Flip through a Stampin’ Up!® catalogue, and you’ll notice something right away: not all stamps are the same! Not only do they come in many shapes and sizes, but in three different mediums as well: wood-mount, clear-mount, and photopolymer.
While picking the style of stamps you like — cute, eclectic, etc. — is usually easy, choosing the medium can be trickier if you don't understand the differences between them. So today we’ll take a close look at each, to help you choose more easily.
What All Stampin' Up! Stamps Have in Common
First, let’s talk about what you can expect from all Stampin' Up! stamps. All of our stamps:
- Are exclusive to Stampin’ Up!
- Are made from high-quality materials
- Produce crisp, clear stamped images
- Work with all of our inks and papers
- Can be used for any stamping technique
- Come in hard plastic, DVD-style storage cases
Bottom line, they're all worth investing in, because they do what they should, and do it well. So why, then, do we offer stamps in three different mediums? Because we recognize that every stamper is a little bit different, and want you to be able to tailor your stamp collection to best fit your wants and needs.
Wood-Mount Vs. Clear-Mount Vs. Photopolymer Stamps
Which stamp medium is the best fit for you? Let's look at the important characteristics of each to help you decide.
Wood-mount stamps are what probably come to mind when you think 'rubber stamps’. In this format, stamps are etched into high-quality red rubber, and backed with foam cushions. Each stamp also includes a solid maple wood mounting block in the appropriate size, plus a coordinating image sticker for labeling its block.
Something important to know about Stampin' Up! wood-mount stamps is that they require some assembly. Before you use them the first time, you'll need to:
- Punch the stamps out of the laser-cut rubber sheet
- Peel the backing off of each stamp
- Affix each stamp to the center of its coordinating block
- Attach the matching stickers to the tops of the blocks
Because wood-mount stamps include solid maple mounting blocks, they're the priciest ones we offer. However, you only need to mount them once, and then they’re ready to use every time you want to stamp.
Like wood-mount stamps, clear-mount stamps are etched into high-quality red rubber and backed with foam cushions. Also, you must punch them out from the rubber sheet, peel away the backings, and attach stickers to them the first time you use them. However, instead of sticking them permanently to wood blocks, you use clear-mount stamps with removable, clear blocks.
What’s important to know about this is that the clear blocks must be purchased separately. Plus, different sizes of stamps require different sizes of blocks. However, you only ever need one full set of clear blocks to use with all of your clear-mount stamps. Also, to best meet your budget, you can purchase blocks individually, or as a full bundle.
There are three main advantages to choosing clear-mount stamps:
- Because they don't include blocks, clear-mount stamps are less expensive than wood-mount.
- Clear blocks make it easier to see where you're stamping a certain image than wood blocks do.
- Clear blocks weigh less than wood blocks.
Photopolymer stamps are similar to clear-mount stamps in terms of price, because you also use them with removable clear blocks. However, you don’t need to punch them out or remove any backings to use them — you just peel them off the plastic storage sheet and stick them on blocks to use. But that’s not the most significant thing about photopolymer stamps!
Instead of opaque rubber and foam, photopolymer stamps are made of a 100% transparent, flexible material. This means that:
- You can see right through them when you’re stamping, and always stamp your images exactly where you want them.
- They can be flexed into slightly different shapes, to stamp sentiments in arches, etc.
- You can place more than one stamp on a block to create your own unique patterns.
Because of these special properties, photopolymer stamps are the best option for precision and flexibility in stamping.
Feature Comparison Quick Check
|Format||Block Type||Includes Blocks||Assembly||See-through||Flexible||Weight||Price|
|Wood-mount||Maple wood||Yes||First use only||No||No||Heaviest||Highest|
|Clear-mount||Clear||No||First use + mount to clear blocks each use||Blocks only||No||Medium with blocks||Lowest|
|Photopolymer||Clear||No||Mount to clear blocks each use||Stamps + Blocks||Yes||Medium with blocks||Middle|
Stamp Medium Availability
Now that you understand the similarities and differences between these three stamp mediums, choosing should be much easier. However, there’s one other important factor to consider: Stampin’ Up! stamps don’t all come in all three mediums!
Typically we offer stamps in your choice of wood-mount or clear-mount, or strictly in the photopolymer medium. So if the stamp medium really matters to you, you’ll want to note which stamps are available in your preferred variety. To find this out, just look below the set names in the catalogue.
Or, if you're shopping online, simply pick the medium of stamps you want to browse.
Remember, if you have any questions, I'm always here to help.