Choosing Clear Stamps

If you are a scrapbooker or papercrafter, you are used to buying paper, stickers, rub-ons, and pre-made embellishments. You have also probably purchased some tools such as a paper trimmer, scissors, or hole punches. During the last couple years, many scrapbookers have discovered that clear stamps are another tool that they can use to make beautiful scrapbook pages and papercraft projects. If you are considering purchasing clear stamps, you have a number of choices about what kind of clear stamps to buy. In this article, we will help you answer two important questions:

    - Why should you invest in clear stamps?

    - How can you tell a high quality clear stamp from a low quality one?

We hope that this article will answer those questions and provide information that will let you make wise purchase decisions!

Technique Tuesday Project

Why Invest in Clear Stamps?

Stamps are a tool. People buy a tool because they think the tool will do a good job for their particular task, because they plan to reuse the tool on a number of projects, and because they expect the tool to last. Inexpensive clear stamps often don't work very well. They are made from materials that won't stick to a block. The inexpensive materials do not accept and transfer ink, producing poorly stamped images. These materials can also deteriorate and fall apart. When you make an investment in a high-quality clear stamp, you get a stamp that will cling to the clear blocks and storage sheet, create well-defined images time after time, and that will last indefinitely.

How Do I Choose a Quality Clear Stamp?

Once you realize that not all clear stamps are created equal and that you are making an investment in a tool, then you have to ask, how can I tell a high-quality stamp from a low quality one? Especially when all those clear stamps look the same? Here are some quick tips about what to look for when you are selecting clear stamps for your collection.

    Beautiful Layout Consider purchasing clear stamps made in the USA. Stamps manufactured in China or Taiwan are made from inexpensive vinyl, silicone, low-quality polymer, acrylic, or other inferior materials. These substances won't stick well to an acrylic block, cause ink to pool on the stamp, and don't produce well-defined images. In addition, these lower quality stamps are made from materials that may weaken or even break down when they come in contact with ink, paint, or other common household materials. A high-quality stamp should be clear and not cloudy, will feel firm, but not hard, and will give when you press on it without feeling gooey or squishy.

    Look for thicker stamps. To cut costs, some companies use less material and rush the manufacturing process. This produces thin stamps that are easy to tear. These thin stamps also have shallow peaks and valleys. When you press down, the peaks flatten out and produce poorly defined or partially stamped images. Before you purchase a set of clear stamps, look at the stamps from the side. High quality clear stamps will be about 1/8 of an inch thick, and you will be able to see distinct peaks and valleys.

    Look for very little material around the stamp image. Some companies make stamps with wide areas around the stamp image. The wide areas mean that the stamps can't be placed close together on a block to spell out words or phrases. The extra material or cut edges can also catch extra ink and easily mar your project. Look for images that are in the center of the stamp and have less than 1/16 of an inch of material all the way around the ends of the stamp image.

Whether you are considering Technique Tuesday Clear Stamps or stamps from another company, we hope that these simple tips will help you select the best quality clear stamps!

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