Tightwad Tuesday: 411 on Stampin’ Up! new Clear mounts: “Clearly” the best!

Hi All,

Tightwad Tuesday is going to take a look at a brand new frugal option Stampin’ Up! has recently announced…..

Yep!  Stampin’ Up! is clearly the best!!   Starting January 5th when the Occasions mini goes live we will have some clear new stamping options!    Okay, yes I’m getting carried away with the whole clear thing!   For those who haven’t heard yet Stampin’ Up is jumping on the unmounted bandwagon at last.  Beginning with the Occasions and SAB mini’s and going forward most stamps will be available in two formats.   The traditional wood mounted stamps that we know and love and the new (still) red rubber cling unmounted stamps that mount on a clear acrylic block. 

With the new system Stampin’ Up has you covered.  If storage and price and seeing “clearly” what you are doing is your priority then the new clear mounted stamps are for you.  If you are comfortable with the wood mounts and don’t want the bother of mounting and unmounting from blocks then the usual stamp format will also still be available for you as well.   Talk about having your cake and eating it too.  

Both styles of stamps have the same high quality red rubber with the detailed designs.  While both types of stamp are now die cut for easy mounting the new clear mount stamps are cut more closely to the image edge and so generally require no additional trimming even for picky stampers.   The cushion used is also the same though different colors distinguish the type of stamp.   The new “cling” stamps are distinguished by a  Sahara Sand cushion that on one side has the cling material (instead of raw adhesive) that allows the stamp to repeatedly adhere to the acrylic blocks.   There are also clear labels that fit over the stamp images back (also with cling material) that allow you to see the placement of the image fairly (wait for it…) clearly.     While not see through stamps like other companies  with the labels and the close die cutting you will find positioning your stamps easier than before.   And if like me you are a tad Stamp a ma jig phobic that’s definitely a good thing.   Okay maybe just lazy and not so much phobic – LoL!

A couple of things that  are different about these new stamps are the way you mount them, clean them and handle them.    Once you have them in your hands you will want to check out the tutorials I have listed and hopefully SU will be posting a video on the customer site similar to the one now available for demonstrators.   It’s very important that you follow the mounting directions as the labels that affix to the back cannot be replaced except by purchasing a full new stamp set and it is possible to damage them if handled incorrectly.   Other than that mounting the labels is very easy and once done doesn’t need to be repeated.  If on the other hand you prefer not to use the labels (the cling factor is slightly better without them) the stamps work just as well without them so to label or not is strictly a personal choice.

Cleaning tip:

Cleaning is best done with a small amount of Stampin’ mist.   The stamps can be left on the block and cleaned as usual with the mist and scrub pad or the stamps can be taken off the block and gently cleaned with a cloth or other material.   One thing to note is that if you use too much mist while the stamp is attached to the block the stamp may come loose.    It’s also important not to use cleaners with oil components like Staz-on, some dish soaps or baby wipes as residue from these will affect the “cling ability” of the stamps.   Also the oils may discolor the labels – though this doesn’t interfere with the use of the stamp.

From a Frugalista perspective these new stamps are a wonderful alternative.  Each set contains the same images as the traditional wood mounts but at a considerable cost savings.  With savings of from $3- $8 dollars per set you can see that you will be able to purchase more sets using the clear mount option than you might otherwise be able to afford.  Or you can apply those savings to the new embellishments, DSP or new style punches.   And the space and organizational possibilities are also helpful.  With each new stamp set fitting into a typical DVD style and size case storage becomes simpler and more compact.   Whether you use bookcases or DVD storage systems they will take up less space and the image and names down the spine of the case will make finding your favorite new stamps much simpler (the cover sheet also gives you full size image pictures too so no more home made index sheets are needed).  And since the new cases are clear you can see at a glance whether all your stamps are in their box.    If your space is very limited you might even be able to double up some sets within one case.

Stampin’ Up!  spent a great deal of time researching current “clear” stamp technology and came to the conclusion that the “clear” photopolymer stamps currently available were not up to their quality standards and had other long term use issues (cracking, hardening, staining).     The current technology doesn’t provide the extended life and easy cleaning and care of rubber nor does it allow for crisp detailed images that Stampin’ Up is rightly famous for.    So for now Stampin’ Up is sticking with rubber.

The new clear mount blocks as you can see in the picture above  have ridging all the way around for easy and comfortable gripping at whatever angle works for you and the thickness of the blocks keeps your fingers out of the ink unlike some competitors blocks.   I’m really looking forward to those aspects.   So often with my wood mounts that are only ridged on two sides I find that to fit the stamp on the block that comes with the set I have to orient the stamp one way but my hand wants to manipulate the stamp a different way.  With a selection of block sizes and the ridging on all sides my problems with blocks and placement will be a thing of the past.    The blocks as you will see lower down are available individually as well as in a discount priced bundle set.   Buying the bundle will give you increased options as well as saving you approx. 12%.   And if you have other companies clear stamps or other unmounted rubber these  ergonomically designed SU blocks will also work with them as well.

Another terrific feature of these blocks is the ability to group multiple images on a larger block for easily repeatable grouped images.  Talk about a time saver.   Should really add to the options for Stamp a Stacks, craft fair items and creating boxed sets of cards.   Here’s a couple of images I pulled from a Stampin’ Up! demo video showing this trick.  Ignore the arrow in the middle that shows where I paused the video these are still capture images not the video itself.   As you can see from the stamped sample this trick will work for scrap pages and gift wrap paper and notebook covers as well as cards.

 

Tip:  To make your block size selection easier I’ve posted a sizing guide here you can print out on vellum or clear sheet then overlay over catalog images.  The Canadian guide can be found here.   This guide was created by  fellow demo Belinda King and posted on SCS.   As an alternative to a full sheet guide you can also create a set of templates from Window sheets cut to the proper sizes then punch a hole with your Crop a Dile and place on a ring for easy reference.   A side benefit to this method is you can also use those templates as masks for brayer or other techniques with just a bit of tape placed over the punch hole.

*****

Here’s what Stampin’ Up has to say in their official release notes( I’ll be back after this section with more tips and links):

Clear-Mount Rubber Stamp Features

  • Nine different sizes of clear blocks available individually or as a discounted bundle.
  • Blocks have ergonomic grooves on all four sides for easy grip and traditional wood-mount feel.
  • Stamps and blocks are durable and easy to clean with your Stampin’ Scrub and Stampin’ Mist.
  • Optional image labels on stamp backs let you decide if you want to see the image through the block or not.
  • Tight die-cutting for easy image positioning.
  • Large clear blocks can be used to create collages or spell words with alphabet sets.
  • Stamps store easily in standard, DVD-type cases with artwork on front and spine, making organization easy.
Item  Description  Price 
118487  Block A (1-3/16″ x 1-1/4″)   $3.95 
117147  Block B (1-5/8″ x 1-15/16″)   $5.95 
118486  Block C (2″ x 2-1/4″)   $6.95 
118485  Block D (2-7/8″ x 2-11/16″)   $8.50 
118484  Block E (3-7/16″ x 4-7/16″)   $11.95 
118483  Block F (4-7/8″ x 6″)   $16.95 
118489  Block G (3/4″ x 2-1/2″)   $4.50 
118490  Block H (1-5/8″ x 4-7/16″)   $8.50 
118488 Block I (2-1/4″ x 5-7/8″)   $11.95 
118491  Block Bundle (Blocks A-I)   $69.95 

  

Q: Why have we decided to offer clear-mount rubber stamps?
A: We have long known of the demand for repositionable clear-mount stamps from both demonstrators and customers. The problem has been how to offer these features without sacrificing the quality of our product. It took us a while, but we did it! With these new repositionable rubber stamps and clear blocks, you get the same superior image quality and durability you are accustomed to, along with the ease-of-use and storability inherent in repositionable stamps.

Q: How is clear-mount stamping different from wood-mount stamping?
A: Clear-mount and wood-mount stamps are both made with the same quality rubber and foam. You will not see any difference in your stamped images with the clear-mount stamps. The clear-mount blocks have grooves on all four sides; the grooves in the block will feel the same in your hand as a wood-mount stamp. Your stamping experience will be the same with either format. The difference lies mainly in their features and benefits. Clear-mount stamps require less storage space, and you can place multiple images on the same block. Also the image on the back of the stamp can aid you in stamp positioning.

Q: Is Stampin’ Up! eventually going to stop carrying wood-mount stamps?
A: We have no plans to discontinue our wood-mount stamps. The benefit of offering stamps in both formats is that your customers will be able to choose the medium that works best for them.

Q: Are the stamps completely clear, so the whole stamp is see-through?
A: No. The blocks are completely clear, but the stamps use our same high-quality rubber and foam. There is, however, an image label for the back of the stamp (between the block and the foam) that will help you position the stamp on the paper.

Q: Are there plans for acrylic (photopolymer) stamps in the future?
A: No. Photopolymer would have been an easy solution for repositionable clear-mount stamps, but it is prone to stretching, tearing, and discoloration, and cannot produce the kind of crisp, finely detailed images Stampin’ Up! stamps are known for. Our commitment to offering the very best products in the crafting market simply would not allow us to offer an inferior product like photopolymer.

Q: Is the clear-mount rubber different from the wood-mount rubber?
A: The rubber on the clear-mount stamps is identical to the rubber used on the wood-mount stamps.

Q: Is the clear-mount foam different?
A: The density of the clear-mount foam is the same as the wood-mount foam. However, the foam on the clear-mount stamps has adhesive on one side (to adhere it to the rubber) and a cling coating on the other side to adhere it to the block. There is also a slight color difference to help you tell them apart. The wood-mount foam color is Going Gray, and the clear-mount foam color is Sahara Sand.

Q: Will all stamps be available in a clear-mount option?
A: Most of the new stamps in future catalogs will be available in both wood-mount and clear-mount options. However, the à la carte stamps and Build-A-Bear Workshop stamps will only be available in wood-mount.

Q: How do you store clear-mount rubber stamps?
A: Clear-mount rubber stamps come in a DVD-sized storage case, and can be housed in any storage system designed to hold DVDs. The artwork on the storage label is shown at 100% on the cover, and thumbnail size on the spine. The
back of the case is clear, allowing you to see the actual stamps from the back of the case.

Q: Will larger stamp sets (alphabets) come in larger cases?
A: Stamp sets that are too large for one storage case will be packaged in multiple storage cases and will be labeled 1 of 2, 2 of 2, etc.

Q: Can I get extra storage containers or labels?
A: You can purchase a four-pack of clear-mount storage cases (item 119115). Extra labels are not available for purchase.

Q: Do I need to use the labels on my clear-mount rubber stamps?
A: The labels are designed as a tool, and you can use them or not, as it suits your preference. The stamps are designed to cling to your blocks with or without the label.

Q: How do I apply the labels?
A: Applying the stamp labels is quite simple, and you will find detailed instructions located on the back side of the storage case label. The most important thing to remember is to leave the label on the sheet until you apply it to the stamp. If you remove the label first and then to try to apply it to the stamp, you will be unsuccessful.

Q: Are the labels removable?
A: The labels are not removable. It could damage the foam if you try to remove the label once it has been applied.

Q: Does the cling ever wear away?
A: The cling is a static cling and will not wear out. However, you do need to keep both your blocks and stamps clean in order for the cling to function properly.

Q: Why isn’t my clear-mount rubber stamp sticking to the acrylic block?
A: Both the stamps and the blocks need to be clean for the cling to function properly. Clean both your blocks and stamps with Stampin’ Mist and try again. Also, if you have applied labels to your stamps, you need to press the stamp to the block with a moderate amount of pressure for a few moments in order for it to cling.

Q: How do I clean clear-mount rubber stamps?
A: You simply use your Stampin’ Scrub and a few sprays of Stampin’ Mist. Use your Stampin’ Mist sparingly–if you get your Stampin’ Scrub too wet, the excess liquid can cause your stamp to come off the block, and may also result in some cosmetic damage.

Q: How do I clean the acrylic blocks?
A: Acrylic blocks need to stay clean in order to work well. Stampin’ Mist and Stampin’ Scrub will clean StazOn, Classic Ink, Craft Ink, VersaMark, and metallic ink stains from your blocks. Avoid using StazOn cleaner, as it leaves a slightly oily residue that inhibits the functionality of the cling.

Q: How many sizes of blocks are available?
A: The blocks come in nine different sizes, and have grooves on all four sides. Each block is labeled with “Stampin’ Up!” on one edge and the block letter on the opposite edge. You can buy the blocks individually, or can purchase the entire set as a discount bundle for 10 percent off the price of the combined blocks.

*****

Links to clear mount tutorials & pictures & tips:

http://www.jaydeestamping.com/weblog/2009/12/clear-mount-stamps-tips.html – clear mount stamp intro and tips

http://www.sandimaciver.com/sandi_maciver/2009/12/new-ca.html – clear stamps 101

http://www.stampinpretty.com/2009/12/birthday-saleabration-sneak-peek.html & http://www.stampinpretty.com/2009/12/color-challenge-ppa-blog-candy.html – Mary shows you how to combine images and a close up of the blocks and stamps

http://polkadotsandpaper.typepad.com/polka-dots-and-paper/2009/12/spring-and-all-things-new.html – Good close up of blocks

http://dawnsstampingthoughts.typepad.com/dawns_stampin_studio/2009/12/clear-mount-stamp-set-.html – clear mounts and stamps video – one correction – blocks are A-I – Dawns method for adding labels is not recommended because the labels are not repositionable if you mess up but does seem to work for her so its up to you if you want to try it.
 
If you check out the Occasions sneak peek section of my last couple of blog picks and posts entries you’ll see more pictures of many of these cool new stamps and blocks as well as the results of their use.
 
*****
 
Optimal cling tip:  Depending on the level of humidity and other environmental variables your cling maybe a bit different from others – to optimize the cling factor its important that the blocks and the stamp label area be kept clean and free of oils and other contaminants.   To that end a quick spritz of stampin’ mist may be helpful if you find the cling is not what you expect.  And you should keep that in mind as you handle the stamp images.  Holding them by the sides rather than placing your fingers on the cling area will keep the surface free of skin oils.   
Also it’s important when adhering the stamps to the blocks to push down and hold for about 4 seconds.   Another sister demo made this observation during a cling discussion as to why this is necessary….
*
What I did is turn my block over so I could see through the block to the cling part of the stamp and I noticed that when you first press, there are still lots of air bubbles….if you press hard for a moment, you can see the cling part of the stamp turn more clear as the air bubbles leave and the stamp adheres as it should. I even have one long skinny stamp from the Mom set that has trouble sticking.  That’s because when you press in the middle, it bends the skinny stamp so the ends pop up a bit.  Even if you press on both ends, the middle still has a bit of air, so you really need to carefully press the whole length.  I think it is even helpful to press hard again on your work surface like you are stamping with it.
*
Something else to keep in mind if you live in a very dry climate is that a small amount of moisture may also help the initial cling process. 
*
Most people using these new stamps so far haven’t expressed any issues with cling but one or two have so I’m passing these ideas along just in case.
*****
That’s pretty much the basics on these new clear mounts that I’ve been able to put together from here and there.   If any of you have more tips you’d like to share I’d be happy to pass them along.  Enjoy pondering your new options and look for the new product starting January 5th in both the Occasions mini and SAB mini that start on that date. 
 
One further thought if you still aren’t sure if these are for you but would like to try them call and schedule a workshop with me or your own Stampin’ Up! demonstrator and consider ordering an SAB set in this new format along with a block or two so you can experiment for very little cost on your own.  After all the SAB sets are free with a $50 purchase and one or two blocks won’t set your budget very far back either.
 
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you all with hugs and blessings – Jean
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2 Responses

  1. Thanks for the tips, Jean! I learned a lot about clear stamp cleaning!

  2. Jean, this post is very informative. You have presented the information clearly and logically. I am much “clearer” now about how to use and look after these stamps. Thanks also for taking the time to answer my email and send me the link to all this fantastic information. Kris

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