How can I tell the good from the bad? Since there are clear stamps on the market that are substandard quality- it’s just good business to understand the difference. Here are a few tips on what to watch out for:
1. They don’t adhere well to the clear blocks. Put the stamp on the block and tap the block on the table, if the stamp falls off they are low quality.
2. Examine the depth of the etching (depth of the stamp image). On low quality clear stamps it’s much too shallow. Good quality clear stamps will be deeply etched similar to regular rubber stamps.
3. Stamps are too soft & gooey or too hard. Making premium quality clear stamps is not easy. It takes a lot of expertise. Due to the success of Superior Clear - many imitators have appeared. Many also use photopolymer. However, Superior ClearTM stamps are made with a proprietary photopolymer that is exclusive to Superior ClearTM. It is engineered to simulate the qualities of rubber. It has a hardness (durometer) equal to rubber and therefore handles ink - just like rubber for stamping crisp, clean images.
4. Photopolymer VS. Silicone
Imitators are now molding clear stamps using silicone or other plastics to simulate the appearance of photopolymer. The stamps are even individually formed to look like photopolymer. Silicone clear stamps are usually imported and are VERY inexpensive to manufacture. If the stamps are extremely difficult to remove from the clear backing - chances are they are silicone and not photopolymer. If you see imported, non- photopolymer stamp sets selling for prices similar to photopolymer - then you are paying way too much!
Why is photopolymer better? Photopolymer is designed and engineered for ink transfer - meaning that ink transfer is the primary function of photopolymer. The same cannot be said for vinyl, silicone and other plastics. A photopolymer stamp is basically 2nd generation from the digital art. Molded stamps are generally 4th or 5th generation from the digital art. Less steps between the digital art and the finished stamps means higher resolution. Photopolymer also provides a more durable, longer lasting stamp die. The super fast turnaround, higher quality and low minimums make US made photopolymer clear stamps the obvious choice for the demanding needs of the craft consumer.