How to Choose Stamps You’ll Use Over and Over!

When you’re looking at a new catalog, it’s helpful to know how to choose the stamp sets you’ll use over and over.  A new catalog can feel like a candy store of cardmaking and paper crafting tools and supplies.  Learning how to make wise choices can help you pare down the list of stamps you like, to the ones you’re actually going to buy. 

2015-2016 Annual Catalog from Stampin' Up!

Since customers often ask for help choosing sets that will be most useful for them, I thought I’d share some things I’ve learned over the years to help me make smart choices.

The most important thing is to know your style.  When I look at stamps I’ve bought in the past, I see some I only used once or twice.  That’s usually because they didn’t fit my style.  If you’re new to stamping, it may take a while to figure out your style and which sets are going to give you the most bang for your buck.

When you choose stamp sets that show off your style, you’ll make impressive cards.  That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to push the envelope at times and try something new, but if you’re watching your stamping dollars, you’ll probably want that to be the exception, not the rule.

My own preferences tend to run to flowers, butterflies, nature, elegance, and versatility, so I knew I’d be happy with the Butterfly Basics Set.  Here’s one of several cards I made using this set.

Butterfly Basics Handmade Birthday Card by Stamping Madly

In the new 2015 Annual Catalog I was really tempted by the Sprinkles of Life stamp set and coordinating Tree Builder Punch.  It’s so versatile, it can be used in many ways for many different occasions.  So why didn’t I order it?  When I really thought about it, I realized I probably wouldn’t use it very much based on the kinds of cards I like to make and what I’ll actually give to friends and family.  But if you like to make cute cards, and/or if you make a lot of cards for kids (or adults who are still kids at heart), this may be a great choice for you.

I did borrow Sprinkles of Life from a friend so I could try it out and show you some samples.  You can see a birthday card in this post:  Sprinkles of Life Birthday Card.  Then I needed a card for good friends and neighbors that are moving away, and made this one:

Sprinkles of Life and Tree Builder Punch for handmade all-occasions cards

After making two cards with this set, I felt I’d had enough.  This cute style wasn’t easy for me to work with, and the strategies I usually use for designing cards didn’t work.  So I’m glad I didn’t order it, and I’m glad that Sprinkles of Life will fit with my friend’s style really well.  I’ll have to get her to let me post a card she makes with the set.

Be sure to leave a comment and let me know if this post is helpful.  As I share more cards from the new catalog, I’ll continue to explore the question of how to choose stamp sets that you’ll use over and over!

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14 Responses to How to Choose Stamps You’ll Use Over and Over!

  1. Colleen July 9, 2015 at 3:07 am #

    Very useful information.
    My problem is; I like doing a variety, so as far as stamp sets goes, etc., my ‘wish’ list just keeps growing.
    Sometimes, hard decision for me is in choosing cardstock and paper colors for using on my cards. On a limited budget, I have to use what is available that I have on hand.
    I enjoy your blog, along with your very useful information that you provide.

    • Sage July 10, 2015 at 1:43 pm #

      Thanks, Colleen. I imagine it’s even more challenging when your style accommodates so many different kinds of stamps.

  2. Jenny Pierce July 9, 2015 at 6:46 am #

    I never thought of it like that. You are absolutely right. You and I have the same style. Only difference is that I bought Sprinkles of Life and have tried and tried to make a card I really liked. I did actually make one the other day that is really cute but I probably will not use this stamp set a whole lot. Thanks for the information. I am going to put this to good use.


    • Sage July 10, 2015 at 1:46 pm #

      I’m so glad the information is helpful. I’ve learned the hard way, just like you, that just because it’s cute doesn’t mean that it will be very useful in the long haul. You’ll find more on the same theme in posts to come!

  3. ruthi chadwick July 9, 2015 at 12:22 pm #

    My problem is that i see a card made by someone else and love it, do not have that stamp, then i order it and hardly use it!!! i need better control and this will be a good way to start trying to control which stamps i buy and which i don’t. thanks

    • Sage July 10, 2015 at 1:48 pm #

      I’ve done the same thing lots of times! Now I’ve learned to stop and think: Can I imagine other ways to use this set? Can I just admire the card someone else made without having to make my own version of it? Can I take the aspects of the design I like and use a stamp set I already have?

  4. Diana Bibey July 9, 2015 at 7:13 pm #

    I am the cutesie card maker because I”m the kid at heart and my family and friends know me as such. So the sprinkles of life are up my alley & on my list. But I also like the nature but not so much the florals. Thank you for this very informational topic . I always read your blogs.

    • Sage July 10, 2015 at 1:50 pm #

      Thanks, Diana. I bet you’ll have a blast with Sprinkles of Life when you get it. It sounds like you know your style pretty well, and that’s really helpful.

  5. Sharon July 10, 2015 at 8:05 am #

    I do the same thing, Ruthi!
    I recently did an inventory of my stamps by taking photos of the sets and putting photos thematically in a photo album. I realized that I have a gazillion cupcakes, dogs, and swirl sets. This will help me to avoid duplications.
    Sage, this is an insightful post. Also I appreciate your integrity that you are not just gushing over everything to get more sales.
    I am going to be more aware of what I really need and will repeatedly use.
    PS I DID buy the Sprinkles of Life stamps and punch. I love it.

    • Sage July 10, 2015 at 1:54 pm #

      Thanks, Sharon. I’m glad this post is helpful, and that you love Sprinkles of Life. It deserves to be in craft rooms where it will be well-used and well-loved! Good idea about inventorying your sets to avoid duplicates. You’ll find more things to think about when choosing stamps in posts to come. And thank you for the nod to integrity, it’s an important value to me, and I can’t do this business without it!

  6. Joann July 22, 2015 at 11:27 pm #

    Hi Sage,
    I love your tip on how to decide stamp sets to purchase. Thank you for your thoughts.

    • Sage July 23, 2015 at 8:34 pm #

      Thanks, Joann, I’m glad that post was helpful!

  7. Claudette November 30, 2016 at 8:36 pm #

    Hi Sage:

    I just signed up for your news letter and am reviewing past posts of interest. You have a great way of explain some stamping fundamentals and this blog was incredibly helpful. You and I have the same interests and styles in card making and I have seen many of your cards on splitcoast stampers.

    I am looking forward to viewing more of your posts and videos.

    • Sage November 30, 2016 at 9:11 pm #

      Thanks for the great feedback, Claudette, it’s always helpful to know what people relate to. Nice that we have similar styles. I love to teach about cardmaking and designing cards. I haven’t posted on SCS in years, I’m surprised you found me there. Nice to hear from you.

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