How to Choose Stamps You’ll Use Over and Over

Whenever a new catalog comes out, it’s helpful to have some tips on how to choose stamps you’ll use over and over!  We invest a lot of money in our stamping obsession, so here are a couple tips to help you choose wisely.

First:  Know Your Style

We’ve all done it:  Chosen a stamp set that we use once or twice, and then it sits on the shelf.  If you’re like me, that’s often because it doesn’t really fit your style.  I tend to go for sets with nature, flowers, and elegant images.  I don’t do cute very often, and when I buy a set that’s cute, I tend to use it only once or twice.

If you’re new to cardmaking, you may not know your style right away.  The stamps you buy will help you get to know your style.

When I looked at the Occasions Catalog, I chose three bundles that fit my style.  I’ve already designed 5 cards using the Dragonfly Dreams Bundle, all in about a month.  I still haven’t run out of ideas for ways I want to use it, so it was a really good choice for me.  Here’s the first one I made:

handmade card from Stamping Madly using the Dragonfly Dreams Bundle from Stampin' Up!

I don’t always get it right.  Here’s a card made with the Bunch of Blossoms Bundle from the 2016 Annual Catalog.  Being such a big fan of flowers, I thought it would get a lot of use, but I’ve only made one card with it.

handmade card from Stamping Madly using Bunch of Blossoms Bundle from Stampin' Up!

It turns out that the 3 step stamping and punching was more work than I expected, and the images aren’t elegant enough to inspire me.  They don’t fit my style as well as I thought they would.  But I’m sure there are other stampers who love these items.

Second:  Look for Versatility

How many times have you seen one card on Pinterest that enticed you into buying the stamp set, but after you got it, you only used it once?  Here’s an example from my studio using the Tape It Stamp Set (now retired).  When I saw it in the catalog, I wasn’t interested.  But I saw one card that changed my mind.  Here’s my version of that card:

Handmade Card from Stamping Madly using the Tape It Stamp Set from Stampin' Up!

I never used the stamp set again.

I’ve learned to look at a stamp set or bundle and imagine how many ways I could use it.  If you’re not sure about its versatility, look at Pinterest.  Do the cards using that set look very similar?  Or do you see a lot of variation.

On the other hand, the Butterfly Basics Stamp Set and Butterflies Thinlits have proven their versatility for me.  I’ve probably made 10 or 15 cards using the stamp set and/or dies.  Here’s the first one I made:

Handmade Birthday Card from Stamping Madly, using the Butterfly Basics Stamp Set and Butterflies Thinlits from Stampin' Up!

Don’t beat yourself up if you choose things that end up on the shelf.  My approach is to use that as a learning experience, and avoid making the same kind of mistake next time.  So far, the 3 bundles I purchased from the Occasions Catalog all seem to be winners in my studio,, so the choices were all good this time.

I have a couple more tips on choosing Stamp Sets and Bundles that I’ll share in another post, so be sure to check back.  And PLEASE leave me a comment!  I’d like to know how you choose stamps:

  • What tells you which stamp sets will get used a lot?
  • Do they turn out to be good choices for you?
  • When you’ve bought one that ends up sitting on the shelf, what enticed you to purchase it?

I hope these tips are helpful as you consider how to choose stamps and dies you’ll use over and over!

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4 Responses to How to Choose Stamps You’ll Use Over and Over

  1. Bernice Thompson February 1, 2017 at 7:40 pm #

    I choose my stamp bundles by seeing the pictures in the catalogue. They seem to jump off the page with the beautiful colors and then… I try to make it my style . I get to many choices going at once well I did until , I took your classes. Then I looked at the stamp and decided what kind of card I’d be making , then color scheme. If I don’t like it in my mind I don’t try to go any further It stays on the shelf. I have bought several bundles of flowers that I really believed I liked but with your help I learned to mix and match and it goes much smoother. I look at the set now and vision how many different cards such as birthday, thinking of you or just a fun card with my church children. If I see they can make several types of cards , I’ll buy it. Thanks to you I now try my brain to use this rule before I buy. I still buy out of impulse but not as much….

    • Sage February 2, 2017 at 8:42 pm #

      I’m glad you’re learning, Bernice!

  2. Ginger February 1, 2017 at 8:15 pm #

    Excellent post. Good advice. A fellow stamper asked me “Why did I like the Card? Color? Design? Stamps? Layout?. After I realized what attracted me, I realized that it was the precise nature of the card. The stamp set did not fit my more casual stamping technique. I saved $25. Thank you for your post.

    • Sage February 2, 2017 at 8:43 pm #

      You bet, Ginger. I’m glad you saved $25! Maybe you can spend it on another stamp set that will fit your more casual style! 🙂

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