Are you a beginner card maker looking for basic start-up tool ideas or just someone trying to navigate the world of crafting? Many of you are experienced crafters, and I have a feeling that you can learning something from this post as well. Today I would like to get back to the basics and talk about clear acrylic blocks for stamping and card making. These blocks are one of the most basic and essential tools for starting this hobby, and having the right sizes, shapes, and brand/style will make your life better. Join me, and let’s talk about these things plus storage ideas, cleaning options, and more!
What Are Clear Acrylic Blocks?
Clear acrylic blocks for stamping are exactly what they sound like, acrylic blocks. They are a strong, clear block used as the base to which to mount rubber and photopolymer cling stamps. The edges make a nice area to grip while stamping, and the solid surface applies even pressure to achieve a uniform stamped image. That’s the effect we want to achieve!
Complete Guide To The Selection, Use And Care of Acrylic Blocks Video
I’ll continue with much more detail as we go, but here is a video I created talking about many different aspects of acrylic blocks. Please watch along or keep reading for more info!
Let’s start by talking about advantages of using acrylic blocks compared to their predecessors…wood-mount stamps.
Clear Acrylic Blocks Vs. Wood Blocks
Clear acrylic blocks haven’t always been around in the stamping and crafting world. Stamp used to be (and some still are) mounted on wood blocks. So, why the switch? There are several reasons acrylic blocks are the new normal. Here are three of those reasons:
- Cost Savings – You no longer have to pay for each and every stamp to be mounted onto a wood block.
- Space Savings – Stamp sets can be stored in a slim container instead of a thick and bulky one.
- My Favorite Reason – You can see exactly where you’re stamping! When stamps are mounted on wood blocks, you can’t tell exactly where you’re stamping, but with acrylic blocks, you know where you will stamp every single time.
There are many different brands and types of acrylic blocks. Let’s look at a few.
Brands & Styles of Clear Acrylic Blocks
There are many different companies that sell acrylic blocks for stamping, and there are also quite a few different styles of blocks. My absolute favorite blocks are made by Stampin Up!
I know, I know. You’re probably thinking, “Well sure she has to say that because she sells SU products.” Nope. If there’s a product that isn’t my favorite, I won’t really promote it. If I promote something, it’s because I love it. So when I say our blocks are the best, it’s because I think they are the best on the market.
I don’t expect you to take my word for it, so let me give you a few reasons why out blocks are the best.
Why I Love Stampin Up’s Clear Acrylic Blocks For Stamping
For one, I love the sizes and shapes of blocks that are available through Stampin Up’s selection. There’s always a size or shape to fit my stamps. We offer square and rectangular shaped blocks in a variety of sizes. Some are large and wide, and some are skinny.
A more important reason I love our blocks is because of how thick they are. You can see in the photo below that the middle block is nice and think compared to the other blocks – that’s the Stampin Up block. Because they are thick, they keep my fingers (usually covered in ink!) up and away from my project. Less fingerprints on my card and scrapbook pages = big win for the home team!
Let’s talk about a third benefit of these blocks. When you turn the blocks to the side, you’ll notice a groove. This groove makes the perfect resting place for your fingers, and it allows a nice firm grip with no effort. It’s very comfortable and allows more control over your stamping.
I mentioned that I really like the size options we offer in our blocks. Let’s talk more about that for a minute.
Acrylic Block Sizes
Like I said, there are several sizes of blocks available from Stampin Up. Below is a list of those sizes.
- A Block – 1 3/16″ x 1 1/4″
- B Block – 1 5/8″ 1 15/16″
- C Block – 2″ x 2 1/4″
- D Block – 2 7/8″ x 2 11/16″
- E Block – 3 7/16″ x 4 7/16″
- F Block – 4 7/8″ x 6″
- G Block – 2 1/2″ x 3 3/4″
- H Block – 4 7/16″ x 1 5/8″
- I Block – 5 7/8″ x 2 /14″
I often get asked for recommendations on the best block sizes to choose when just starting out. Although it can be a little bit of a tricky question, and different for everyone depending on the stamp sets you have, I do have some of my favorites that I use all the time. If you’re just starting out in stamping and crafting, I would recommend getting D (my favorite), B, H and C blocks. However, keep in mind you may need larger blocks depending on the stamps you purchase for your collection.
Blocks can be ordered individually or as a bundle. When ordered as a bundle, you’ll save 10%!
Not sure which sizes you’ll need for a particular stamp set? Here’s a helpful tip! When looking at a Stampin Up catalog or shopping online, recommended block sizes will be listed for each stamp set. This takes the guesswork out of it!
Once you have nice blocks in your collection, you’ll definitely want a good place to store and protect them. We’ll talk about that next.
Where to Store Your Blocks
Another question I often receive is how acrylic blocks should be stored. Blocks can be stored in baskets, containers, drawers, anywhere they are accessible and within arms-reach of your crafting table. Regardless of what you use to contain them, one thing you want to be sure of is that they won’t bang into each other and scratch.
A really nice storage option is a case that is made for your particular brand of blocks. We have this really nice Storage Caddy that I keep my blocks in, especially when traveling and going to stamp parties. It has a nice handle, a latch to hold it closed, and foam inserts with a place for each size of block.
Now that I’ve shared storage tips, let’s talk about caring for and cleaning the blocks.
Care & Cleaning of Acrylic Blocks
For everyday cleaning, my go-to is baby wipes. It’s quick and easy to grab one when I’m switching between projects and needing to wipe off my blocks. If blocks need a better clean due to sticky residue or permanent ink, rubbing alcohol works great. You can use a rag with a little rubbing alcohol on it, or an individually packaged alcohol pad (available with first aid supplies) works great too.
Sometime my blocks need a deep clean after a stamp party or Stamp Camp. I recently shared my trick for giving blocks a really good clean in my blog post, “How to Clean Acrylic Blocks in the Dishwasher with this Easy Trick”. Blocks can be cleaned in the dishwasher with normal dishwasher detergent to get a really nice, deep clean.
Last but not least, I want to share a few alternative items you can use instead of acrylic blocks if you don’t have a block for some reason OR you want an even better option!!
Clear Acrylic Block Alternatives For Stamping
Sometimes I get busy when trying to pack everything for a party or Stamp Camp, and I forget to pack my blocks! This causes a problem! I’m sure I’m not the only one who has experienced this, so let’s talk about alternative items you can use instead of an acrylic block when stamping.
There are a ton of different things you can use when you’re in a pinch and need something to substitute as a block. Just remember it needs to be flat and thin. My first idea is to use an ink pad. It’s flat, thin, and fits in my hand. Works for me! Although it will be a little bit of a shot in the dark as far as where you are stamping, it is a doable option.
Another option I have used is a punch. Again, it will be a shot in the dark when stamping since it isn’t transparent, but it’s flat and able to fit in my hand, and something I always have with my craft supplies.
Another great alternative that I’ve resorted to a few different times is the bottom of a drinking glass. The bottom of the glass is flat AND I can see through it to see where the stamp will be placed. This is one of the best substitutes I have found for acrylic blocks if you desperately need something.
Now that I’ve shared a few, “Oh no, I forgot my blocks, what am I going to use?” options, it’s time to talk about the granddaddy of the acrylic blocks – the Stamparatus.
The Cadillac Of Acrylic Blocks
If you want the best, handiest acrylic block alternative that will save you time, paper, and hours and hours of frustration, then let me introduce you to the Stamparatus. The Stamparatus is a stamping platform that comes with two plates. The clear plates are the surface to which your stamps will be mounted, and your paper can lay in the top right corner of the base. Simply place the stamp on your paper where you want it to be located, then rotate the Stamparatus plate over to adhere it to the stamp. Now the stamp is ready to be inked and rotated back on top of the project. You can learn everything you want to know about the Stampin Up Stamparatus using this link to reach a detailed blog post and video I shared recently.
Wow, that was a lot of information about acrylic blocks. I hope this was helpful, and I hope you’ll consider trying out Stampin Up blocks and/or the Stamparatus using the links below!
Order with me!
Please make me your Stampin’ Up! demonstrator! Earn rewards points towards free stamps PLUS a gift when you order. Use host code: J799T23Y PLUS, with your first order, you’ll receive free catalogs in your thank you package!
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Comment below and let me know what other questions do you have about clear acrylic blocks for stamping?