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Monday, December 7, 2009

How to Choose the Right Rubber Stamps

Posted by admin in Stamps of Europe
Years ago there was only one option for rubber stamps and the crafter. The typical wood mounted rubber stamp. Many of the old rubber stamps also came with handles like business stamps today, while others had simple pegs. Thanks to the growth of this hobby, you can now buy many different types of stamps ranging from mounted, unmounted, clear acrylic, foam, individually, or by the sheet. Just a quick check online will show many companies who sell stamps in all of the above types. You might wonder what the best type of stamp to buy is. While it would be wonderful to be able to give a black and white answer, each type has applications that they perform better than the others. We’d like to take the mystery out of what type of stamp to use, when, and how to use it.

Not that long ago, foam stamps were intended to be used by children. While that may have been true many years ago, high quality foam stamps can be purchased these days. Foam stamps are a fantastic choice when you’re going to be stamping on fabric or walls. Beyond being inexpensive, they have a very deep image that is perfect for stamping on rough surfaces. Will you be stamping fabric, denim, walls, plaster, or tin? Foam stamps are probably your best option.

Twenty years ago, if you told someone that you had an entire closet filled with rubber stamps, they would’ve thought you were a crazy fanatic. These days, it is not uncommon at all to have stamps filling up cabinets and closets, a fact that has created a huge demand for stamp storage units. Because mounted rubber stamps, with a wood mount, are bulky and take up a lot of space, some crafters like the idea of buying unmounted rubber stamps. Most of the time, you can buy them in a full sheet at a time and save a bundle, or you may want to buy them individually. Unmounted stamps can be backed with anything from magnets to static cling foam, and can be mounted on the medium of choice. Some prefer using traditional rubber stamps that have been trimmed close to the design and then placed on a static cling foam that can be mounted easily on acrylic blocks. While cost per stamp is usually the biggest concern, another immediate advantage of unmounted stamps is the inexpensive shipping, because you’re not paying to ship the wood mount. Beware of buying bargain bags since these are usually of very low quality and the designs are very poor.

Acrylic rubber stamps are the newest stamps on the block. Either someone loves them or they hate them. Clear stamps have a fanatical following one day and every one dislikes them the next day. When you’ve spent a long amount of time on a scrapbook page and you want to make some final touches with a stamp, the last thing you want to do is ruin all the work you’ve done by having a smudge or putting something in the wrong place. Because clear stamps are placed on a clear acrylic block, you can see that you get good ink coverage of your stamp and precise placement. You can even double stamp by placing stamped images on top of each other. Keep in mind when looking for clear acrylic stamps that not all are created equal. If you’ve ever bought cheap clear stamps, you were probably extremely disappointed. Inexpensive, cheap acrylic stamps usually show themselves by attracting lots of dirt, and they usually tear easily. The best clear acrylic stamps made in the U.S.A. are manufactured by Stewart Superior. The proprietary photopolymer this company uses has the perfect amount of stickiness and is very durable. Sometimes when clear acrylic stamps are placed in the sun, they do discolor, but it does not affect in any way the stamped image.

The classic wooded mounted rubber stamp doesn’t need any introduction. While the selection available used to be limited to your local craft and hobby store, hundreds stores now sell unique mounted rubber stamps online. Natural rubber creates the clearest, most detailed image of all the stamp types. You should not get a smudged image (common with clear acrylic stamps) with a natural rubber stamp because the rubber pores soak up ink better than the clear polymer.

So which is best? Foam, unmounted, clear, or mounted, we will have to leave the choice up to you. The truth is, they all have their place for certain projects. If your next project is going to be on fabric, or you want to stamp baby room walls, we’d recommend you find some high-quality, foam stamps. Buy a few of each design and if one gets damaged, you can just quickly go to another one. Are you working on a long scrapbook album that’s taken hours of work? Want to put some final touches with stamps? I strongly encourage you to buy some clear acrylic stamps. There are some fantastic designs out there that you can use. By using clear acrylic stamps, you can be assured that you won’t mess up the hours and hours of work you already put into the project. Are you making cards, scrapbook pages, gift boxes, or patterned paper? Wood mounted rubber stamps or unmounted stamps, mounted your preference, are still your best bet in the end. It’s not so much what kind of stamp you have, but what kind of application you’re going to be using it with. We hope that after reading this information, you now know exactly what you need to get started on your next project. Go ahead, get started stamping today!


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