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Custom stamps for my personal crafting needs have always been a wish list item for me, so I jumped at the chance to review the Teresa Collins Stampmaker. With the Stampmaker, you are able to make your own clear polymer stamps, stencils, and embossing templates using just about any image. It won First Runner-Up for the 2010 CHA Innovative Award!
The Stampmaker set sells for $169 and comes with the light unit, magnetic clamp, ten stamp pacs, two emboss and two stencil pacs, acrylic block for mounting your finished stamps and two sheets of Stampmaker Cling (for mounting stamp to acrylic block), wash brush, post exposure tray, CD with the imagepac artwork modifying program and many exclusive Teresa Collins designs, two sheets of negative film for inkjet printers, eight pre-printed samples of exclusive Teresa Collins designed artwork negatives, plus written and video instructions.
For my first session with the stampmaker, I created seven images to turn into stamps. Above is the set of negative images that I created in Photoshop. I love sending snail mail, so most of these first stamps are graphics that I can use over and over on my outgoing packages.
If you do not have Photoshop or a similar program, the Stampmaker comes with “Imagpac” imaging software for PC computers. Or, you can download free negative stamp images from the Teresa Collins blog
I work on a Mac and am comfortable with Photoshop, so making the negative images was a breeze. You can scan, type, or design just about any black and white graphic and then invert the colors. I printed all seven of my stamps negatives onto one sheet of transparency film (provided with the Stampmaker) using my HP deskjet printer. You can see the resulting transparency below.
You want to be sure to print on the correct side of the transparency film (it is slightly sticky when touched with a damp finger) and the images must be printed very opaque black. If you are running low on ink and your negative images are streaky, they will not produce nice stamps.
Before proceeding, I watched the video instructions for stampmaking twice and then referred to the written instructions while creating my actual stamps. The procedure is a bit complicated, but by following the directions step-by-step I managed to avoid any mistakes (full disclosure: I made polymer stamps using a similar process once before in a print making class, so I was already somewhat familiar with the Teresa Collins Stampmaker procedure).
To create a stamp, you press a negative image on top of one of the “stamp pacs” in between the provided magnetic clamp, and then place the clamp into the light unit for three minutes. The clear areas of the image allow light to hit and harden the liquid polymer in the pac, creating the raised areas of the stamp. The strong magnetic clamp ensures that the liquid polymer is flattened into a perfectly flat surface for your stamp.
Once the stamp has been exposed, you must wash off any remaining liquid polymer. You trim the edges from the stamp pac and then rinse your stamp under warm water. You can use mild dish soap and the provided cleaning brush to clean out all of the details of your stamp. Once your stamp is totally clean, you re-expose it in the light unit and water tray to harden it once more.
Cleaning the stamps is my least favorite part of the stampmaking process. The polymer is a slight skin irritant, it has a strong odor, and it is messy. You must work diligently to clean out all of the stamp crevices, but not scrub too hard and damage your delicate stamp.
The cleaning step is totally worth the final product, though! All of my stamps turned out beautifully and created crisp clear stamped images. You can use the enclosed “Stampmaker Cling” tape to adhere your stamp to the provided acrylic block and start stamping immediately after cleaning and drying your stamp!
The return address stamp that you see above was more finely detailed and a bit more difficult to clean. I suggest using clear, adequately spaced text for your stamps. You can see that the bolded words “packaged with care by:” on the top line in my stamp are slightly harder to read. I would make that text more clear in a second attempt. Also, I had a very thin dashed line above and below my return address stamp design, but it was accidentally brushed off during my rigorous cleaning of the stamp.
Very fine design elements are harder to produce in the stamps, but they ARE possible. There are troubleshooting steps included in the Stampmaker instructions.
I have dreamed of creating the mailing label stamp seen above for years. I basically used to hand draw that same design on most of my out-going packages, which took way too much time. The stamp is a super-simple design, but I know it is one I will use over and over! (I mounted it on my own acrylic block.)
I love that the Teresa Collins Stampmaker has already made it possible for me to create things I have been thinking about for ages – all without having to place any complicated custom orders or deal with the price and shipping delay that would come with ordering these stamps from an office supply company.
I had a lot of fun making all of my stamps and then using them to pre-stamp multiple mailing envelopes. The stamps worked great on bubble envelopes and will make my mailing and shipping life much easier! There are so many more stamps I plan to make! And even though I do not think I will use them quite as often, I am looking forward to creating stencils and embossing templates with the Stampmaker next.
My ultimate opinion of the Teresa Collins Stampmaker? I love it. The stamps it produces are clear and crisp, and if you have a design already in mind, creating a stamp that you can immediately start using takes less than thirty minutes. The price may be restrictive for many, as will the fact that you only get ten stamp pacs and must then purchase additional pacs. But for serious stampers who have lots of ideas that they want to turn into stamps, it will be a valuable tool.
- Everything is included in the Teresa Collins Stampmaker set to immediately start making stamps.
- Clear video and written instructions.
- There is no limit to what you can turn into a stamp!
- Price of $169 is an investment.
- When washing out your stamps the liquid polymer is messy and has an odor.
- The stampmaking procedure may seem complicated to beginners.
Have you tried the Teresa Collins Stampmaker kit? Have you always wanted to make your own stamps? Is this a product you would consider purchasing, why or why not?