Thursday, July 25, 2013

Budget Crafter's Tools: Rubber Stamp Cleaning Pads

A good tool sometimes takes time to find.

Anyone who crafts know how expensive this hobby can get, especially with all the new gadgets and tools the industry is always parading in front of us. But if you are like me you are always on the look out for ways to save and when it comes to tools, have tools that still work well.  Honestly, sometimes some of the tools craft supply companies come up with are not the best things out there nor the only tools that will work for that application.  Take rubber stamp scrubbers for instance.

Back when I began creating with rubber stamps I purchased a stamp scrubber pad for around $13.00 through The Angel Company (TAC), now Red Rubber Designs.  All my friends in my paper crafting group used this scrubber and loved it.  Being a newbie to the group I figured they must know what they were talking about so I bought one too.

TAC Stamp Scrubber detail

My friends were right, it is a really good scrubber and thoughtfully designed too.  Basically it is a folding plastic case that contains a replaceable foam backed scrubber pad on the bottom where the cleaning solution goes, and another thin scrubby pad on top for drying off the freshly cleaned stamp.  The top pad that is glued onto the lid, presumable to keep it dry and is non-replaceable.  Because it closes the cleaning solution doesn't evaporate much and you don't have to worry about accidentally laying things on top of a scrubber full of cleaning solution, which as every busy scrapper knows that lid is a great idea.  And yes, it is one of the best scrubbers I have used and works well for most stamps but I had issues with it.  I didn't like to use it to clean larger stamps on due to the hard edges of the case that kept me from being able to scrub the entire stamp on easily.  Either the edge was in the way of moving the stamp around or it kept the stamp up off the scrubber pad.  That is what got me started in looking for other options, something without hard plastic edges and a less expensive option too.

Next came the day I started using Stayzon Ink and Stayzon cleaning solution.  I love this ink because works on non-pourous surfaces like glass and plastic and it is my favorite ink to use when indexing my rubber stamps so I use it a lot.  Because it is a more permanent ink it stained my fancy shmancy TAC scrubber pad...not that it was perfectly clean or anything but it just looked gross.  And because I only had the one scrubber pad I suddenly realized I didn't want to be stuck using the Stayzon cleaner as my only option.  But I wasn't going to shell out $13.00 for another one so the hunt began in earnest. 

That was when I found this Stampendous scrubber pad at Craft Warehouse for around $6.00 on sale.  Only problem was it didn't work as good as the TAC one did so I was a bit bummed out.  For one the pad is glued in so it cannot be taken out to give good wringing out if needed and there are those darn edges again.

So I was back to searching and determined to keep looking until I found something that would work this time, even if I had to make it myself.  After all, the material those scrubbers was made out of isn't that unique.  When I am out on these hunting forays of mine I look in all kinds of places for knock off options just for that reason.  Well I am happy to say my perseverance paid off this week and I discovered a product that was FABULOUS!   No really is!

I was poking around the paint department at our local Fred Meyer store before I dove into the grocery shopping I was supposed to be doing.  (It's a one stop shopping kind of store.)  I love pocking around every department in whatever store I go to because it helps me maintain a running list of sorts of what goodies they have that may connect with a need I have at home.

SCORE!  My new favorite scrubber.

As I got about half way down the isle I spotted this painting tool made by Shur-line called a "Handi Painter".  (Oh happy prayers have been answered!)  I think I did the happy dance in the isle after discovering it.  I mean I was so excited after looking for so long.  This "Handi Painter" may have been originally designed as a painting tool but not in my world.  To me it was one handsome looking stamp scrubber and I couldn't wait to try it.

Just look at that...and a handle too!

I don't think it could have been more perfect if I had designed it myself.   No hard raised edges to run into while running the stamp over the scrubber pad, light weight with a well fitting handle to hold on to, washes up easily with soap and water and was only $2.99!  Oh happy prayers have been answered! (More happy dancing.)  AND...You can either apply the cleaner to the scrubber or the stamp which I liked to do sometimes because those detailed stamps benefit from a little extra spritzing of the stamp cleaner.  So aren't you just dying to know how well it worked?

Yesterday morning the mail carrier delivered a big ol' box of goodies I had ordered from Red Rubber Designs yesterday.  (Hallelujah I get to test drive this baby!)  Wow...I have to tell you it works like a dream. The foam handle was surprisingly comfortable and it's light as a feather to hold but still sturdy enough to scrub with.  I just layed the stamps rubber up on my work surface, spritzed them with a tiny bit of cleaner and with a few easy rubs they were cleaned and ready to dry.  I wiped down the scrubber with paper towel and used it to dry them off.  It worked slick!

Now I have an arthritic thumb on my right hand and a wrist that was howling at me yesterday so I can assure you that if you have arthritis you just might find this cleaning method and tool easier to use too.  It's because you don't have to grasp the stamp in your hand but will be holding the light weight scrubber tool instead.  I sure helped me.  All that aside it is just plain easier to use any other scrubber I have used anywhere hands down.  The only down side, and it's not much of one, is that the "Handi Painter" does take up a bit more space than other scrubbers do.  For me it works so much better that it's a non issue.

Now that I am in love with my "Handi Painter" I'm going to have a hard time going back to my other scrubbers. Oh and in case you're wondering, I used this on cling foam mounted stamps, not wood mounted.  Setting the wood stamps on a towel will help keep them from sliding around too much as you scrub them.   And those tiny ones, you'll have to hold those in one hand most likely. 

TOOL CARE NOTE:  I recommend that you wash it up right away after using it to keep it in good condition.  I washed mine in warm water with Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day dish soap which worked great.  I found the sponge (that green part) held the soapy water and I had to sort of squeegee it out with my hand two or three times to get all the soap out but that was no biggie.  It probably didn't help that I put the soap straight onto the scrubbing pad either...words to the wise...dilute the soap in water first.  Then it needed to be pressed it into a towel to help get rid of the excess water in the sponge and  propped up on edge on a paper towel to finish drying.  This morning I have a nicely cleaned scrubber all ready for next time.

I know there are other rubber scrubbers that I have not mentioned out there, but before try them I highly recommend that you give this product a try.  Oh and before I forget...I have seen smaller versions of paint brushes like this so watch for those too.  I bet they would work and if storage space is an issue might be just the ticket for your craft tool box.  So have fun and give it a try.

Copyright © 2013 by Patty Hicks

All rights reserved. No part of this blog may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including printing, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system without written permission from the author, except for the inclusion of brief quotations in a review. All reviews must include author's name and a link back to this blog.