Review: Stampin’ Up! Undefined Stamp Carving Kit

posted on August 12, 2013 in Arts & Crafts | 122 comments

Look what I got to play with recently! It’s been a while since I carved any stamps because I’ve been busy with illustration work. I’ve been itching to dig my tools into erasers and rubber and this came at a perfect time!

01-box

 

It’s a Stampin’ Up! Undefined Stamp Carving Kit which comes with everything you need to start carving your own custom rubber stamps. Fun! I’m not a fan of pre-made creativity and apart from the time I was ten and bought some kiddie stamps from a neighbour’s garage sale, I’m not the type who would buy ready-made stamps.

childhoodstamps
Some old stamps I got from a garage sale
 

I like making things my own way and I love carving stamps, so how perfect is the Stampin’ Up! Undefined Stamp Carving Kit? Here’s what’s inside:

neatlyarranged
02-contents

I love how everything you need is already included in the kit, including wood mounts!

 

One of the first things I took note of was the rubber.

03-rubber

I immediately noticed, even before taking it out of its plastic wrapper, that the rubber was pleasantly weighty and had a thick, firm consistency. The quality of the rubber is important as it can make or break your stamps (sometimes literally). I’ve tried a low-quality rubber carving block before that was too soft and floppy– it wasn’t any good for carving as the rubber didn’t hold up against my carving tool.

04-tips

Speaking of carving tools, there are TWO in this set, with U- and V-shaped tips. They come with a protective cap– a nice touch. Now I don’t have to worry about my cat stepping on them and hurting herself if I leave my tools lying around. It’s also convenient that you have two separate tools for carving instead of switching out the tips like you would if you were using a Speedball cutter.

If you’ve been following my stamp-carving progress, I started carving stamps using similar U- and V- tips I got locally from National Bookstore.

Woodcutting tools

They’re Chinese woodcutting tools and they do the job fine but let me show you how the V-tip tool from my generic set and the Stampin’ Up! set compare.

05-tipcomparison

As you can see, compared to the generic V-tip, the Stampin’ Up! V-tip is much, much sharper and finer which gives you a finer carving line– great for carving small details! I couldn’t wait to try it out.

06-makedesign

I started out by taking a wood mount, approximating a square of rubber that would fit on the mount, cutting out the square, outlining the size of the rubber on a piece of paper, and drawing my stamp design (the kit came with stamp templates but I’m an illustrator so it makes more sense for me to draw my own designs :P).

07-transfered

I then transferred my drawing on the rubber. (Feeling lost? Check out my complete and in-depth stamp carving tutorial here.)

08-trace1
09-trace2

This step is optional, but I took an X-acto knife and lightly traced a shallow cut along all the edges of my design for better carving control. I do this every time I start carving, but this particular rubber is so firm and sturdy that I probably didn’t need to do this this time. I only outlined my edges previously to serve as a guide and to prevent wayward strokes when using the carving tool against softer rubber material.

10-carving

With all edges traced, I started carving using Stampin’ Up!’s tools– the V-tip to go around the design’s edges and in between small areas, and the U-tip to clear larger, unwanted areas around the design. Again, the rubber was pleasantly firm– it’s much firmer than the erasers and carving blocks I use so it takes a bit of getting used to, but I found that this rubber holds up well against the carving tools and thus gives me greater control over finer lines and smaller details. I think I prefer this firmer consistency over the butter-like carving block I bought in Singapore.

After I finished carving the stamp, it was time to ink it. At first I was looking for an ink pad in the kit but instead, the kit came with a double-tipped Stampin’ Write Island Indigo marker. Initially, I thought it was *just* a pen and thought it was weird and unnecessary, but figured out that its wide-tipped end is what you use to ink your stamp. Ooooh.

11-inking

It would be great if the kit came with a bunch of different marker colors so you can apply numerous colors on one stamp, no? But I like the shade of blue the marker came in.

12-teststamp

I tested the stamp on paper to make sure it was carved cleanly, and when I was satisfied, I stamped the rubber on a wood mount.

13-mount

I used black stamp pad ink for this because I prefer my wood mount with black ink instead of blue. But that’s just me. I also trimmed the stamp’s edges. (Tip: the discarded block edges make GREAT pencil erasers! I’ve been using rubber block discards as erasers for my illustration work)

14-foam

The kit also came with a 3 x 4 piece of foam with a double-sided sticky surface– it goes in between your wood mount and your rubber stamp. I don’t know if you really need that foam in between, but it does give your stamp a nice little “sink” when you press it on paper and it helps distribute the ink evenly.

15-finished

The finished, mounted stamp.

I liked carving with the rubber and the tools so much, I made three more stamps and used up all the things in my kit.

16-otherstamps

Photo from my Instagram account

 

I love the wood blocks– I’ve never mounted my stamps before and these mounts make them look legit :P

The kit also came with three blank postcards so I used the stamps I made and the 0.5-tipped pen end of the Stampin’ Write marker to draw around the stamped images. See, this kit really comes with everything you need!

17-postcards

I even used the nice, sturdy kit box to store my other stamps. Well, some of it, anyway. I may need a bigger box.

18-stampstorage

I’m so pleased with the Stampin’ Up! Undefined Stamp Carving Kit. It’s available here on the Stampin’ Up! website (also with kit refills) but, at the time being, only in the US and Canada :( FORTUNATELY, Stampin’ Up! has generously given me an Undefined Stamp Carving Kit to GIVE AWAY!

UPDATE: August 19, 2013:
COMMENTS AND GIVEAWAY CLOSED. The winner has been announced!

19-yaygiveaway

This giveaway is open to everyone, regardless of where you are in the world. All you have to do is LEAVE A COMMENT (just ONE COMMENT per person please) on this blog post. It can be a smiley face, or “me!” or anything you want to say (a joke, a poem in iambic pentameter, the declaration of independence, etc?). Just make sure you’re using a valid email address. I will be closing the comments by 12:00 NOON, Philippine time (GMT+8), on Monday, August 19. For reference, that’s Monday, 12 midnight in New York. I will be picking a RANDOM WINNER (either via a random number generator or by drawing names out of a box) the same date, August 19. I’ll be throwing in one of the postcards above and my own Do More of What Makes You Happy postcard. :)

20-domore

Follow my Instagram account as well (@wedgienet)– I may also send out the other two postcards to random winners on IG. I’ll post details on my Instagram account by mid-week :)

UPDATE: August 19, 2013:
COMMENTS AND GIVEAWAY CLOSED. The winner has been announced!

[ Full disclosure: In case it’s not obvious yet, this is a sponsored post. Stampin’ Up! sent me two kits– one to review, and another to give away. I don’t usually do sponsored posts (in fact, this is my first) and I turn down a lot of would-be advertisers because most of what they offer isn’t something I myself would be interested in, but I thought this kit is something a lot of my followers would love, as I do :) ]

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