September 26, 2012

Stamping Gear Review Part 1

I know I said I'd review Inkadinkado's Stamping Gear in a few weeks, but I had the chance to play with it yesterday and learned several things that I want to share before I forget them.

First, removing the product from the packaging:
I don't know that I've ever had so much trouble getting a product out of the package before.  I was hoping to keep the cardboard in relatively good condition, as there are lots of good tips on it, but no luck there.  I was able to pull apart the paper in a few places to get the rings out, but I had to cut out the last few.  Also be careful, as one set of stamps has instructions underneath them.  They're basic instructions (the stuff they mentioned in the video with a few tips and example art pieces).

Onto the pieces themselves.  As I was afraid, the rings are quite large BUT, if you put the stamps close to the tab on the stamping piece for the cogs and away from the tab on the gears when stamping on the inside of the gear, you can make pretty small designs, suitable for card crafting.  If you're into scrapbooking, there's no problem and you can make quite nice larger designs with these, especially when using the outsides of the gears.

Here's a close-up of the circle cog, gear and stamper.  The cogs and gears both have little arrows sticking out at the compass points helping you orient your pieces for symmetrical designs, as well as mini cut out arrows every second tab.  This helps you if you're only stamping every second tab for more open (rather than overlapping) designs.
The stamper has alignment lines, which are useful for getting your stamp in a good position as well as if you're doing straight lines (rather than using the gears/cogs).

The tab system works great, though you have to watch the ovals, as not all designs will come out symmetrical (due to the size of the stamp and how ovals work.

And a close-up o the bottoms:
There's a soft foam backing, which helps keep the cogs/gears from slipping when you use them.  This was particularly helpful to me, as I tend to hold my stamp and stamp pad when inking (the videos for Stamping Gear all suggest keeping one hand on the gear/cog and the other inking the pad).  It's a little hard to see on this picture, but there's a notch on the top and bottom tabs on the stamping piece that fits into the notches on the cogs/gears.

I tested the system with cling stamps that didn't come with it, to see if they worked.  They do.  I had no problem using other Inkadinkado cling stamps, as well as Local King Rubber, Fiskar's and Stampin' Kimmie.  Alas, as the picture below shows, the system doesn't work with clear stamps.  They're simply too thin, and don't clear the notch on the stamping piece and therefore will stamp if they're far enough away from the gear/cog, but not if they're close.

You can see what I mean in the heart picture below.  The outline stamp is a cling stamp, but I tried to line it with a clear heart vine stamp and then add a clear solid heart inside. Neither of the clear stamps worked properly.

You also have to remember if you're stamping with the wide end of the stamper or the short end.  This sound easy, but if you put the stamper in the wrong way you can mess up your design pretty quickly.  I only had this problem when I was stamping on the inside of the gears, but it's easy to get mixed up when you're inking your stamp, which way is 'up' for the design.

Here are some patterns I made, some with the stamps that come with the set, some with my own stamps.  Tomorrow I'll post some cards I made using designs I tried on these 8 1/2 x 11 test pages.


Karin said...

man, that sounds like WAY too much work! kd would like it tho!

i bet that stuff is too expensive to bring to a family gathering and have the kids (and adults) use them? kd liked making the flower and mom brot to camp last summer. She is now into pokemon and has your pic of picachu hanging on her wall!

Jessica Strider said...

The deluxe kit is regularly $50, but I used a coupon and so got it for less. The stuff's pretty sturdy, so I doubt the kids could do much damage (without feeding them to dogs). Even the stamps are sturdy (unlike some clear plastic ones that I'm afraid I'll rip when I remove them from their plastic storing sheets). Having said that, they're also pretty large. I can't remember the exact dimensions, but the gears are about 5 or 6 inches, which would making holding it steady for a kid harder, especially when inking the stamps. Unless a parent holds the gear/cog on the paper and the kid inks the stamp and stamps it down. I just remember how clumsy I could be as a kid, and would probably have knocked the gears/cogs out of alignment, despite the foam padding on the back designed to keep them in place.

Indeed, my current stamping location's pretty cramped and I had trouble in a few places on the wheel where my backing stamp pad (the cutting pad I have sitting on my desk) sits over the edge of the desk and therefore doesn't have support, and I'd have to hold it up from beneath to get the stamp to work fully (which is a sign I need to clean off my desk again).