Friday, February 24, 2017

Tool Box: Photopolymer Stamps: Acrylic vs Photopolymer


I came to wonder if there is a difference between stamps labeled acrylic and photopolymer (like the ones Stampin' Up! manufacturers and carries).

Turns out there is a difference. I recommend using the following product below your paper to stamp on. It is large enough you could possibly cut into 2 pieces, as most stamps are not that big. The reason you need the mat is photopolymer are a hard stamp and you do not have the built in cushion you do with a regular rubber stamp. This mat takes the place of the built in foam cushion. With hard stamps and no cushioning you risk uneven surfaces and parts of the stamped image not being able to be pressed and stamped.

Stamping Pierce Mat item code 126199 $5 page 183 2016-17 Annual Catalog

Hallupina on Splitcoast Stampers (posted with her permission) said this:

I was recently reminded of a forum topic I've been meaning to post while answering another thread regarding clear stamps. I've gathered quite a collection (some would call it a hoard) of clear stamps over the past few years and I gradually came to notice that they didn't all behave the same way, even when I tried the recommended methods of prepping the stamp surfaces (you know, rubbing with an eraser or cloth or fine sandpaper). Some would give lovely crisp prints with just about any type of ink and others would only work with pigment ink or Versafine. The latter type also had a tendency to spread out and make a blurry impression when I pressed it firmly onto the paper. So this is what I know so far about photopolymer and acrylic stamps:

Photopolymer: very sticky, stinky, takes dye ink and pigment ink equally well, stains easily (although that doesn't affect the stamped images), firmer material that tends to give cleaner impressions

Acrylic (and other mystery materials): a bit less sticky, not stinky, works with pigment or versafine ink but not dye ink, can stain too but not as readily as polymer, softer texture that is prone to spreading while being stamped

What I would like to have from this thread is a list of which clear stamp companies produce photopolymer stamps vs. acrylic (or other) stamps. Also, I would appreciate any insight from all the wonderful and knowledgeable stampers here about the different materials that clear stamps are made from, what they are, and how they perform.  

I know it's tempting to classify the photopolymer stamps as being superior to the acrylic stamps, as I suppose they kind of are in terms of their general stamped image quality, but I don't want to create an unintentional hierarchy or firestorm of controversy over which stamp companies produce high vs. low quality stamps; some of my personal favourites belong to the acrylic category!  But I would find it helpful to know in advance of buying certain stamps which material they are made of, and therefore what I'll be able to expect from them.  


She had an excellent write up, the best one I found actually. Thank you for allowing me to share it here.

So stick with photopolymer stamps (from Stampin' Up! of course ;-) and a foam stamping mat and you should be good to go.

See also my post on photopolymer stamps - A Sticky Situation on February 10, 2017 and I'm Seeing Red on February 17, 2017.


Thank you for stopping by today!

Keep being creative, Sandy

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