Monday, May 11, 2015

Stamper comparison: Which stamper should I use?


Hello!

Over my three years of nail stamping, I've accumulated quite a little set of stampers. I just received my newest one, and it has spurred me to put together a comparison for you of the basic types of stampers that are out there, what the pluses and minuses of each type are, and how/when to use each.

I made a video comparing the four main types, which you can find here:



It's helpful to see how each of the stampers move and and it's easiest for me to show you how to work with them in the video, so take a look if you have a moment; if you don't, don't worry because I'm going to do my best to explain it all here for you, too.


Here are the four main types of stampers I'll be talking about:

Konad, Cici&Sisi, Winstonia, and Creative Shop stampers

Konad, Cici&Sisi, Winstonia, and Creative Shop stampers

From left to right (in order of hardest to squishiest):

(1) Standard Konad stamper
(2) Cici&Sisi stamper (I got this in a stamping set, but you can buy similar stampers separately)
(3) Winstonia XL stamper (you can find this in other shops and on eBay as well)
(4) Creative Shop stamper


(1) Standard Konad stamper: 

Standard Konad stamper

Standard Konad stamper

This is the first stamper I ever owned, the one most stampers started with. It's a double-ended stamper with a smaller stamper on one end for smaller images. The rubber on both ends is very hard, and doesn't have much give.

How to use it: Stamp directly down with it onto your plate, and then roll the image onto your nails. Clean with acetone, remover, or regular scotch (cello) tape.

What I use this stamper for: This is the stamper I use whenever I have smaller images or images I want to place very precisely on my nail. I also use this stamper with plates that are harder to work with, if I'm having a hard time getting a good image with a squishier stamper.

Pluses: 
  • The firm rubber gives you control when placing images precisely. 
  • Handle allows good control.
  • Works well with all plates and polishes.
  • Stamper head stays put when you stamp.
  • No need to prime the stamper (Priming = gently rubbing an eraser head or nail file over before use).

Minuses:
  • The rubber doesn't have much give, so it's harder to use with large or curvy nails without getting warped images.
  • If you have to push down hard repeatedly with this stamper, it can hurt if your nails are thin.
  • Can't remove the head for techniques like image shrinking.
  • Smaller head limits the size of the images you can pick up.
  • Almost impossible to get French manicure  images to apply correctly.


(2) Cici&Sisi stamper

Cici&Sisi Stamper

Cici&Sisi Stamper


I got this stamper in a stamping plate set that I bought from Cici&Sisi; you can buy similar stampers separately, but I'm not sure how much the squishiness varies. The rubber on this stamper has a little more give than the Konad stamper, but isn't as squishy as the other two stampers.


How to use it: Roll the stamper over your image, and then stamp directly down onto your nail. (Notice this is the opposite of what you do with the harder Konad stamper). Clean with acetone, remover or tape; I recommend tape because it's hard to get off lint of hair otherwise.

What I use this stamper for: I mostly use this stamper when I'm doing the reverse stamping technique (when you pick up the image and then color it), or making nail decals; when I use those techniques, I like to prep as many of the images as possible and pull out all of my stampers. Otherwise, I don't use this much.

Pluses: 
  • The slightly firm rubber gives you some improved control when placing images precisely, but also has a little give.
  • Stamper head stays put when you stamp.

Minuses:
  • The short handle can be harder to work with.
  • The head isn't squishy enough to get all the benefits of a squishy stamper.
  • Can't remove the head for techniques like image shrinking.
  • Smaller head limits the size of the images you can pick up.
  • Difficult to get French manicure images to apply correctly.
  • This is the only stamper I've ever had to prime!


(3) Winstonia XL stamper (not exclusive to Winstonia)


Winstonia XL stamper

Winstonia XL stamper


How to use it: Roll the stamper over your image, and then stamp directly down onto your nail. (Notice this is the opposite of what you do with the harder Konad stamper). Clean with acetone, remover or tape; I recommend tape because it's hard to get off lint or hair otherwise. Also, I've heard people say that acetone/remover damages the head; I've been cleaning mine with acetone for a year with no damage, but why risk it when tape works really well?


What I use this stamper for: Pretty much everything, other than precise application of smaller images. This is an good stamper for making sure your entire nail is covered without warping your image.

Pluses: 
  • Larger head picks up larger image area. 
  • Squishy head allows the stamper to collapse over your nail for full coverage without warping.
  • Longer handle allows for good control.
  • Double-ended with a small tip for smaller images (made of firmer rubber).
  • You can place even French manicure images without warping.
  • Removable head can be used for techniques like shrinking images.
Minuses:
  • The stamping head pops out or sinks into the holder when you use it (a reader left a note on my video that you can buy replacement heads that don't pop out to minimize this problem). 
  • White polish is hard to see on the white head. 
  • Can be a little bit fussier with plates/polishes that are harder to work with.
  • Squishy heads pick up lint, etc. and require more cleaning.
  • While I didn't need to prime this, I've heard many people say they did need to. 


(4) Creative Shop stamper


Creative Shop stamper

Creative Shop stamper

This is my newest stamper, and I'm still playing around with it. However, so far I adore it.

How to use it: Roll the stamper over your image, and then stamp directly down onto your nail. (Notice this is the opposite of what you do with the harder Konad stamper). Clean with tape; I haven't tried acetone/remover because I don't see a reason to risk damage when tape works so well.

What I use this stamper for: Pretty much everything, other than precise application of smaller images. This is an good stamper for making sure your entire nail is covered without warping your image. It's also excellent for specialty stamping techniques like reverse stamping; I haven't tried it for shrinking images yet, but don't see why it wouldn't work.

Pluses: 
  • HUGE head picks up larger image area than any other stamp. 
  • Squishy head allows the stamper to collapse over your nail for full coverage without warping.
  • Handle is designed for excellent ergonimic control.
  • Removable head can be used for techniques like shrinking images.
  • Can pick up enough image from collage-style plates to create two nail decals (or reverse stamping images) at once from one image.
  • You can place even French manicure images without warping.
  • No need to prime this stamper.
Minuses:
  • Can be a little fussier with plates/polish that are harder to work with.
  • Squishy heads pick up lint, etc. and require more cleaning.
  • Some people don't like the way the handle feels.
  • Hard to find, although this is changing.


Hey wait!!! What about those rectangular stampers that are out there??

Yes, it's true, there are rectangular stampers out there, in both hard and squishy varieties:



Rectangular stampers: Squishy (white) & hard (green)


Why didn't I include them in my video? Because I honestly don't see an any advantage to them over the XL or Creative Shop stampers I showed you above. The idea behind these stampers was that they can pick up the rectangular images found on plates far better than the round Konad stamper; however, the stampers with larger heads can pick up those entire images, and much more.  There may be some benefit I'm missing to these rectangular babies--if so please tell me in the comments!


So, do I have a favorite? I love having different stampers for different things, and since I cut my stamping teeth on Konad, I'll always be more comfortable using that for some things than others. But, if some evil stamping gremlin dropped out of the sky and stole all of my stampers except one...I'd probably hope he left me the Creative Shop stamper. The versatility of the squishy head, the huge surface area and the comfy handle are all wonderful features. The Winstonia XL would be my second choice.

How about you? Do you own any/all of these? Do you have a favorite? Is there any factor here I forgot to consider?

Happy stamping! :)

M.


(Disclosure: this website may be compensated for linking to other sites.) 

47 comments:

  1. Thank you so much! What a wonderful review. I am new to stamping and wondered how/why to use different heads. I have the Konad and a rectangular one so far but will now go for the Creative Shop one. I didn't understand the stamping differences. And also thanks for new ideas - like shrinking images?!? Youtube, here I come! A couple of questions if I may....is sticky tape different than regular tape? And I thought you had to stamp IMMEDIATELY upon picking up the image but can you take a moment to clear off extra images that you accidentally pick up? Again THANK YOU!!!

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    1. I'm so glad it was helpful! No, sticky tape is just regular scotch tape, I'll go in the post and make that clear. And yes, you do have a *short* time to pull off anything you don't want, either using tape or an orange stick (or often I just use the edge of my nail), but don't wait too long. And yes, run to youtube and check out shrinking images (I show the basic technique quickly in my video) and also check out videos on reverse stamping (also called 'advance stamping'). Enjoy! :)

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  2. It is wonderful of you to share your experiences with the different stampers available. It can be very aggravating and confusing to figure out which one does the best on which plates and nails. In my main FB nail polish group I am in, information on the various stampers and why there are so many and which do what the best is a frequent question, especially with the people new to stamping or intending to get into it. Thank you!

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    1. I'm glad it was useful to you! It can be very confusing, I agree. :)

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  3. This is a great video and post. I am so glad you made it.
    As we talked about the Creative Shop stamper just a couple of days ago, I am still to try it out for the first time since you said you had a post coming up with it, so decided to wait until I could read through your tips.
    Glad I did.

    I have a Konad stamper as well, and it surprised me to read that you can't take yours off.

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    1. Hmmm, maybe I just never tried hard enough, lol?! On mine it definitely isn't *supposed* to come off, I'm pretty sure...<3

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    2. When my Konad arrived it was angled in the stamper-hole, and I took it completely out, and re-inserted it to make sure it was even.
      It was definitely suppose to come out, as there was no trace of glue or anything..

      Wonder if I got an old/newer one...

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  4. I have been having trouble with stamping and this article was very helpful. I have curved nails and I have the Konad stamper and one of those rectangular ones and I have a difficult time getting a full image transfer. I have to press really hard or try to roll the image and it usually hurts my nail. Last week I order a couple of squishy XL stampers from Fab Ur Nails. They look a lot like the Creative Shop stamper but I'm getting a white/clear stamp and a blue one. I know there are a lot of colored XL stamper heads out there but I'm not sure if they'll work with the Creative stamper. A colored stamp would help to see stamping white or light images. Thanks again for the info.

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    1. You're very welcome, I'm glad it helped! It sounds like you're going to have so much more success with your squishy stampers. Us curvy nail girls gotta stick together. :)

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  5. This is so helpful for me. I'm totally bookmarking this post. I only own the first and third stamper here and I mainly use the third stamper most of the time.

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    1. Your stamping is always flawless, so you're doing something right, lol. :) Glad it was helpful!

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  6. Great review! I love the Creative Stamper - sticky stampers are the way to go for me as I was ready to give up just using the Winstonia - I had a lot of trouble getting it to pick up, even with repeated priming.

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    1. Oh!! Thanks for reminding me! I totally forgot to mention priming, I'm going to go in and add that part. Yes, from what I've heard people who have to prime other stampers don't have to prime the Creative Shop one, so that's an important plus--thank you!! :)

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  7. Rectangular plate: much easier to direct a specific pattern on each nail, you dont have to check if you turned it to the right angle.

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  8. What an informative post! I have had stamper reviews sitting in my drafts for months now and really need to get myself organized and finally film the "squishiness" aspect of each stamper. I really like how you list the plus/ minus of each stamper.

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    1. Thank you so much! I know what you mean, I'd been meaning to do one for a while...my Creative Shop stamper finally pushed me. :)

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  9. Great write up!! I never understood why you couldn't just roll the image onto the nail with all stampers till I got one that wouldn't let me do that :P

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    1. Yes! The first time I tried a squishy stamper, I was like 'Psh, this doesn't work!!!'. Lol. :)

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  10. I own all of these except the cici one. I didn't realize I had so many until reading this! I haven't tried the creative one yet, I really need to soon to see what the hype is about

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    1. They sort of creep up on you...I think they multiply at night...>.>

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  11. What a great post! I want the CS stamper so badly!

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    1. I'm still learning it...there are some plates and polishes it doesn't play nicely with, but I suspect that's me still figuring it out. :)

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  12. Great review and tutorial!! I have all of these (probably 2 of most incase a dog gets one). I also have the Fab stamper which I love, a little bit more than the Creative stamper even. I probably only use my rectangular stamper to help in aligning precise images. But I usually prefer images that don't require perfect alignment. :)

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    1. Me too--I prefer having at least a little wiggle room. :)

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  13. My creative stamper refuses to love me.... i want to love it so badly, yet no.... nope... absolutely not. My favorite is my squishy firm so far, but im always after a new stamper to try. lol! Great review!

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    1. Thank you so much! Does it work for you with some things and not others, or just not at all?

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  14. I don't stamp (I was given a Creative stamper, but don't have plates), but this is great for when I am able to get some!

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    1. Once you try stamping, you're gonna love it!

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  15. This is a PERFECT post!! PERFECT!!!! I'm bookmarking it and thank you!!!

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    1. Aw, thank you so much!! You've made my month! :)

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  16. I have the bornprettystore equivalent to the Wistonia stamper, a stamper I got with a Salon Express As Seen On TV set (very firm, never use it), the green rectangular stamper (also quite firm, don't really use it) and the essence stamper which looks like the CiCi one and is kind of firm (never use). The XL stamper is by FAR my favourite. I do find I need to prime it often, but I don't mind doing so as it only takes a few seconds and stamps so amazingly well.

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    1. I hate that Salon Express stamper with every ounce of my being. I also love the XL stamper--I have about 6 heads for it now, and love using it for decals and such. :)

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  17. What a great and informative post. Thank you :)

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  18. This was really helpful, I have a lot of stampers but I can't find one that works for all plates, like you have noticed they all have their pros and cons. I think next time I pick up a stamper it will be Creative Shop stamper.

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    1. Definitely. And when I'm trying a polish that just won't pick up well, I'll try a different stamper and that'll usually get rid of the problem.

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  19. ThanK you thank you thank you! I have not yet ventured into stamping although I want because I was so confused about what stamper (s) ....and what plates .....to buy. Now, I know what stompers to get at least! You did such a great job. Thanks for all the work!

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    1. My pleasure, I'm glad it was helpful! There are so many products out there, it can definitely be confusing. :)

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  20. Such awesome review and comparison. Of-late i have been collecting lot of stampers because i could find one that could satisfy my need i.e. soft and squishy and does not require to prime. Because for my last stampers i ended up over buffing and damaging its life. This article is useful to understand which stamper would work for what need and i shall buy next one, keeping these points in my mind. Thank you for sharing your experience.

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    1. Yay, I'm glad it helped! I am always so frightened of over-priming. >.<

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  21. Wonderful look at all of these stampers packed with so much great information that people will really appreciate and hopefully will help them with their stamping desires.

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  22. I have been looking for a good thorough comparison post like this for quite some time! Winstonia XL stamper was one of my favorites but I think I am personally leaning more towards the Creative Stamper.

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    1. Oh good, I'm so glad I could help! I do like both of those stampers, and am thinking the Creative Stamper will surpass them all!!

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  23. I like the rectangular squishy stamper for when I'm using geometric designs that I want exactly straight up and down, or straight across my nails... like stripes, chevrons, etc. I find the straight edge of the stamper makes it much easier to line up the design than the round one. For stamping that doesn't need to on at a specific angle then I used the round white squishy stamper.

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    1. That makes a lot of sense. I'm going to try that out, I wonder if it would be a help for French mani stamps, too...:)

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