Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Umounted Stamps

Our topic of the day: Unmounted Stamps {UMs}

I am sharing this because I absolutely did not know how to best use my UMs. After doing some research, trial & error, I found what works best for me. I am also sharing because before redoing my UMs I had them all dumped in a drawer, didn't have a clue what stamps I had, where they were or how to use them!

Although I do have clear acrylic stamps, most of the stamps I use are etched rubber and wood mounted. I prefer these stamps for a couple of reasons. First, etched rubber stamps are more durable and meant to last. Second, they are ready right out of the box. No searching for a block mount when you want to use it. Clear stamps have come a long way in quality and durability since their introduction, however, they are still not as durable as etched rubber and do not usually leave as crisp an image as you can achieve from quality rubber stamps. However, as you are probably well aware STORAGE can be a HUGE problem with wood mounted stamps!!

Today, I thought I would share my tips for using and storing UMs stamps of the clear and rubber variety. Clear stamps are simple, they stick to almost any slick surface and don't need any prep before using. Rubber UMs, however, need a little prep work before you can start stamping with them.

For rubber UMs I started with the HALO system first. I mounted one set of stamps with this system and was frustrated at all the goo and sticky that got on my scissors when trimming. You may be a fan of HALO, and I don't hate it, but I felt there must be a better way -- either that or give up buying UMs. After reading on message boards, and asking unmounted stamp fans their favorite ways to use UM's almost everyone suggested using Allene's Tack it Over and Over glue {TIOAO} and acrylic blocks. What a blessing to learn about this glue from the stampers on the Club Scrap Chat forum!

With TIOAO you brush a thin coat of glue on the back of the rubber stamps and let it dry completely. I let mine dry overnight if possible. Just squirt a little glue on the rubber and spread it evenly over the stamp all the way to the edges with a disposable foam brush like so:

Once dry the stamps will stick to slick non-porous surfaces just like acrylic stamps. woot! My next task was to find a good storage system that worked for me. Lots of people use binders - which makes perfect sense because they will fit right on a shelf and are handy to grab and flip through to find the stamp you need. I, however, am of the out of sight, out of mind variety and forget that I even have binders on my shelf! Maybe that's why I am such a clutter-bug? If I can't see it right in front of me, the chances of me using it are slim to none.

Fortune smiled on me as the winner of blog candy from Store More Stamps! I actually won the complete starter system just as I was investigating UMs on the CS chat boards. Wow! All I had to do was stick my UMs that had TIOAO applied to the back to the inserts that came with the system:

If the stamps came with an index sheet I just placed it on the other side of the insert and slid everything into the clear sleeve protector that comes with the inserts. If there is no index sheet, I quickly stamp one on white cardstock. I keep the index sheets facing forward so I can easily see the stamp images:

The storage sheets are 8x8 and coated on one side, plain cardstock on the reverse. I like this system for two reasons:
  1. The storage box is compact and holds a lot of stamps.
  2. The box sits out in my room and I just flip through it to see what stamps I have.

You can see how the Store More Stamps system works in these photos:

The storage system on my shelf

Close up ... see how I can just flip through the sheets?

Clear stamps stored on a sheet.

Nice and easy. Well, this has been long, but hopefully helpful. Please share your storage tips for UMs too. I'm always eager to learn more!

happy stampin'



Heather Leech said...

Thanks for the info on Store More Stamps! I've got some sets that come with CD cases which are very easy to store, but I've got many others that would suit this method of storage to a T! Thanks for sharing...I think I'll be buying a starter kit right after payday!
Heather L.

grandmajoan said...

once've outdone yourself.

~Michelle~ said...

this looks awesome.....thanks for the makes it much clearer.

Nessa said...

I just found your SCS post that lead me to your explanation of storing your UM stamps. Thank you so much for sharing this. It was exactly what I needed to see. Thanks again!!