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.
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.
- 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.
- 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
cheapfrugal. Just ask my husband.
- That ink transfer issue I talked about above.
- You know, I’ve seen prettier colors.
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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