Cling, Photopolymer – what does it all mean?

If you are new to stamping and cardmaking it can often seem overwhelming. So many things to know and learn. So many tools to choose from, all different kinds of stamps, paper, ink, and more. Well I’m here to help you learn everything you need to know to get started on a fun and rewarding hobby!

Last week I kicked off my Intoductions to Card Making and Papercarafting series with the five must have tools for beginners. Today I’d like to talk about cling stamps (also known as red rubber stamps) and photopolymer stamps (clear stamps).

It wasn’t all that long ago that all stamps were the red rubber stamps mounted on wood blocks. They were bulky to store and it wasn’t always easy to see where you were placing your stamped image. This could be very frustrating as it was easy to ruin a project with a mis-placed or crooked image. In 2013 Stampin’ Up! introduced its first sets of photopolymer stamps – a real game changer!

The introduction of photopolymer (clear) stamps elimated the need for bulky wood blocks to mount every stamp. Instead, clear acrylic blocks were used by adding individual stamps to the block when needed. Instead of having a block for every stamp, you could now have just one or two blocks to use with the interchangable stamps! The unmounted photopolymer stamps were also easier to store, fitting in a slim case, much like a dvd.

So which type is better?

People often ask which is better – cling or photopolymer? The answer to that is which ever you prefer! I use both as I purchase stamps set on what I like, not what they are made of. Some people prefer the photopolymer stamps as they can see exactly where they are placing them on the paper. This is especially helpful when doing two-step stamping (meaning you stamp one image and stamp a second image over the first).

Like all things, each type of stamp has its pros and cons. Let’s take a look at the similarities and differences between the two types.

Cling stamp set on left, Photopolymer stamp set on right

Both cling stamps and photopolymer stamps are mounted on clear acrylic blocks for stamping. Both types are stored in slim cases, much like DVDs. Both types are cleaned with either a Simply Shammy or Stampin’ Mist Stamp Cleaner on a Stampin’ Scrub.

Cling Stamps

Cling stamps are made of red rubber and have a “built-in” cushion (foam layer) which helps get clear stamped images. Cling stamps offer more detailed images, with some stamps labeld as “distINKtive”, meaning the stamps create different opacities in a single stamped image. These distINKive stamps often have fine details that may not be visible until stamped.

Photopolymer Stamps

Photopolymer stamps are made of a polymer material. They are different from cling stamps in that they do not have that “built-in” cushion (foam layer), that’s why I recommend using them with a Stampin’ Pierce Mat. As previously stated, photopolymer stamps are good for two step stamping as the clear material allows you to see where you are stamping

Check out my YouTube Video where I discuss the differences (and if you haven’t yet subscribed to my Crafty Klock YouTube channel I would be most grateful if you would!)

Cling Stamps vs Photopolymer Stamps

You can shop for cling stamps, photopolymer stamps, and accessories (Stampin’ Pierce Mat, Simply Shammy, Clear cases, acrylic blocks, and more) at my on-line Stampin’ Up! store. Just click the link below to start shopping.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. I hope you learned a little something and are excited to start or continue on your crafting journey. For even more ideas and inspiration, be sure to sign up for my email list. I share tips, tricks, tutorials and more everyweek. Click here to sign up. Happy Stamping!

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