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Monday, May 28, 2012

Kill Your Monday Blues with Hils Hints: Stamps


We’re taking a short break from distress this week to answer a few of the most common questions that Valerie and Penelope hear : 
what are rubber stamps for? 
how are they different from clear ones? 
why are they so expensive?

Firstly, there are several different types of stampclear stamps, foam stamps and rubber stamps. All of them have their pros and cons.  
Rubber stamps are the most traditional type of stamp.  They are often considered to give a better, more detailed stamped image than clear stamps, and many experienced stampers prefer them.  They also offer an additional degree of versatility, in that you can stamp into hot materials (such as ultra thick embossing powder, UTEE) with them to get great effects.  If you do this with clear stamps, you risk ruining them.

Rubber stamps are provided in different formats.  The best-known is mounted, where the stamp is mounted onto foam, and then onto wood.  The wood will usually have a copy of the stamped image on it.  These are great because they last a long, long time, you don’t need to use anything else with them (other than ink, of course!), and they look really good on your shelves!  However, they do take up a lot of storage space.

Manufacturers have realised that storage space is often an issue, and so now offer their rubber stamps as “cling stamps”.  These are, to put it simply, just like the wood mounted stamps but without the wood!  They have the stamp, and the foam, but the foam has a smooth surface which will cling to an acrylic block, giving you the same high quality stamped image.  The advantage of cling stamps over wood mounted is that they are often a little bit cheaper, and they take up much less storage space.

Some manufacturers offer stamps as just the rubber image.  You simply cut them out and use them.  Most people like to mount them onto EZ mount cling foam – it makes them easier to use and gives a better image.

Clear stamps are completely different. Also referred to as acrylic stamps, they are usually made of polymer, and cling to an acrylic block.  The big advantage of these is that you can see exactly where you are stamping.  They also tend to be cheaper than rubber stamps.  However, you don’t get the same level of detail that you get with rubber stamps.  You also have to be more careful when stamping – you need to put something underneath your paper or card, such as a mouse mat or magazine.  You have to apply enough pressure to get the whole image, but not so much that the polymer spreads out on the paper, producing thicker and/or distorted stamped images.  They don’t usually last as long as rubber stamps, and you also have to be careful with cleaning and storage, as the polymer can react with some substances.

Which may make it sound as if I prefer rubber stamps, but my collection probably has more acrylic stamps than rubber ones.  Acrylic ones often come in collections which work well together, making them easy to design with as well as good value for money.  My rubber stamps tend to be classic images, particularly background stamps, that I use over and over again, ones that won’t become unfashionable in a couple of years time and that I am unlikely to get bored with. 

As for the cost – well, compared to some things yes, stamps can seem expensive, especially the wood mounted ones.  But you need to see them as a tool, that you can use over and over again, in many different ways and achieving many different effects.  They’ll last a lot longer than that pack of stickers or collection of chipboard shapes – and you can even use them to make those stickers and chipboard shapes more interesting!  See them as an investment, and you’ll soon realise that you will get great value for money from them.  I am still using some stamps that I bought when I first started crafting, about seven years ago.

At some point in the future, I’ll run a series of articles on the blog about stamping, showing you lots of different ways in which you can use them.  In the meantime, if you have any questions about stamping just ask, I’ll be happy to help.


Fielding said...

Nice post thanks for sharing with us Blue Copy Xstamper Stock Stamp

Laserwrite Promotions said...

I really found this interesting and very informative

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