I really appreciated everyone who took time to make a comment last week for the clear stamp set I gave away. I enjoyed reading them all and noticed many of you have never tried clear stamps before so I thought a post covering the basics of clear stmaping might be helpful for those who haven’t tried them yet.
What are clear stamps? Years ago clear stamps were called polymer stamps and at the time were not very good quality. Now there have been lots of improvements and most companies use photopolymer to make clear stamps that are of a good high quality. You want to look for stamps that are clear (not colored) and are separate on the carrier sheet, if you have to cut or pull them apart they are probably not high quality. Remember you usually get what you pay for so really cheap stamps are usually just that, cheap 🙂 Although having said that if you don’t plan on using the stamps very much they might be worth the savings for you, that’s a personal choice. If the stamps come from a company you are already familiar with that makes rubber stamps chances are their clear stamps are great too.
How do I use them? Clear stamps come on a “carrier sheet” which is usually printed with the stamps images, your stamps should stay stored on these sheets when not in use. You will need to buy clear acrylic blocks to use your clear stamps with. Only a few basic sizes are really needed and they never wear out, you’ll use them over and over. Carefully peel the stamps from the sheet and place it on the block, it will “cling” to the block, there is no adhesive involved. Ink, stamp and clean like normal and then carefully remove the stamp from the block and put it back on the carrier sheet. It’s that simple!
What are the pros of clear stamps? Cost, a set of clear stamps is a fraction of the cost of wood mounted. Storage, they take up much less space. Placement, you can see exactly where you are stamping, placement is so easy.
What are the cons? Staining, ink stains (especially permanent inks like Staz-On) are more obvious on clear stamps but will not effect how they stamp. Because of the way clear stamps are made they can turn yellow over time, especially if exposed to light but again it shouldn’t effect how they stamp so clear stamps should be stored away from direct light to avoid this.
Some tips on using clear stamps:
One of the biggest questions is what to do when your clear stamp had lost it’s cling. Simply wash your stamps with a gentle liquid soap (hand or dish soap) and water then let dry, it’s almost like magic, the cling comes right back! If you’ve got alot to wash try washing them in a colander so they don’t go down the sink:)
Do not use Staz-On cleaner on your clear blocks, it can cause cracks, remove the stamp from the block before using this type of cleaner. Try a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser on your blocks to remove stubborn stains.
I highly recommend conditioning your clear stamps before you use them, you can ink them up and stamp repeatedly on scrap paper or my favorite way is to rub a clean white eraser (like the ones used with stamping chalks) over the stamps, you can do this while they are on the carrier sheet and then clean them and they are ready to go. Because of how clear stamps are made they can have a film on them and by removing this it will prevent ink from “pooling up” on the stamp. Do not use sand paper or anything harsh, you could scratch or tear your stamps.
I hope I have covered some of the basic questions about clear stamps but please feel free to comment and ask any questions you might have about clear stamps.
Happy (clear) stamping!