One day my friend showed up at my door with a Stampin’ Up! catalog and said, “Have you heard of this?”
I said, “Stampin’ Up!? Is that seriously the name? And it has an exclamation point?”
Um. No. We laughed and made fun of it. At the time, I was a long-time scrapbooker. I didn’t make cards.
That catalog encounter changed my life. I started making cards by attending Stampin’ Up! parties and collecting Stampin’ Up! products. To this day, I still LOVE the quality of Stampin’ Up! and continue to buy lots of their stuff.
If you are new to Stampin’ Up!, I know how overwhelming it can be. The catalog is ridiculously huge, plus there are other “mini” catalogs. It’s hard to keep everything straight. I read this catalog like a book year after year. I’ve tried most of the products in it. There are plenty of products that are not exclusive to Stampin’ Up!. You can buy other brands, and sometimes the other brands are better. However, there are some uniquely Stampin’ Up! products that are must-haves.
In my opinion, the best thing they have going is colored inks. Their dye inks are fantastic. The stamping quality and colors cannot be beat. Not to mention that you can purchase everything else in coordinating colors (i.e. paper, markers, ribbon, brads, buttons, etc.). Don’t take my word for it – view my dye ink comparison post and my stamping-off post (note: LiveLoveCards membership required for this post). The results are proof.
That being said, I would encourage you to try the inks. You can purchase an entire collection of 10 inks for more-or-less the price of 8. Or, you can purchase the inks individually. If you are going the collection route, I would go with the Brights Collection. It has many of your basic colors. It was my first Stampin’ Up! ink collection about 6 years ago, and most of my ink pads haven’t even been reinked yet! Just fabulous. And if you go with the collection, you can purchase matching cardstock in a variety pack.
If you want to purchase individual pads, here are my favorites of each color:
Red – Real Red
Pink – Melon Mambo (bright) or Pink Pirouette (light)
Orange – Pumpkin Pie
Yellow – Daffodil Delight
Green – Wild Wasabi
Blue – Pacific Point (dark), Tempting Turquoise (bright), or Soft Sky (light)
Purple – Wisteria Wonder
I think there are better black and brown inks by other brands, so I don’t use my Stampin’ Up! inks pads in these colors very often.
I love all the coordinating paper, including all the patterned paper (called “designer series paper” by SU). Buy some matching cardstock to your inks if you want. However, there are 3 colors that I always keep on hand:
- Whisper White – in my opinion, this cardstock is too thin for a card base (for which I always use Neenah). However, it absorbs the Stampin’ Up! inks like no other cardstock can. It’s just beautiful. If you buy the inks, you might as well get a pack of this.
- Basic Black – I love the thickness of this black cardstock. I keep it stocked at all times.
- Crumb Cake – I don’t know what it is about this cardstock, but it’s the best kraft cardstock I have tried. Better than Hero Arts and Neenah. It takes white ink extremely well, it’s the perfect shade, and the tone-on-tone with Versamark is perfect.
#3: Linen Thread
I can’t get enough of the Stampin’ Up! Linen Thread. It’s pliable and not too thick. It frays a little to keep that linen look, but it’s not out of control. I just purchased two new packs for myself.
#4: Pearls and Rhinestones
I don’t know anyone else that sells gems in packs like these. There are tons of each size. Clear and pearl are all you need if you have Copics – just color them to match your card. They are self-adhesive, so just peel and stick.
#5: Heat Tool
To my knowledge, Stampin’ Up! is the only brand that has two setting on their heat tool. I use the low setting for vellum and it helps tremendously in avoiding warping.
#6: The Owl Punch
#7: Potpourri Papillon with Punches
There are many, many stamps I have and enjoy from Stampin’ Up!. The moment I saw the Potpourri Papillon set, I bought it and I’ve used it a lot. The coordinating large butterfly punch and small butterfly punch don’t leave a cardstock outline around the image. It’s the only stamp set I’ll put on this list – that’s how much I love it.
There are plenty of other items in the catalog I love, but these are the ones that I would classify as the best. Hope this helps you!