Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Tool Time!

I thought I would introduce an occasional tutorial/tips post about some of my favourite stamping equipment. Hopefully even experienced stampers will learn a thing or two to help them get the most from their tools :) I will aim to include instructions, and also answer some FAQ's I've come across about the product.

First up - the Stampin' Scrub™ and Stampin Mist™ Stamp cleaning system

(If you don't own this product, you can find it on page 149 of the Stampin' Up! 2008-09 catalogue - the Scrub is code 102642 and is $28.95 and the (small spray) Mist is code 102395 and $7.95).

What is it?

The Stampin' Scrub is a hinged plastic case, with two microfibre cleaning mats inside. Stampin' Mist is a concentrated cleaner and rubber conditioner, available in a small spray bottle and a large refill bottle. As a team, they both clean and protect your rubber stamps, and it's a lot quicker and more convenient than previous methods I've used with baby wipes and damp cloths.

Why are there two sides, and which side do I use for what?

The Stampin' Scrub system is designed to have on your worktable and eliminate trips to the sink for cleaning stamps between ink colours. You have a cleaning side moistened with Stampin' Mist spray, and a drying side to remove any moisture so you are ready to stamp again in an instant. The cleaning side has little a water droplet symbol in the edge gutter, and the drying side has a little umbrella symbol. Both pads are identical, it they are marked simply to help you remember which side has the cleaning spray applied. A tip you might like to use is to add a small label eg CLEAN and DRY, or a coloured sticky dot to one side, as the moulded symbols can be hard to see at times. The photo above shows my small white stickers at the edges of the mats.

How do I use it?

I like to pre-moisten the cleaning side with a thorough misting with a water spray bottle (an old travel size hairspray bottle I keep filled with water in my kit) before adding a couple of sprays of Stampin' Mist. Stampin' Mist is a very concentrated cleaner, and you only need a tiny bit, and having the mat slightly damp before hand helps to spread the cleaner out across the mat area, and also reduces the amount of Mist you will use without affecting cleaning performance.

Next, take your soiled stamp and rub it back and forth across the moistened mat, you should see some foaming where the cleaner is activated. Some people like to stamp off excess ink onto scrap paper before cleaning, and this extends the time between Scrub cleanings, but it's not essential (and I usually don't bother...) You can also 'refresh' the Mist cleaner on your pad by spraying with a little more water mist. This is especially useful in hot weather, as the cleaner is still there, just the water has evaporated. When the foaming action disappears, it's time for a couple more squirts of Stampin Mist.

Then rub the cleaned stamp across the dry mat on the other side, and you're ready to go with your next ink! It also makes pack-up time faster - it's easy to get into the habit of cleaning stamps as you go and popping them back in their storage case.

Can I use the scrub with Stazon and Craft (pigment) ink?

Yes! The Stampin' Scrub will clean off all kinds of ink. Stampin' Mist will remove most Stazon ink especially if the stamps are cleaned immediately after use. Pigment ink will leave more residue behind on the mat, but it is easily cleaned off after your stamping session.

How do I clean the Stampin' Scrub?

While the mats are replaceable, the set that comes with your Stampin' Scrub will last a very long time. The mats can be removed for cleaning, but I find it just as easy to take the whole Scrub to the sink with the mats in place. I first rinse the Scrub with warm water to remove most of the ink, and then I massage in a small amount of mild detergent - dishwashing liquid is ideal, and then rinse again to remove the remaining ink until the water runs clear. I then give the Scrub a firm shake to get rid of most of the water. Finally, I have a thick black hand towel I save just for the purpose of soaking up remaining moisture from my scrub - I simply lay the towel over the damp Scrub and press down. This has it ready to go again immediately, which is handy! Alternatively, you can simply stand the Scrub up on the drainer board and wait for it to air dry.
*Note* Please DON'T use the dishwasher to clean your scrub! While it won't affect the cleaning performance of the mats, the heat might cause the mats to buckle.
Can I use the Stampin' Scrub for cleaning my other stamps?
YES! Any stamp, acrylic, foam, wood mounted, EZ-mounted etc can be cleaned on the Scrub, it is even big enough for Stampin' Up!'s large background stamps.
I hope you'll agree the Stampin' Scrub and Mist are a great addition to your Stamper's toolkit, order a Stampin' Scrub and Mist from me during September for a free ribbon pack bonus! Offer ends September 30 at 6pm Have a Stampin' Scrub tip of your own to add? Leave a comment to share it with others here!

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