off skeins for dyeing, and a scale that I use for both weighing out 1-lb blocks of soap as I cut them, and for dividing yarn into smaller weights (for example, if I want to make two 50g skeins out of one 100g skein). (Editor's Note: in the year since I originally wrote this post, I've extended the dyes down one more shelf and crowded the four-ounce bottles and sample bottles of fragrance onto that bottom shelf.)

On the bottom shelf I have unused sample fragrances (sometimes they are included as freebies when I purchase something from a vendor, and some vendors carry small samples that you can purchase. As you can see, I may never run out of ideas for fragrancing my soap!), a fragrance I bought to try that only came in 2oz bottles (and I suspected might be popular so I bought extra just in case), and a sample of lotion base in case I want to branch out into lotions.

Underneath the bottom shelf, in the back against the wall, are empty 8-oz amber bottles for fragrances.

And that's how I store my dyes and some fragrances, and also things that would be in a junk drawer if I had any drawers in this room (which I do not, but that's OK). Whoa... over 800 words and I've just barely scratched the surface of this room. This is only one corner of it!

Please feel free to ask any questions! And stay tuned for the next part of the factory tour... (Editor's Note: I plan on making this an every-other-week post... we'll see how I manage!)

 

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