Monday, March 26, 2012

Tips for Using Clear Stamps

I am seeing more and more customers choose the space-saving benefits of clear stamps. I thought it might be a good idea to relate some information I've picked up along the way so that you can get the most from yours!

Not all clear stamps are created equal (tell me this does not surprise you!). Straight acrylic clear stamps tend to get sticky and "decompose" in an average of 6 years. Stampin' Up! clear stamps are a hybrid, pairing our durable high quality rubber with the benefits of see-through blocks.

Our stamps are all laser cut and come with decals so you can orient the image as you wish. I have heard a number of people recommend leaving off the decals so that the stamps cling better, but in my experience this is unnecessary. The difficulty with your stamps adhering to your blocks arises when your blocks are covered with oil and dirt from you hands. Wiping them with alcohol or lighter fluid cleans them right up and your stamps will stick just fine... if you remember to "huff" on the decal side first. Yes, you do need to "do the Darth Vader" to help your stamps cling firmly to your blocks.

A couple more tips on assembly. Did you realize that one side of the waxed paper covering the decals has a slit in it? Just bend backward slightly to "pop up" the paper layer you wish to remove. Allow the decal to remain attached to the backing sheet and lay your stamp on it, carefully noting the contours of the laser cutting and aligning the shapes. The larger the stamp image, the more you need to be aware of "rolling" the stamp onto the decal in order to avoid large air pockets. If you end up with an air bubble, just pierce with the point of an x-acto and smooth out the air bubble toward the piercing.

Finally, I recommend saving the "scrap plate" from your stamps and adhering it to the inside of the case so that you can tuck your stamps back into their cubbies. This prevents them from rattling around in the case and inadvertently getting shut in the edges as you're closing it, and gives you a quick check to be sure all the images are back in the box before you put it away. I peel off the waxed paper side and put some sticky strip around the edges and here and there in the center for support, as shown.

You may also be able to consolidate sets that come in two boxes, into one with this method. One mat can be mounted inside the lid, the other to the back of the case.

If you're wondering which blocks to begin with, may I suggest D, E & H? I find I am able to fit most images on these sizes. And have you noticed that on p.205 of the 2011-12 IB&C you can find guides to put on your blocks if you prefer a little help with alignment? This is especially useful with sentiment stamps.

Happy (clear) stamping,

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