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Tag Archives | Acrylic Stamps

Vendor Spotlight: Teresa Collins Stampmaker

Reported by Rachel Johnson


Custom stamps for my personal crafting needs have always been a wish list item for me, so I jumped at the chance to review the Teresa Collins Stampmaker. With the Stampmaker, you are able to make your own clear polymer stamps, stencils, and embossing templates using just about any image. It won First Runner-Up for the 2010 CHA Innovative Award!

The Stampmaker set sells for $169 and comes with the light unit, magnetic clamp, ten stamp pacs, two emboss and two stencil pacs, acrylic block for mounting your finished stamps and two sheets of Stampmaker Cling (for mounting stamp to acrylic block), wash brush, post exposure tray, CD with the imagepac artwork modifying program and many exclusive Teresa Collins designs, two sheets of negative film for inkjet printers, eight pre-printed samples of exclusive Teresa Collins designed artwork negatives, plus written and video instructions.

For my first session with the stampmaker, I created seven images to turn into stamps. Above is the set of negative images that I created in Photoshop. I love sending snail mail, so most of these first stamps are graphics that I can use over and over on my outgoing packages.

If you do not have Photoshop or a similar program, the Stampmaker comes with “Imagpac” imaging software for PC computers. Or, you can download free negative stamp images from the Teresa Collins blog.

I work on a Mac and am comfortable with Photoshop, so making the negative images was a breeze. You can scan, type, or design just about any black and white graphic and then invert the colors. I printed all seven of my stamps negatives onto one sheet of transparency film (provided with the Stampmaker) using my HP deskjet printer. You can see the resulting transparency below.


You want to be sure to print on the correct side of the transparency film (it is slightly sticky when touched with a damp finger) and the images must be printed very opaque black. If you are running low on ink and your negative images are streaky, they will not produce nice stamps.

Before proceeding, I watched the video instructions for stampmaking twice and then referred to the written instructions while creating my actual stamps. The procedure is a bit complicated, but by following the directions step-by-step I managed to avoid any mistakes (full disclosure: I made polymer stamps using a similar process once before in a print making class, so I was already somewhat familiar with the Teresa Collins Stampmaker procedure).


To create a stamp, you press a negative image on top of one of the “stamp pacs” in between the provided magnetic clamp, and then place the clamp into the light unit for three minutes. The clear areas of the image allow light to hit and harden the liquid polymer in the pac, creating the raised areas of the stamp. The strong magnetic clamp ensures that the liquid polymer is flattened into a perfectly flat surface for your stamp.


Once the stamp has been exposed, you must wash off any remaining liquid polymer. You trim the edges from the stamp pac and then rinse your stamp under warm water. You can use mild dish soap and the provided cleaning brush to clean out all of the details of your stamp. Once your stamp is totally clean, you re-expose it in the light unit and water tray to harden it once more.

Cleaning the stamps is my least favorite part of the stampmaking process. The polymer is a slight skin irritant, it has a strong odor, and it is messy. You must work diligently to clean out all of the stamp crevices, but not scrub too hard and damage your delicate stamp.


The cleaning step is totally worth the final product, though! All of my stamps turned out beautifully and created crisp clear stamped images. You can use the enclosed “Stampmaker Cling” tape to adhere your stamp to the provided acrylic block and start stamping immediately after cleaning and drying your stamp!


The return address stamp that you see above was more finely detailed and a bit more difficult to clean. I suggest using clear, adequately spaced text for your stamps. You can see that the bolded words “packaged with care by:” on the top line in my stamp are slightly harder to read. I would make that text more clear in a second attempt. Also, I had a very thin dashed line above and below my return address stamp design, but it was accidentally brushed off during my rigorous cleaning of the stamp.

Very fine design elements are harder to produce in the stamps, but they ARE possible. There are troubleshooting steps included in the Stampmaker instructions.


I have dreamed of creating the mailing label stamp seen above for years. I basically used to hand draw that same design on most of my out-going packages, which took way too much time. The stamp is a super-simple design, but I know it is one I will use over and over! (I mounted it on my own acrylic block.)

I love that the Teresa Collins Stampmaker has already made it possible for me to create things I have been thinking about for ages – all without having to place any complicated custom orders or deal with the price and shipping delay that would come with ordering these stamps from an office supply company.


I had a lot of fun making all of my stamps and then using them to pre-stamp multiple mailing envelopes. The stamps worked great on bubble envelopes and will make my mailing and shipping life much easier! There are so many more stamps I plan to make! And even though I do not think I will use them quite as often, I am looking forward to creating stencils and embossing templates with the Stampmaker next.


My ultimate opinion of the Teresa Collins Stampmaker? I love it. The stamps it produces are clear and crisp, and if you have a design already in mind, creating a stamp that you can immediately start using takes less than thirty minutes. The price may be restrictive for many, as will the fact that you only get ten stamp pacs and must then purchase additional pacs. But for serious stampers who have lots of ideas that they want to turn into stamps, it will be a valuable tool.

Pros:
  • Everything is included in the Teresa Collins Stampmaker set to immediately start making stamps.
  • Clear video and written instructions.
  • There is no limit to what you can turn into a stamp!

Cons:
  • Price of $169 is an investment.
  • When washing out your stamps the liquid polymer is messy and has an odor.
  • The stampmaking procedure may seem complicated to beginners.
GIVEAWAY
The great group over at Photocentric is giving away an 8 x 8 faux leather storage album to one lucky reader. This is a great way to store your new Teresa Collins Stampmaker stamps as well as all your clear and cling stamps or would be a great scrapbook. 

In order to be entered to win this prize, head on over to the Photocentric Facebook page to “like them” and let them know Craft Critique sent you and please add a comment in the section below this article answering any of the following questions


Have you tried the Teresa Collins Stampmaker kit? Have you always wanted to make your own stamps? Is this a product you would consider purchasing, why or why not?


One comment per person per article, please. Winner will be selected Sunday, June 26th. Good Luck!




Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!

Rock-A-Blocks Stamp Mounting System

Reported by: Julie Campbell
Today, I would like to talk about one of the newest tools that has hit the shelves in the stamping market – the ‘Rock-A-Block’ stamp mounting system by Crafter’s Companion. I decided to purchase these blocks a few weeks ago after becoming frustrated when I was unable to get a nice, crisp stamped image using an acrylic block. I was wasting a lot of time and money, and no matter what technique I tried, my image came out looking like this:
The second image is what resulted after replacing my acrylic block for a Rock-A-Block. I used the same stamp, ink, paper, and stamping surface. I think the result speaks for itself!
You may think that all stamping blocks are the same, but there are quite a few features that make Rock-A-Blocks very innovative. The Rock-A-Blocks come in a package of four.

  • Extra large block – measures approx. 6″L x 4″W
  • Large block – measures approx. 6″L x 1-1/4″W
  • Medium block – measures approx. 4″L x 3″W
  • Small block – measures approx. 1-1/2″L x 1″W

As soon as you pick one of these blocks up, you will notice how light they are! I weighed an acrylic block and a Rock-A-Block of the same size, just to give you an idea of what I mean. The acrylic block was 4 oz. & the Rock-A-Block was 1.5 oz.

To help you center your stamp, guidelines are etched vertically and horizontally on the top of the block. The blocks are curved and you’ll notice that there are raised ‘gutters’ on the right and left of the block. These gutters help to eliminate those extra ink marks that sometimes get stamped onto our projects if any ink gets on the surrounding rubber. Only the raised, inked image can touch your paper. (To better understand what I’m trying to explain, you can watch this video.)

To stamp your image, simply place your stamp onto the curved block surface. Any clear stamp or unmounted rubber stamp can work with this stamp system. The stamps will cling and hold tightly in place until you pull them off. Just hold on to the sides of the block and rock the stamped image onto your paper. Make sure you only make one pass. Rocking back and forth will make a blurry, double image. The design of the block helps keep an even pressure so that all of the ink is distributed evenly.


I think this product would be especially helpful for those who have limited wrist movement or hand strength. The block is so light, and the rocking motion eliminates the need to press firmly to get an even stamped image.

Stamps by: Papertrey Ink

I think that Rock-A-Blocks are great tools to add to your stamping collection. I will definitely turn to these when I’m using a detailed image or when I’m stamping onto expensive paper. I’ll still use my straight acrylic blocks when I need a perfectly aligned sentiment or when I use a stamp positioning tool. The Rock-A-Blocks just aren’t as easy to use when it comes to precise placement, and the shape of the block isn’t compatible with tools such as the Stamp-a-ma-jig.

Pros:

  • Kit comes with multiple sizes of blocks and works with almost any size of stamp.
  • Blocks are light weight and do not require much pressure when used, making it perfect for those with arthritis or limited strength.
  • Blocks make clear, even images – eliminating paper waste.
  • “Gutters” help eliminate ink marks outside of your stamped image due to over-inking.

Cons:

  • Rocking motion makes precise stamp placement difficult.
  • The shape of the blocks make them incompatible with stamp positioning tools (such as the Stamp-a-ma-jig).

The Rock-A-Blocks stamp mounting system retails for $19.95. I purchased mine from All That Scraps, but it can also be found in the following online stores: Papertrey Ink, the HSN, & Stamping Bella (for you Canadians).

Have you tried the new Rock-a-Blocks? If so, I’d love to hear what you think about them! Leave us a comment and let us know!

Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!

SeeD’s Cling Unmounted/Wood Mounted Conversion Kit for Rubber Stamps

Reported by: Jessica Diedrich

Even if you’re brand new to the stamping world, you are probably well aware that this “ain’t your Grandmother’s rubber!” There are tons of different varieties of rubber, polymer and the like on the market nowadays, and many of these choices vary greatly from the traditional, wood-mounted rubber stamps. You can find die-cut, mounted, unmounted, unmounted with cling, uncut rubber…the possibilities seem endless, and can sometimes be confusing.

Unlike their traditional, wood-mounted counterparts, this new breed of stamps pack one big advantage: being able to use them with clear acrylic blocks makes it easier to see where you’re stamping. In fact, this technique has become SO popular recently, that enthusiasts are finding ways to convert their older wooden stamps into unmounted ones that are ready to go with the acrylic blocks. This is achieved by converting them with a special material that helps them “cling” to the blocks and store away from them when not in use.

There are a few different products out there to try. The three that I think have been the most popular are EZ Mount by Sunday International, Aleene’s Tack it Over and Over Again glue, and SeeD’s Cling Unmounted/Wood Mounted Conversion Kit for Rubber Stamps.

(stamps by Stamping Bella)

A great value at under ten dollars, I chose to pick up the SeeD’s kit at my local Michael’s (editor’s note: I have scoured the internet looking for an online source and have come up empty. SeeD’s was recently bought by Darice, which may have affected their distribution channels).
The kit comes with 4 clear plastic storage cases, just a tad longer than my CD cases I store some of my clear stamps in. In fact, it will fit in some CD case holders/towers. It also comes with 8 sheets of cling material and 8 cardboard inserts that are coated smooth on both sides to allow for the stamps to cling to them when not in use.


The instructions are right on the box. They were a bit vague in my opinion but easy enough to get started. There was also information on how to microwave wood-mounted stamps individually for 10 seconds and then apply this cling to convert them to unmounted stamps. I chose to try them out first with some unmounted rubber I’ve been really wanting to use. The cling has two sides; a “permanent” side that adheres to the stamp, and the cling side that you can re-use over and over on acrylic blocks.

To begin mounting the stamps, you place the stamp over the cling sheet (before backing is removed) and just trim around the stamp as best you can to try and shape it.


Once trimmed, the backing on the permanent side (the side with the SeeD’s logo) can be removed and the permanent backing can be placed on the stamp. I trimmed mine a bit more after adhereing.

The stamp mounted easily and securely on the acrylic block. However, after only a few uses, some of the stamps lost their cling completely. I was surprised that this occured only after a few uses. Also after a few uses, the backing seemed to start to peel off the rubber stamp.

Eventually, there were a few stamps that I had to completely re-do. I was sort of surprised that this happened on more than one occasion because the box said that you could re-use it “over and over” again.

The other thing I noticed was that the cling began to warp and wrinkle on the back of several of my stamps as well. I mounted and stored them exactly as directed and I was disappointed by this.

One thing that a few people have asked me was if there was any compromise in the image quality because the cling is not on any type of foam material, it’s just a flat surface. Although I don’t believe so, it was a bit hard to get used to without there being any foam attached to the sticky material. Just like polymer stamps, the image isn’t any different, though.

Pros:

  • Very reasonably priced at $9.99 (USD) in most stores
  • A great way to convert wooden stamps into unmounted for use w/ acrylic blocks
  • Comes with its own storage system which is great

Cons:

  • No real staying power in the cling material; took re-application long before I expected it to
  • No foam surface between the rubber and the cling
  • A bit tricky to get used to using in terms of hand-trimming and mounting without much instruction

Overall, I don’t think that I would recommend this product. It lacked the staying power and ease of use that the box claimed, and became frustrating to work with. My stamps often fell off the blocks after only a few uses. This product didn’t seem to hold up well and was disappointing; I had hoped it would be a great way to mount my unmounted rubber stamps and even possibly convert some wood ones.

What have you tried to convert your stamps? Any suggestions or advice to make this product work better for me? Leave a comment and let me know! Thanks so much for reading! Enjoy the upcoming holidays!

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