Note: I wasn't paid, neither received any free product for this post. I paid for everything I used and all opinions are mine.
Hello there! Today I have a post for you about the Silhouette Cameo stamping material. This is the first time I write this kind of post, so bear with me. I hope it's useful for you! I've written the kind of post I'd like to read before trying a new product. And than means lots of detailed info. The pics are terrible because I made them with my phone at the same time I was trying all the inks. I'll try to take better ones and replace them.
Ok, so I've had my Cameo for about a year and a half now, and I'm totally in love with it. The possibilities are endless, specially if you take the time to explore the design features, which go way beyond just cutting purchased designs. Now add being able to die cut your own stamps with the machine. I know... right?
Last CHA, Silhouette came out with a stamping material designed to be die cut with their machines (SD, Cameo, Portrait…). I had the chance to see it in action at CHA. The truth? I wasn't very impressed. The designs cut from this material were perfect, the cuts were clean and nice, but the stamped imaged seemed way too splotchy and uneven for me. I am a stamper, and I want perfectly stamped images :)
But my curiosity was bigger than my disappointment at what I had seen. I wondered if maybe the CHA sample had been made by someone who didn't knew much about stamping, or about the different array of inks out there. So I decided to give it a try, and some months later I purchased the stamping material and the special mat that goes with it. I got them from Amazon, in case you're interested. I'm linking there so you can see the products, because I don't want to overload the post with pics. Again, it's not an affiliate link, just a way for you to see what I'm talking about.
First, let me describe the stuff:
1. The stamp material: Each box of stamp material comes with 3 sheets that measure around 7 x 6 inches each. The material is very thin and reminds me to silicone. If you want to die cut a design to cover a card front, you would need almost a whole sheet. However, if you plan to cut smaller designs, you could totally cut a bunch of them from a single sheet.
2. The mat: This mat is much smaller than the regular 12x12 cutting mat. It's a bit bigger than the stamping material sheet, and it comes with tiny punched holes on the cutting surface so that there are no air bubbles left when you place the stamp material sheet on it.
Now, the process:
1. In Silhouette Design Software, open the design you want to die cut from the stamp material. Or better yet, design your own ones! What about a custom sentiment stamp? ;)
2. Put the stamp material sheet on the mat (be sure to remove the white protector sheet first!). Tap it gently to remove any air bubbles caught between the sheet and the mat.
3. Time to feed the mat into the machine. First, be sure to move the machine rollers and adjust them accordingly to the smaller mat size. Once this is done, you can charge the mat into the machine.
4. In Silhouette Software, change the cut settings to the Stamp Material option. If your software is not the latest and you haven't updated it, there's no stamp material default option (ask me how I know). But you can manually adjust the settings:
Don't forget to adjust the cutting blade itself to 9! Also, I used a new blade for this, and will be saving it just for die cutting stamp material.
5. Send the design to the machine.
Ok, so after die cutting and removing the designs from the mat, we have perfectly die cut stamps. We also have a pretty crappy image of them courtesy of your's truly.
The advantage of being a stamper is that you can guess in advance which inks will work with different materials. For me, it was obvious that dye inks wouldn't work well with this particular material (lots of beading and splotchy impression), so I directly skipped those and went straight to pigment and embossing inks.
The stamping process:
1. To use your die cut stamp, you need to adhere it to a clear/acrylic block. No problems with this step, the stamps cling fine to the blocks. Score!
2. Now, let's ink the stamp. As I said before, the material is very thin, so you will end up with ink all over your block. I wiped the ink from the block as best as I could to prevent any smudges on the paper, although this step is not completely necessary :)
3. Stamp. Yes, I know, this step was obvious. Nevermind.
I tried different pigment inks and Versamark + embossing powders. And here's what I learned:
- The best results were achieved with Versamark + embossing powder. No splotchiness, perfect coverage. In the pics you will see the results I got with different embossing powder brands. I guess Versamark + pigment powder will work fine too, but I haven't tried it (yet).
- Versafine Pigment Ink by Tsukineko doesn't work very well. This surprised me, as it's one of my fave pigment inks because of the amazing coverage it gives! But the formula is moister than other pigment inks, so I guess that's why the impression was a bit splotchy.
- The best (non embossing) coverage came from Memento Luxe, also by Tsukineko, and Fresh Inks, by Impress. Versamagic (Tsukineko), which I find is an hybrid between pigment and chalk inks, also worked pretty well.
- I noticed that some colors within the same brand work better than others, specially with Fresh Ink. Why? I have no freackin' idea. You can see in the pics that the red Fresh ink I used stamped a bit splotchy. But when I tried other colors, the impression was nice and solid. What a mystery!
- Another thing I noticed is that the more you use (and ink) an image, the better it stamps. Maybe the successive inking primes the surface of the stamp and helps it to hold the ink better? Again, I don't have a scientific explanation, but I guess that's the reason. All the hearts except the olive one were stamped with Fresh Ink. The olive one is Memento Luxe. The word "Navidad" was heat embossed with Ranger Ultra Fine Gold EP in one image, and with Ultra Fine Black in the other (can you say I didn't use one of those fancy powder tools before embossing? Ha!)
And here is the gorgeous ampersand in all it's stamped glory. The turquoise one was heat embossed with Zing EP. The olive one was stamped with Memento Luxe. The peach one was stamped with Fresh Ink and heat embossed with clear EP.
- One more thing: because the material is so thin, if you cut an intricate design, you will have to carefully accommodate/realign it on the acrylic block. Does this make sense? For example, with the ampersand, some of the lines in the design were very thin. Thin lines + thin material means the stamp "wobbled" and lost it's original shape, so I had to use tweezers to move the stamp parts around so they were placed correctly. I did it on my craft mat and once the image was ok, I picked it with the stamping block. I guess the best way to explain this is with a pic :)
And that's it! Phew!!! Too long? Well, I hope this is useful for anyone who wants to try the stamp material. Do I recommend it? Yes! It's really fun to experiment with it, and the stamps you get are really clean and defined. You just need to play around with different inks to get the best results possible. Plus you can make your custom sentiments in other languages than English. I am Spanyard, and I'm loving this option :)
Oh, one last thing: here are the links to the designs I cut: the ampersand and the hearts. As for the "Navidad" sentiment, I designed that one myself. Just type the sentiment on the Silhouette software in your font of choice and weld the letters so that they are connected when you cut them. Of course, you can also cut separate letters, but I find it much easier to cut the word as a single stamp.
Again, I hope this post is useful for you! If you have any questions, leave them on the comments or shoot me an email and I'll do my better to answer them.
Thanks for visiting!