Its Friday! We survived the first week of school! How did you make out? I spent the majority of the week feeling hung-over from a wild night of partying, except its day time, I went to bed at a respectable time each night, and there was no partying. LOL. In addition to getting back into the swing of things, I’ve resumed walking again (took like a one year hiatus, because…kids. Also because I couldn’t afford the gym membership to our leisure centre.) And, I am not disciplined enough to work out at home. Tried it. So, while I missed walking terribly, my body is having a difficult time adjusting to the busy days (how is it that life is busier without kids around?) and occasional busy evening, too. I’m looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow, and making my kids get out with me for a walk. Famous last words. I’ll let you know later how that works out.
I shared a blog post a couple days ago about our inks and the transformation they’ve gone through, as well as the new storage options we have for CTMH inks. I thought today I’d share with you what the stamps look like. Over the years, they’ve transformed, too, from wood mounts to acrylic. I realized some of you may not know what the difference is between the stamps (there’s different varieties out there), and what you’re supposed to do with them. I still have a lot to learn about stamps and stamping in general, but I’ll share with you what I know about the basics and CTMH’s specific brand of stamps.
First and foremost, you’ll notice when you look at a stamp set, that it lives in a 6×6 inch pocket. The pocket has a Charcoal coloured insert inside it with the CTMH logo and what product it is (My Acrylix Premium Quality Decorative Stamps).
*Note: on the reverse side of the paper insert are care instructions for your stamps! Caring for cling stamps is so simple. When you notice that the clinginess is gone, and your stamps tend to want to fall off the protector sheet, rinse them under your kitchen tap. It’ll restore the stickiness, and you’ll be ready to continue stamping! Its as easy as that! Also, its important to clean your stamp after each use, using the stamp cleaner and scrubber (available on my website, as well). You’ll prolong the life of your stamps, and keep them looking new longer! Some inks (especially dark ones, such as Basic Black or Peacock) will stain. Don’t worry about that. As long as you’re cleaning them within a reasonable amount of time, your stamps will not be damaged. Cleaning also helps prevent transferring and mixing of inks).
That was a big bunny trail. Sorry about that! Back to the insert, now. There’s contact information on the insert, as well (Pinterest, Twitter, etc). You’ll notice that there’s one of two types of enclosures on the pocket. The type of enclosure you see is going to determine how old the stamp set is. Previous to the current year (I think the change may have occurred in the early part of this year, or late, late last year), enclosures were button style. The current stamp sets are envelope style. View below.
Now, the rounded part of the envelope flap fits inside the slit to keep it closed. This switch was music to a lot of CTMH stamp users’ ears. The button style added too much bulk when it came to storing the stamps. With the flatter, envelope style, more stamps fit inside the storage containers, because they take up less room. Bonus! A lot of consultants (and probably customers alike) removed the buttons after the package was changed in an effort to make more room without spending more money. Now you don’t have to!
When you flip the package around, you’ll notice the stamps face outwards so you can view exactly whats in the envelope. You’ll also see in the top right corner the order number and stamp set name. The stamp sets vary in size, so the amount of stamps you see from one package to the next is going to be different. They all are put into a 6×6 inch package, unless you purchase the M sized stamp. They are 3×3 inches, and therefore don’t need such a large package to live in. There’s typically only one stamp in each M size set anyways. All the others- A to E- have multiple icons and images and are housed in this size envelope.
I didn’t know, when I first started ordering CTMH stamps, that keeping the envelope the stamps come in is important. It helps keep them together, it keeps them clean, and it keeps them from going missing. (For the most part. If you don’t rinse your stamps regularly, they will mysteriously go missing. Especially the little ones. Just saying. ;)). It also helps you remember which stamp set it is that you’ve used on a project, so when a friend comes along and tells you they absolutely need it in their lives, you can tell them all the information they need to purchase it themselves! I threw my very first stamp set envelope out. It wasn’t long afterwards that I learned that’s a no-no. Don’t make the same mistake I did! Storing them is much easier when they’re in a neat little package like these are! (They stick together if they’re not in their envelope!)
Can you see CTMH’s name on the front of the package, too? (Just in case you missed it the first time!)
When you open the stamp set, you’re going to notice a couple things right away. First of all, there’s a 6×6 sheet of foam that’s included inside the envelope. Keep that, too. Yes, it does have a function, and no, don’t throw it out along with the rest of the envelope! I did that, and regretted it as soon as I realized it was probably necessary to keep. The good news is, extra sleeves are available to purchase on my website should you need them. I’m not sure about the foam insert.
So, why do you want to keep that piece of seemingly unnecessary sheet of foam? It isn’t just an extra piece of packaging that should be thrown out along with the bubble wrap when your parcel arrives. That little piece of foam has a very important function, believe it or not!
Can you see the foam sticking out from underneath the card? (Spoiler alert- here’s a sneak, sneak peek at an upcoming card for October’s Card Blitz!!) On your work surface, that little piece of foam acts as a cushion for your stamps, so every time you stamp an image on your paper or card, you’re left with a crisp, clear image. This is especially important if you don’t have the Versamat, pictured below. (It serves the same purpose, but is 12×12 inches in size, is self-healing and is marked with measurements at every 0.25 inches for keeping things straight on your projects! I do all my crafting on top of this mat, and use its measurement lines frequently. Its a very handy tool in crafting). The little foam insert is so handy, too! You’ll want to use it any time you stamp!
It also prevents the stamp from being squished and damaged during shipping. The spongy texture acts as a cushion while it travels, so when you’re ready to craft, the image is clear and precise. If its flattened, it will not stamp as nicely, or look as good as it could. So, do not throw it out!
Secondly, you’ll notice the stamps! Duh! They come on a protective sheet that’s got the same image or icon printed on it, making it easier to see, and making the detail in the image easier to note, as well. Sometimes, the protective sheet will tell you that the image has a coordinating die cut from one of our Cricut cartridges; other times, it’ll coordinate with one of our Thin Cuts. If it coordinates with a Cricut cartridge, the name of the cartridge will be listed in the top right corner. There will also be measurements beside the image that has a sister icon on the Cricut cartridge. When you cut it, the stamped image should fit inside the die cut image.
Knowing that my stamping could look neat and professional just by using that little piece of foam (or the Versamat) while I worked was a big confidence booster for me. Now, I like stamping, and I’m not making any more mistakes! Looking like a pro is easy to achieve with one simple step. Who knew?!
What else should you know about our stamps? I mentioned at the start of this blog post that they are cling mounted, meaning they are sticky and will stay firmly secured to your acrylic block while you’re stamping. When placing the stamps on your acrylic block, make sure to attach it flat side down, so that the rough side is able to do its job. See below.
The acrylic blocks are necessary to complete your stamping. They will not stick to wood mounts, plastic or any other type of block except these. As you can see, my hand is visible from behind the stamp. See how easy stamping is using acrylic products?! Knowing where the image will be once its stamped is so self satisfying, and its never been easier. No more guessing where its going to land, or even if its going to be straight. You can see it all as you’re working. That’s the beauty of this type of stamp. Stamping with wood mounted stamps is less precise. It is harder (ok, impossible) to see where you’re stamping an image, and its nearly impossible to tell if your image is straight. Wood mounted stamps are the other popular style of stamps on the market. (Stampin’ Up predominantly carries them, I believe). Remember at the start of this post, I mentioned there were multiple varieties of stamps to choose from? Wood Mount and Acrylic is what I was referring to. When you start researching this art form yourself, try them both and decide which you like better. I can almost guarantee that you’ll choose cling stamps every time. Close to My Heart only carries acrylic cling style stamps today, but they did carry wood mounted stamps once upon a time. To stay competitive, they’ve evolved over the years and kept up with all the popular trends, which is why they’re still around today!)
In the near future, I’d like to share a process video, showing you step by step how stamping is done. Stay tuned for that! I’ll share it here on the blog, and on each of my Facebook groups (most importantly the Techniques group). If you know anyone that is interested in learning more about stamping, scrapbooking and card making, and all the tips and techniques associated with it, send them my way! I’d love to share more with them! (And you, of course!)