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Silpat – not just for cooking anymore…

Reported by Dana Vitek

Actually, I’ve never used it for cooking. But I have used it a TON in my crafting exploits. The Silpat holds a place of honor on my craft table (namely, under whatever stack I’m shifting from one place to the other to find whatever implement/embellishment/uh, stickerment, I’ve lost). Seriously, I use it as the base for all of my projects. It protects my work surface from inks, high heat, cleaners, polymer clay, alcohol (recreational and otherwise), and cleans up with a baby wipe. What’s not to love?!

Originally designed for lining cookie sheets, the Silpat is French, and very ooh la la. It is thick and heavy (when compared to teflon-coated “craft” sheets), and lays flat on my work surface with no wrinkles or folds to flatten out. Its silicon coating is durable; I’ve yet to leave a stain on it, and I’m really not all that vigilant about keeping my area clean (I know, you can hardly believe it).

Its best feature, non-stickability, can also be its worst, though, if you’re not careful. Since ink that is overstamped around the sides of your project does not dry, it transfers readily to the next piece of cardstock that you lay down. No big deal if you’re not persnickity, or if the back won’t show, but I can’t tell you how many custom invitation reply postcards I’ve had to recycle because I forget about this “feature.” The argument could be made that operator error is hardly the fault of the Silpat, but I’m the one writing this article, and I’d prefer not to look sloppy or forgetful.

I suppose you could turn the bug into a feature by laying down some ink on purpose and creating a monoprint. Here I used VersaMagic chalk ink Dew Drops directly to the Silpat, spritzed it once with water, placed a piece of Stampin’ Up! Whisper White cardstock face down (where is my brayer, anyone?), squished it flat with the backside of my Stampin’ Scrub because it was sitting right there, and voila, instant, one-of-a-kind background papers.

(ignore my mother’s hand in the picture, I don’t know how it got there, she wasn’t even here.)

And can you see that canvas-like texture? A happy accident! The Silpat has fiberglass mesh at its core, and the pattern transfers along with the ink. Look how much work it looks like I did! Elapsed time, 20 seconds.

(Stamp: Stampin’ Up!-Only Ovals; Cardstock: Stampin’ Up Whisper White and Orchid Opulence, PaperTrey Ink Stamper’s Select White; Ink: VersaMagic Dew Drops – Spring Pansy, Pretty Petunia, Brilliance – Pearlescent Purple; Ribbon: Offray.)

I also use it a lot with my polymer clay work. The Silpat has a surface that isn’t exactly tacky, or sticky, or gritty, but it has a little “tooth” to it, if you will. Just enough to let friction hold your work in place. Here’s a photo of the Silpat going right from my work surface, straight into the oven (on a cookie tray).


I love not having to transfer uncured clay from one place to the other; it gets less mangled this way. As in not mangled at all, which is great, because my polymer clay skills need all the help they can get.

(Stamp: PaperTrey Ink – Wise Owl Bellies; Clay: Sculpey III – Translucent & Purple Granitex; Ink: Brilliance – Pearlecent Purple)

Pros:

  • Non-stick surface with just enough tack to hold your stuff still.
  • Flat, flat, flat. No wrinkles. Did I mention that it’s flat, because it is.
  • Durable. I’ve abused the daylights out of mine, and it still looks (and works) great.
  • Wipes clean with a baby wipe. I’m considering getting my kids’ hands dipped in silicon.
  • Multiple sizes to fit your work surface.

Cons:

  • Price. It’s not that $20 is a lot for all this thing does, but since it’s not a traditional craft product, it’s not available at craft stores where you could use a 40% off coupon. And I’m cheap frugal. Just ask my husband.
  • That ink transfer issue I talked about above.
  • You know, I’ve seen prettier colors.

You can find the Silpat at kitchen stores like Linens & Things, Bed, Bath & Beyond, and Williams-Sonoma, as well as Amazon.com.

I love my Silpat, and definitely recommend it to anyone looking to not just protect their work surface, but add a tool to their arsenal. What do YOU use to protect your work surface? Leave us a comment and let us know! Also, if you know where my brayer is, you can mention that too.

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Dana Vitek

Dana Vitek is a craft-‐‑supply hoarder with an obscenely understanding husband. She works full-‐‑time as a geologist, and spends her free time sort of paying attention to her two kids, reading a lot, and crafting. She's a crocheter, but not a knitter because knitting seems way too complicated. She's a card maker, but usually only 10 minutes before a birthday party. She cusses at her sewing machine. She has at least 12 different types of glue, but can never find the scissors she wants when she wants them. Dana started writing and editing for Craft Critique in 2008. She is perhaps best known for her Mother of All Black Ink Tests, and her annual April Fool's posts. She blogs extremely irregularly at Stamping Science. http://stampingscience.blogspot.com

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12 Responses to Silpat – not just for cooking anymore…

  1. Peggy Maier August 25, 2008 at 4:11 pm #

    Love the hilarious review! (AND sorry, I don’t know where your brayer is). I have a silpat, but use it mainly for baking cookies – it works great, no sticking. I may have to try it on my stamp surface, because what I’m using now is an OLD self healing mat that has seen better days – the edges are beginning to curl & it’s driving me crazy!

  2. milkcan August 25, 2008 at 5:39 pm #

    I’m definitely going to buy one based on your review! My teflon craft sheets are getting pretty battered!

  3. Amy August 25, 2008 at 6:02 pm #

    I’d never even heard of this product but it sounds great. You made me laugh as I read your review. I don’t think I have you on my blog reader (I know, I’m sorry.) But you are a talented writer and I am going to have to follow your blog.
    Have a great week!

  4. Louchia August 25, 2008 at 6:05 pm #

    Holly Molly, they sell it for 40$ in Montreal, Canada! That’s why I’ve never used it as a craft mat. But waht a great idea 😉

  5. Jennifer Love August 25, 2008 at 10:26 pm #

    Ooh! Yannow that Amazon sells a silicone baking sheet for much cheaper than the SilPat. I think I only paid $10 for mine. 🙂 I never thought of using one in my craft room. Will have to order one for in there now. My husband’s bank account thanks you. LOL!

  6. Jennifer Love August 25, 2008 at 10:27 pm #

    Search Amazon for Matfer Exopat 11-5/8-by-16-3/8-Inch Nonstick Baking Mat…that is the ones I have. I had a SilPat one for years and years and it finally gave up last year so I replaced them.

  7. Lisa August 25, 2008 at 11:51 pm #

    Amazon often has these on sale for $9.99, when they do I buy a ton and save them for gifts. I use one in my craft area, after it was no longer fit for my kitchen.

    Note to everyone, you can cut these with a sharp knife. Butcher’s or craft. Ahem. I read that somewhere. :O) Okay, fine, I sliced through mine when cutting some fresh baked bread!

    And your brayer is in your third drawer underneath the colored pencils.

  8. Nevis August 27, 2008 at 8:30 am #

    Fantastic ides! I have one of these!

  9. Michelle August 27, 2008 at 11:48 am #

    thanks for a great tip! I will now use mine for baking beads in the oven!

  10. Jenstamps September 3, 2008 at 4:17 pm #

    Don’t forget Bed Bath and Beyond and Linens and Things often send out 20% off coupons you can use. I have two I use ALL the time for baking never thought to use them for crafting.

    Great review!

  11. Cindy Lietz, Polymer Clay Tutor May 26, 2009 at 6:46 pm #

    How cool is that! I haven’t been baking that much lately but have been doing a lot of polymer clay! My Silpat may just get moved to my studio where a lot of my other kitchen tools have gone!

  12. Amy Wike January 19, 2011 at 4:46 pm #

    I love silpat, but never thought of it being used for anything other than cooking. Creative idea!