I had no idea stampers could be particular enough to pull the sponge backing off rubber stamps because they wanted special red sponge on their stamps instead of gray sponge! Or that some people were talented enough to mount 250 rubber dies in a day!
While I haven't tried any of the unmounted systems yet, I did buy my acrylic blocks, which came with a sheet of cling vinyl. That's as far as I got. The blocks are lovely things. I spend a lot of time enjoying their pristine clarity. They are a joy to behold. However, I can't really figure out why anyone would trim a bare rubber dye, glue sponge to it, and then try to get some vinyl glued to the sponge without getting sticky stuff everywhere, not to mention bits of sponge and rubber all over the place, about like sprinkles on an ice cream cone.
I believe there was some mention of how plastic wrap really worked well in between this sandwich somewhere, but who can ever get that stuff to stick where it's supposed to?
Actually, simply putting double sided tape over the sponge and sticking it to the acrylic block appeals to me the most, but there's still the problem of getting the sponge adhered to the bare rubber.
Or the fun foam.
That's the stuff that replaced those round white pourous cream separator filters for making those pouffy fancy dolls, isn't it? You know, the ones before Barbie, with the fancy red yarn bows holding the fanfold edges of the cream separator filters together?
It's pretty thin stuff, tears easily, and, well, I haven't looked at it since the last time I saw one of those ersatz cream separator pouffy dolls at a craft show.
So when someone posted that they used fun foam as cushion for their stamps, I mentioned that I cringed. Which I should have done in the privacy of my own home. But instead I mentioned my cringing on the list as I described how I sold my rubber plates with adhesive backed foam already on them.
Remember, now, I was talking about my own stamps only. My very special, well -- children -- if you will. And I haven't seen fun foam for more years that I care to mention. But I do know that my particular kind of stamp, because it is low etch and full of very fine lines, needs a firm sponge to stamp exquisitely.
And while I have not tried fun foam on my own stamps, I have discovered that they don't stamp well with no sponge at all. Of course, that may be because I use a brayer with considerable vigor. I mean, is there any way to brayer a stamp gently and still get an even skiff of ink? In any case, under my tender brayer touch, the rubber actually stretches. This doesn't make for spiffy images.
One thing I did discover, though, was that the firm gray rubber sponge which comes on my stamps does keep the brayer from stretching the stamp, even with my rolling pin style. In fact, they seem to stamp better in some cases, I suspect because there is just enough flexibility to level out any uneveness in padding, the table top, or whatever you're stamping on. The wooden block, on the other hand, seems to hold the die so rigidly that the rubber surface can't move enough to hug the paper surface.
After the sharing of many good ideas from vendors and experienced stampers, I have lots to ponder, but one thing is certain. We all have a lot of different ways of handling mounted as well as unmounted stamps and some of us liked red sponge and some of us liked, well, fun foam. And that was kewl...
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