Sunday, October 19, 2014

Stamps, Stamps, Stamps

I was at a team meeting today with a few other CTMH sister consultants and while I was there to brush up on my Cricut skills we started talking about stamps. 

 A story went around the table about some  potential customers stating that Acrylix stamps only last 5 years, were poorly made and because of that they were going to stick to rubber stamps.  This got me to thinking so I did some research.

First off I need to post a disclaimer:
Parts of this post contain information from other blogs and some photos that were taken from the CTMH catalogs.  I found "pros and cons" and will try to explain both during this blog post. I will not post the names of the blogs this information came from.  No names will be used. 

I have been consultant for 9 years so I have some perspective that CTMH stamps do in fact last longer than 5 years. That phrase made me giggle but then during my research I found other mis - truths that were mind boggling.

Here goes:


Acrylix Stamps can deteriorate easily:  

In the blog photo she showed a photo of a melted clear stamp stating that it had been stored in a shed.  She stated that Acrylix stamps had to be kept in special containers away from light and cold.

My Experience:

I keep my stamps in the envelopes they come in from CTMH but I also keep them in a tower of drawers that are clear.

I scrap with the blinds open, or closed.  The window open or closed.  I have scrapped when the heat has been out or when the A/C has been broken with no worries about how I am "storing" my stamps.

I have a couple stamps that I use so much that they live on the block and never come off.  When I bought the stamp I bought a block for it to live on.

One time I had a stamp sitting on my self healing map on the grid because I was getting a measurement.  I left the room to go make a cup of coffee and forgot I had a unmounted stamp sitting on the mat.  Yep I set my HOT cup of coffee right on top of that stamp then spent about 10 minutes looking for where I put the stamp because I knew I had it somewhere before my coffee was cool enough for me to take a sip and thus finding my lost stamp image.
There was NO damage to that stamp image... NONE! 

I have never had a stamp get crusty or hard. I have had stamps in the trunk of my car during a Texas summer that have never melted. 

 I have had them get furry but that is only when the cat sits on them while I am working.  A little soap and water and the cat fur comes right off. 

I recently found a stamp that I have been kicking myself for not ordering when it was in the catalog.  It was in the catalog in 2007!

This is a photo out of that catalog.  I bought a used stamp just a couple of weeks ago from a sister consultant sight unseen because I knew it would be in perfect condition.  I was not disappointed.
I was so happy with that stamp that I wrote this note on the storage envelope
The stamp is 7 years old and very used. 


You must keep them in a container away from light and in your house to keep them from discoloring. 

My Experience:

Let me show you one of my favorite stamps.

This stamp is from the CTMH Spring catalog 2011.  It is only 3 years old - not the oldest in my stash but not the newest.  Every image on this stamp has been used.

What do you see?

A  coupe of clear images
A couple of pink images
A red image 
A purple image


Is it because I store them in clear drawers, or because I forgot to clean my stamps immediately?  Nope.  These stamps are clean.

Acrylix stamps sometimes stain with use.  There is no rhyme or reason  why -  they just do.  In fact I like the that they stain with use.  Have you ever dropped a clear stamp and not been able to find it?  If there is a slight stain you will be able to see where it is.

Brand new stamps on new blocks

Well loved stamp on a well loved block

Now some might say that CTMH inks stain the stamps but that is not the case.
I have used the following types of inks on my stamps.

Staz - On
Archival inks
Water Based inks
Alcohol inks

Staz - On is sure to stain your stamps even with the Staz - On cleaner because it "STAYS ON"  That is what it is supposed to do.  As you can see even with a well loved dark purple staining (probably from Staz -on) My stamp is still clear and I can still see my stamp for placement.


Loss of Stickiness

My Experience:

If the cat sits on my stamps they will not stick on the block. 
 Seriously... She stated that over time Acrylix stamps get dusty and loose their "stickiness" and will be difficult to stick to your block.

It is simple, if your stamps starts to feel like it is not sticking as well as it used to just give it a quick wash with a tiny bit of soap and a rinse with water. Dry the stamp and continue to play.
This is no big deal. 


You must clean your stamps right away and every time you use them.

My Experience:

Well you should clean your stamps as soon as you are finished with them but sometimes life gets in the way.  It is ok if you forget to clean your stamps.  You can use a stamp cleaner spray and scrubber or simply wash with soap and water.  The stamp might be stained but that is ok.

Here is my favorite Myth:

Won't last long
"Acrylix stamps will not last long because they have not been designed to."
" If you really like a stamp and want it forever, buy it in rubber but if you like to change your stamps like you change your clothes, acrylix are perfect."

My Experience:

Nobody and I mean nobody abuses a stamp like a professional.  CTMH is my JOB and I am paid to create.  Let me list the ways a professional scrapbooker or stamper can abuse an Acrylix stamp.

Pull it roughly off the carrier sheet
Stretch it into all kinds of unintended shapes
Use materials that are not meant for stamping like household bleach and paint
Cut them apart to make smaller background stamps or separate sentiments
Step on them (on accident)
Sit coffee on them (on accident)
Leave them in hot cars in the summer
Leave them in cars during ice storms
Use them outdoors in all weather during craft fairs
Have a cat chew on them

This is all of the ways I personally have abused my stamps and they all still work like new.  They only ones that show "damage" are the ones that I used a craft knife and cut on purpose.  Even when the cat was chewing on the stamps - there were no teeth marks. I have never had a stamp image tear when taking it off the carrier sheet or tear when I am bending or stretching the stamp for a project.  
Getting the paint off was a challenge but a toothbrush came in handy for that one and the stamp is still in my collection and still gets used. 

 (BTW - if you are wondering, yes the cat likes to help me create sometimes)

Now that you know just how functional Acrylix stamps are feel free to go out into the world and create until your heart is content.

Tomorrow I will post about stamping basics for those that need a refresher course.  I learned some new things while doing my research and want to share them with you.

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