So: take a brand new stamp (Basic Grey, straight from the packet...unopened but brought about six months ago. Ahem.) Routinely I would use sellotape or a plastic eraser across the surface of a new clear stamp to attempt to remove the 'coating' that moulding/manufacturing often leaves. It ruins your inking attempt see. But this time, I didn't, just to give the new ink pads and run for their dosh. So, control first - here's the stamp and resulting image from using a Memories ink pad on the stamp.
You can see the inevitable 'beading' of the ink on the surface of the stamp - silicone really seems a bit ink resistant. And you can see that on the resulting image - not a bad one at all, but not entirely black or as solid as you would expect from a solid image stamp, huh.
So enter the Clearly Better ink pad:
You can tell immediately that you have an ink pad with glycerin in it, just from the purchase that the ink gets on the stamp. Lovely coverage - some beading but not as notable as with the true die ink. And then you have the stamped image. Lovely, opaque solid image, and...nice and black. And....showing up the paler areas of the image well - no 'filling in' that sometimes a Brilliance ink pad or a full on Pigment might deliver. Nice.
So - you can tell already - I like it. I like it most because the element of glycerin involved means that there are gold and silver in the range and they are truly gold and silver metallic, and there's a season coming up that needs such things! These inks need a slightly longer drying time than average dye based inks - inevitably because they are partially pigments, but they dry quickly enough for impatient crafters like me - and you can always heat set them if you're in a hurry. The ink pad labelling is not great - all the cases are white; the lid labels are all printed to look alike and in the main, printed in black - the label border and the Fleur De Lis logo is printed in the colour of the ink pad within. A tad confusing unless you know what you're looking for in terms of speed recognition. I've also noticed in workshops that there's a hesitation before examining the ink pad - the word 'Clearly' leads some to think that they're looking at a clear ink pad. Small gripes which I'm sure, will be overcome - either by tweaking of the design or perhaps a retailer/user awareness campaign - I can't say I've seen much bragging going on about these ink pads and their superior inking quality for clear stamps.
I've got more ink pads than I need, but am very happy to say that these Clearly Better pads are definitely going to find space in my cupboard - just what clear stamps have been waiting for if you ask me. I know you didn't, but if you're still reading this, you must have been waiting to ask, huh!
EDITED Friday afternoon: These ink pads are from The Paper Company 'TPC' in the US, and I guess most stores will know of them - they are a wholesale source, so you will have to ask your local shopkeeper. Over here in dear old Blighty, Bramwell Crafts are the UK distributor, again, a wholesale supplier that your local store will probably have contact with. Meantime, as this is entirely an unsolicited review, I guess I can add a plug - if you're in a real hurry for one - how about asking Shopkeeper Gal to supply them by mail order? Kraft Crazy 01980 844010.