The Stamps I Use

Friday, February 4, 2011

Hot Craft Knife - it's a good thing.

Hi all,

first of all, no this ISN'T a scheduled post. As usual, my little (okay he's not little) Nommer had me up at 2:42am for his middle of the night nosh. And since I took the day off work to be with my dearly beloved as he recuperates from his surgery, I'm not feeling inclined to go back to sleep right away.

So, I figured I would share my other task that I FINALLY got around to yesterday afternoon while dearly beloved was under the knife. Some of my more recently purchased (okay, last six months) stamps, FINALLY got mounted on EZ mount and trimmed.

I had wanted to use my Walnut Hollow Hot Craft Knife to do the trimming but really needed to do it somewhere well-ventilated instead of in the craft room. Believe me, I had tried this once previously but the smell of melting rubber was NOT good (and the fumes are probably toxic).

So, what do I decide to do in the middle of winter -- IN OTTAWA no less? That's right, into the laundry room airlock. Door to the main part of the house closed, door to the garage AND the garage door open, I plugged in my knife and set to work in the laundry room trimming stamps. The thermometer said it was minus six degrees Celsius outside.

Tip #1: put something hard and not able to be cut by the knife down for your work surface. I keep a left-over marble tile in my craft room for this sort of thing. Comes in handy on lots of occasions.Oh, and do this somewhere where your curious pets, children and spouse can't interfere. That knife is wicked hot. DO NOT touch ANY of the metal pieces.

Tip #2: tape the holder for the knife to your work surface. It keeps it from sliding around when you aren't holding it.

Tip #3: some stamps are easier to cut through than others. Red rubber vs grey rubber vs pink rubber. Thick vs thin. You CAN wait and trim through the layers of rubber and EZ mount all at once BUT....well, it might be worth it to pre-trim your stamps if they don't already come pre-trimmed. I found the knife easily went through my TGF stamps (which come untrimmed but already mounted - see above).

The Stamping Bella stamps were easy to go around (they come trimmed but unmounted). My SCRS stamps were best if I pre-trimmed them and then used the hot knife just to cut through the EZ mount. I only say this because I did pre-trim them but on one I didn't trim close enough in one section and decided I wanted to trim a little closer and tried with the hot-knife. Now it might have been that my hands were freezing but I did have a hard time trying to trim through both layers and eventually just used my titanium scissors (didn't want to risk damaging the stamp by trying too hard to cut it with the knife). Whereas earlier, when my hands were still warm, I was easily able to do the TGF stamps. That might have been a factor.

Tip #4: it's a good idea to lay out your stamps on a cover sheet before you put them on your EZ mount. That way you can maximize your use of it and minimize your waste.

Tip #5: do a quick separation of all the stamps on the sheet (or however many you are cutting out) before doing the finer trimming of each stamp. Easier to work with a smaller piece than with an entire sheet at once.

Tip #6: EZ mount thickness to use? It's a personal preference thing. I use a mix of the thick and the thin. And generally just squeeze in sentiments wherever. I generally put thicker rubber on thinner EZ mount and thinner rubber on the thicker EZ mount.

Tip #7: holy moly. If you are doing this "outside" in sub-zero temperatures, don't let the number of stamps you have to trim build up! See how red my hands have gotten in the time it took to do one and a half sheets of stamps? And I still had another full sheet to do! Even my feet had gotten numb by the time I finished.

God my hands look old and shriveled - and in need of a manicure.  Maybe I should get around to using some of my gift certificates for "The Spa"?

Tip #8: unplug your hot knife when you are finished and leave it somewhere safe to cool down. And by safe I mean where your kiddos or pets or spouse can't get at it and burn themselves or cause a fire. These things get pretty darn hot.

What a lovely pile of stamps I have to put away now. I wonder how long THAT will take? And how many new binders I will need to expand my collections?

Tip #9 (or maybe this is just an observation) - I don't MIND having to mount and trim my stamps myself. It does allow stamp companies to charge less for their stamps. You don't HAVE to mount the stamps on EZ mount so it can be a cost saving to the crafter as well. You can just use double-sided re-positionable tape to put your stamps on blocks after all.

Tip #10: where can you buy a hot knife? Well, Michael's carries them. So, use a coupon if you pick one up there. You can also get them at hardware places, like Home Depot and such. I know that Lee Valley carries them as well for a very good price and has a GREAT return policy if you decide the knife is not for you (I would have got mine there if I had known that they carried them BEFORE I picked this one up at M's). The knife I have has all the fancy blade attachments - for wood-burning, branding, soldering, etc. For cutting stamps, you don't NEED that extra expense. You CAN just get the one that has the simple craft knife blade. It IS less expensive.

So, all that being said, boy I DO appreciate my clear stamps (that don't need ANY extra work done with them) and my rubber stamps (PaperWorksCo and Magnolia, I'm sure there are others I use as well) that already come pre-mounted AND pre-trimmed. They definitely get used sooner rather later. I often forget when I am running low on EZ mount and make a couple of big stamp orders and then they arrive and I need to order EZ mount (and storage panels) as well, delaying even longer before I can use my stamps (just because I prefer to put them on EZ mount).

Anyways, ta ta for now - hoping to put some of these to good use in the coming days. Yes, even the Christmas ones!

Oh and how is this for typical cat behaviour? They got me up to say "Hi" and "Feed us" but now? Nommer Bommer is curled up asleep in the chair and PooPoo McWobblePants is curled up in the tuck of my legs asleep on the couch. PawPaw - asleep upstairs in bed. I closed the bedroom door so the cats wouldn't wake him (as if) after their middle of the night snack.

Momma? I'm probably wide awake for a few more hours. The cats will probably stir again around five am expecting their morning treaties and food/water refresh. Then I'll nap.

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