Friday, February 26, 2010

Rubber, Rubber Everywhere!

Quite a few years ago I was so much into rubber stamping that I even designed images for different online companies. It was a joy to me to see my drawings turned into cute little stamps that people actually wanted to buy. I did that for 2 years, but economics changed and once I started working outside the home, I didn't have the time to work on these designs and keep up the relationships I had with the companies I designed for. Besides monetary gain from my designs, the companies would also send me samples of the stamps once they were manufactured. Needless to say, I acquired ALOT of rubber stamps. Some, I have never even used! Some are still unmounted in their original rubber. To compound my problem, I also purchased a lot of stamp sets from companies doing home parties.  My addiction became out of control!  It became a problem to store all of the mounted-on wood-stamps and I collected them in bins and baskets. I didn't even know what I had, to be quite honest. I would also feel overwhelmed if it came down to creating a card, because with so many choices, it's difficult to narrow it down to the best choice. Sounds like a dilemma, right? Too much of a good thing? Impossible!

I ran across a company back in the 90's that sold an unmounted system called, HALOS. The stamp rubber is mounted onto a loop tape. (a lot like a velcro sheet). After the rubber is mounted, you simply trim around the rubber and voila! You have a stamp mounted with the cushion already built in. Then, using an acrylic block that has grooves that contain hook tape strips, you simply attach the hook tape to the loop tape (once again, like velcro) and your stamp is adhered securely while you stamp. It's pretty nifty! I mounted a lot of my stamps onto this product and it worked well. I was able to store them in file folders with more strips of hook tape for organization.
But, I still had about 8 storage boxes full of wood mounted stamps. And while I like the look of the wood mounted stamp, it isn't always the most practical when it comes to stamping. Unless the rubber has been mounted perfectly straight, it is hard to line up the image and many cards and scrapbook pages can be ruined because of #1 an improperly trimmed and mounted stamp, and #2 not being able to find correct placement. What's a girl to do? I will tell you what I did. I kept them in the bins and never used them much for quite a few years. Yes, I could have mounted them all on the HALOS too...but, locating the product and the ordeal of it all became daunting.

Recently though, I discovered another system that is even better! It's called the EZ Mount Stamp n'Stor. It uses the same principle as HALOS but involved a foam cushion and static cling vinyl. I LOVE this system. I recently unmounted most of my stamps and applied this product. I am very happy. I store the rubber sets in plastic jewel cases from cd's. It works great, takes up very little room and I can use the backside of my HALOS acrylic blocks so I incur no extra expense from having to purchase new acrylic blocks.

Now I feel much more organized and I can easily see what exactly I have without having to dig through bins, boxes and the chaos of my stamp collection. In all fairness, I did leave a few of my original designs mounted on wood, because they remind me of little trophies. I also have not tried to unmount any overly large stamps because finding an acrylic block that large is difficult and it uses a lot of static cling product, so didn't seem like a good idea.

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