Also, Shirley, a number of pics down this post I stamped a few images using some of the Memento inks. I think that you'll get a better idea of how bright these can be. The stamped images in my other card were a little deceiving because so many of the designs were open and looked a bit lighter because of that. I forgot about the second part of your question when I was stamping these though. I'll address the translucency in a different post.
This is my set of rock-a-blocks. I'd even saved the packaging, or at least the instructions, so now you can see it here. There are four "blocks" of varying sizes in the set.
This is why I keep putting the word "blocks" in quotations. They're not really blocks, as you can see in the side view up above. They're open in the center, so they're really shaped more like short pieces of gutter. That doesn't sound nearly as attractive as blocks though, eh?
Here you can see the "runners", or guides, that keep you from pressing too hard on the stamp. These are what come in contact with the paper as you rock the block.
In the above photo, I've placed a clear owl image by Hero Arts on the block.
It sticks up just past the top of the guides.
For this size stamp and "block", dew drop inkpads like Mementos are very handy. You want to avoid getting ink on the guides since that ink would transfer to your paper or cardstock.
This is what my inked stamp looks like from the top as I would be getting ready to place it on my paper. You don't lose any of the advantages of the stamp being clear.
Now here is where things change a bit. With wood-mounted red rubber stamps, you want firm pressure applied straight down. You're not supposed to rock the stamp. Well, with these blocks, you're supposed to do exactly that--rock the stamp. Just one rocking motion though!
The recommended way to do this is to rock from top to bottom or from bottom to top. It gives you more control than trying to rock it side to side. Here I started at the bottom of the image.
Then I began to rock it forward. You can see that the block is easy to grip.
And I rocked it forward a bit more.
And there I have my stamped image! Not bad for a right-handed person snapping pics with her right hand while stamping with her left. LOL! Notice that I only rocked the stamp once. You don't want to rock back and forth because there's no guarantee that your image will rock back exactly over where it was placed the first time.
Here I wanted to show some of the colors of Memento inks and how bright they can be when stamped using a more solid image. I also want to point out that I got nice consistently stamped images with no blurring or doubled up edges. Like I said in my last post, sometimes I tend to put too much pressure on my clear stamps and they get that blurred look at the edges. The guides on these blocks keep me from doing that.
The blocks work nicely with bigger stamps, too. This is another image by Hero Arts.
I've inked it with Memento London Fog. For photo purposes I showed this as if I stamped it going from side to side. I wanted to show that rocking motion again. I really did rock it from bottom to top though.
And this is the bigger stamped image made using one of the rock-a-blocks.
Now these work great with every clear stamp that I've tried so far. They won't work with stamps that have EZ mount cushion. That makes them too thick and you lose the usefulness of the guides.
You can use naked red rubber though. This is a stamp by Silver Crow. It has Aleene's Tack It Over and Over glue on the back. This is a glue that once dry acts as a temporary adhesive, in case you're not already familiar with it.
Here I've inked it up with Memento Tuxedo Black ink.
And here is the result of the rocking motion from bottom to top. Again, a nice crisp image.
Apparently there is a spray adhesive that can be used with these blocks. I've not read good things about it though, and I've not used it, so I won't say anything else about that. You could probably use some kind of double-sided removable tape, but you'd want to make sure that the edges of your stamp images were well adhered so that they won't move and smear when rocking.
A few more details....
- largest is 5 7/8" by 3 7/8", the space between the guides is actually 5 1/2" though
- next size down is 4 1/8" by 2 7/8", the space between the guides is actually 3 3/4"
- long narrow block is 5 7/8" by 1 3/8", the space between the guides is 5 1/2"
- smallest block is 1 1/2" by 1 3/8", the space between the guides is 1 1/4"
Most of the rock-a-block vendors that I've seen online are in the UK. After being shown at the most recent CHA I'm sure that they'll be available closer to home. I bought mine from Eclectic Paperie--good service and quick shipping.
The bottom line? I'm very satisfied with these rock-a-blocks. Even if I could only use them with clear stamps they do their job well enough in my opinion to justify buying and using them. Like I said, for me and my stamping tendencies, they make for nicer and more crisp stamped images. The blocks are also very light, easy to grip, and easy to use once you get used to the different motion. It's nice not to have to apply much pressure to stamp a complete image, so for folks who have physical issues with stamping, these blocks could be a good alternative to regular acrylic blocks.
Again, these are best used with clear stamps or with uncushioned rubber images, and you do have to exercise a little more care in inking up your stamps because you want to avoid getting ink on the guides. I find the latter to be a fairly minor issue though. It's not tough to have a paper towel close by and give the runners a quick swipe after inking and before rocking, and it's not really all that different from making sure that you don't have stray ink on your mount whether wood or acrylic.
I hope that gives you a better idea of what these "blocks" are about. They rock! :-)