Saturday, December 19, 2015

Review & mani: Clear Jelly Stamper

(Press sample; affiliate links)


Remember that one time when I spent three years learning how to stamp well, line things up correctly, get my placement just right, and BAM! somebody came out with a product that made all that time I spent practically unnecessary?

Yep, that would be the Clear Jelly Stamper. It's a stamper that's clear, so you can see through the end all the way to the tip and see exactly where you're applying your stamp.

If you think you can't stamp, or think you can't stamp well, or can stamp okay but have a hard time placing things where you want them, this is the stamper for you. Even if you're an expert, you probably mess up your alignment more often that you'd like to admit, and this stamper will help you, too.

Of course I did a video review to show you the stamper and test out if it actually works the way it claims to work:

And here are some pictures of the little beauty:

Clear Jelly Stamper
Clear Jelly Stamper

Clear Jelly Stamper
Clear Jelly Stamper
You can see that the stamping head is completely clear. And, on the other end, it looks like something is missing, but it isn't--there's nothing there so you can see down the barrel to exactly where you're placing your image:

Clear Jelly Stamper
Clear Jelly Stamper

Clear Jelly Stamper
Clear Jelly Stamper

Yes, there is actually a head on the far end of the stamper, I swear! See how well you can see through it!

Each stamper comes with a replacement head, and scrapers:

He are the miracles this stamper makes possible:

1)) It allows you to place an image exactly where you want it.
2) It allows you to layer stamped images to get multi-colored effects (especially with the plates below).
3) Allows you to repair images that didn't transfer completely the first time
4) Allows you to check your reversed-stamping work for any bald patches or areas where your polish is to thin
5) You can apply your reversed-stamping directly without having to create a decal, 'cause you can see exactly where it's gonna go.
6) I'm sure tons more I'm gonna discover as I play.

Now, the head on this stamper is hard, and it's fragile. Don't get too freaked out about that warning, though, it doesn't mean the stamper's gonna self-destruct just because you had garlic for lunch. But it does mean you can't smoosh it and squoosh it and jab it and stretch it the way you can other stamping heads. So you aren't going to do any shrinking techniques with this stamper, you can't push your nail down into it hard like you would with a marshmallow stamper, nothing like that. For techniques where you need to do those things, use a different stamper. She has a video which explains how to care and feed your CJS, and make sure it lives a long and happy life:

But what it boils down to is this:
  • No acetone, please; regular remover with a little acetone is okay. If you get polish on it that you don't want, you can swipe with a little polish remover, gently scrape with a nail (super gently) or gently use tape that isn't too sticky (scotch tape worked for me). 
  • No priming, please; just swipe with alcohol or polish remover and you're good to go. 
  • No pushing down hard, please; you barely need to apply pressure when you pick up your image, just gently roll with a flick of your wrist.
  • And no man-handling, please; grasp and remove the head gently if/when needed. 

Basically, pretend it's like your relationship with your mother-in-law: think before you do something you'll regret. A little caution goes a long way.

That said, I was skeptical it would pick up images well. But I was wrong--you really do just need to roll over it with a quick flick, barely any pressure, and your image will come up no problem. You also don't have to worry nearly so much about how quickly your image dries as you do with a regular stamper. I'm sure there must be a limit to it, but I took forever on my first try in the video, and the second I touched the image to the nail (accidentally), it still transferred. So you have longer work time on your side.

There's also a line of plates designed to work with this stamper; the plates feature images designed to be layered over one another to create a multi-color designs. She sent me three of these for review:

CJS-02: Roses and water lillies!!

CJS-C-03: winter and penguins!

CJS-C-01: Merry Christmas!

I tested them out in the video, and yes--you really can see exactly where you're applying your image:

You really can see where you're stamping with the Clear Jelly Stamper
You really can see where you're stamping with the Clear Jelly Stamper

You really can see where you're stamping with the Clear Jelly Stamper
You really can see where you're stamping with the Clear Jelly Stamper

This is my second attempt at layering the stamps (I had premature touchage in the first attempt):

Second attempt to layer images with the clear jelly stamper
Second attempt to layer images

And this is my third attempt:

Third attempt to layer images with the clear jelly stamper
Third attempt to layer images

I call that pretty good results for my second and third try, and I promise you when you're looking at the images from a regular distance instead of in super close-up, you don't see the small errors.

I did find one thing tricky, though. When I was doing my first try with the rose, I forgot which side of the image was which once I put it on, because the shape isn't very distinctive, and wasn't sure exactly how to orient the second layer; so just keep that in mind when working with your shapes. For the penguin, the first shape was very distinctive, so I knew exactly where to place the next layer. And it's an easy problem to avoid if you keep it in mind when you apply the first image--which I did not, I just slapped it on there, and then went 'Huh. I wonder which side is which?' Yeah, not so smart.

So let's take a look at my very first every mani I did with this stampers, done right after the two tries above, with no other practice. The moment I saw the Christmas tree plate and the penguins plate, my mind instantly went to my favorite scene from my favorite Christmas movie: the penguins' skating party from Muppets' Christmas Carol. So I decided to create a tribute to it:

Penguins' Christmas skating party
Penguins' Christmas skating party
Penguins' Christmas skating party
Penguins' Christmas skating party

A few things to note here. These aren't perfect--I learned that when I roll from left to right, I end up with a little gap on the right side of my image, so I'm going to correct that on my next try; from a normal distance you can't see the gaps anyway.  Also, I tried to put my hats on at cute rakish angles, and didn't do too well with that--I need to master putting them on in the right position first before I get creative, sigh. But I still think they look cute.

I purposefully put only half of a snowflake on one of my nails, and then tested to see if I could 'fix' the error by lining up a second stamp over it. It worked!! So you can use this to repair an image that doesn't go on completely--Can you tell which snowflake it was?

I was really annoyed that the polish I chose for my tree, Sally Hansen I-rush Luck, didn't show up very well against the background, and threw everything off. So I redid that nail with Zoya Honor. I think it came out much better the second time, even though I went a little nuts with the ornaments!:

Penguins' Christmas skating party, now with improved tree!
Penguins' Christmas skating party, now with improved tree!

Penguins' Christmas skating party, now with improved tree!

Seriously, how cute it that!!!

Here are the polishes I used; For the background, I did a stamping sammich with Turtle Tootsie Polish Air Clearance, and used Barry M Cotton to stamp the snowflakes; for the snow, I sponged on Zoya Aspen; the penguins were stamped with Konad Black, Barry M Cotton, and Sally Hansen Rapid Red. The tree was stamped with Sally Hansen I-rush Luck (in the first attempt) or Zoya Honor (second attempt) along with Barry M Gold for the garland and star, Hit The Bottle Polishes Everyday I'm Truffling for the trunk, and Colors By Llarowe Pirates of Penzance for the ornaments.

So, after my tests and my mani, what do I think? I can't say enough good things about this stamper. My very first tries were good enough that from a normal viewing distance, my images looked flawless--I think with a little bit more practice, they actually will be flawless. And I tried out some of the hardest images--the penguins need to fit together perfectly with a lot of angles, while the flowers and such are a bit more flowing.

I would absolutely recommend this stamper for all skill levels, from beginning to expert. In a dream world the head would be less fragile, and maybe future versions will find a way to do that. But in the meantime, don't let that dissuade you. If you've ever had an issue placing a stamp where you want it, this stamper is for you. It's a game changer.

The stamper itself (including replacement head and scraper) sells for $13.00. There has been quite a demand, so she's taking pre-orders to make sure she can get it out to people who want it as soon as possible. The plates sell for $7.00 each. You can also follow the shop on Facebook.

Oh, and did I mention? She ships internationally!

Happy stamping!


  1. What a brilliant idea! And thank you for a wonderful tutorial (as always!)! I LOVE THESE PENGUINS! It looks like the learning curve isn't bad at all. Will have to give this a try.

  2. Your penguin nail art stamping is super adorable! This stamper would be so good for me to have since I do struggle in placing images straight on my nails. Definitely something for me to check out.

  3. Great mother in law joke :D (I've got a classic one of those MILs)

    How did nobody think of this idea before...?

  4. This mani is so stinkin' cute! I love the concept of this clear stamper!

  5. This. Changes. Everything!! :D :D Seriously such a clever product, am also wondering what took them this long to come up with.
    Ahh, but your mani! Your penguins are just too adorable. LOVE the idea of a plate including images meant for layering.

    This whole thing (products & your post ("premature touchage" - I'm probably laughing a bit too much at this)) is made of awesome!

  6. I'm glad she includes a replacement head now. When I bought mine she didn't and I did end up needing another head. I find it didn't work so well with my actual stamping polishes but it did work really well with regular np.


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