How to Safely and Naturally Clean Stained Clear Blocks

Have you ever had clear blocks stained by permanent ink?  Whether it be Archival, Staz-On, or other permanent ink, sometimes, the ink just doesn’t want to come off, no matter how much you scrub!  And if you’re like me, you like your blocks clean and shiny and looking new!

Normally, I wash my blocks with warm soapy water in the kitchen sink.  I use a scratch free scrub sponge and a little dish detergent, then put them in my boys’ old baby bottle rack to dry.   But even with regular washing, sometimes the ink just doesn’t come off!  So here’s a step by step guide on how you can safely and naturally clean your blocks, even ones with stubborn stains!

So here’s a block that my 3 year old got a hold of when I wasn’t looking.  I was making a card, I went into the other room, and when I came back, he was stamping the block onto my Basic Black Archival pad.  (I should have closed the pad, but I was literally gone for only about 30 seconds!)  Now granted, this block has A LOT more ink on it than a block normally would, but seeing it is what gave me the idea to write this post!   So here’s how I got this block looking shiny and clean in just a few minutes:

Step 1:  Gather your Supplies

To clean your blocks, you will need the following:  A scrub sponge, dish detergent, and LEMON essential oil.

Just a couple of things:

  • You want to make sure you use detergent.  Regular hand soap will work to a degree, but it will NOT break up the oil properly to remove it all from the block, and you want to make sure that all of the oil is gone.  More on why that’s important later!
  • You also want to make sure that you are using a NON-SCRATCH scrub sponge.  Brillo pads and steel wool will scratch your blocks!
  • For the oil, I am partial to Young Living Essential Oils.  Why?  First, Young Living oils are among the best quality oils on the planet.  They are 100% pure, therapeutic grade, and contain no artificial chemicals or substances.  Second, and here’s a disclaimer: I am also a Young Living distributor.  I don’t “sell” them as a business, as my Stampin’ Up! business takes up all of my time, but they are the only ones I use and trust to use in my home, especially as I have small kids!  So I highly recommend them above all others!

Step 2: Wash Your Block with Detergent Only 

Before using the oil, you want to make sure you give your block a good washing with the detergent alone.  This will remove any non-permanent ink from your block, as well as any other dirt or film that may be present.  Wash it, give it a good rinse, and dry thoroughly.  Here is what my block looked like after I washed it with detergent alone.  Although much of the ink washed off, what’s left here just would not come off, no matter how much I tried!

Step 3:  Add Essential Oil to the Block

Apply the oil to the stained side of the block.  Just a few drops are all you need.  This definitely works better if you start with a dry block.  Oil and water don’t mix and you want the oil on there full strength!

Step 4:  Rub the Oil Over the Surface of the Block

Rub the oil in so that the surface of the block is covered.  Let it sit for about 10 seconds.

Step 5:  Apply Dish Detergent and Scrub the Block

After letting the oil sit for a few seconds, you want to give your block a good scrubbing with the detergent and sponge.  This is important for two reasons: scrubbing will help get the ink off faster, plus it will ensure that all of the oil is cleaned from the block.  As I mentioned before, you definitely do NOT want to leave the oil on too long.  Lemon oil, as well as any citrus essential oil, contains natural substances that can damage plastic if left on too long.  Honestly, I do not know how long it would take to damage our blocks…I’ve never left it on there long enough to find out!

Step 6:  Rinse Thoroughly with Warm Water

Be sure to rinse well to remove the ink as well as all traces of the oil.  Dry thoroughly and you should be good to go!

Doesn’t that look great?  Now in the interest of full disclosure, for heavily stained blocks, it may be necessary to repeat the above steps multiple times.  For this block, I had to apply the oil and scrub FOUR times to get it all off!  Sometimes it works the first time, and sometimes it doesn’t.  But I have never had a block that it didn’t fully clean!  Even ones that the ink has been on for MONTHS! I’ve used this method many, many times with multiple kinds of ink, and so far, it’s worked on every one of them!  🙂

Some added benefits of using lemon essential oil to clean your blocks are that it’s all natural, it smells light and fresh, and may also help boost your mood, as citrus oils are known to help with that as well!  Lemon oil is one of the most versatile oils you can buy!

For more information on Young Living Lemon Essential Oil, please click HERE.

I hope that this post has been helpful!  Please feel free to contact me with any questions you have!

Nicolle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Holiday Carryover List

Even though the Holiday Catalog is now retired, there are lots of great Holiday items STILL AVAILABLE!  Some are shown in the back of the Occasions Catalog, but you can see the complete list in the online store!  Stamp sets, punches, packaging items, and more are just a few examples of what you can still get from the Holiday Catalog.  Click HERE to go to the Holiday Favorites section of the online store!

Enjoy your day!

Nicolle

Time to Say Goodbye to the 2017 Holiday Catalog

I know I said that I was done sharing Holiday projects, but then I received this card from a demo friend and it was too cute not to share!  This card was made by Pamela Carey-Mackenzie, and features the Smitten Mittens Photopolymer Bundle!  Sadly, this item retires TODAY, along with the Holiday Catalog itself.  🙁

But as one door closes, another usually opens, so although the Holiday Catalog is retiring, that means that Occasions and Sale-a-Bration are right around the corner!  Those begin TOMORROW, and you are going to LOVE them!

Be sure to visit the Online Store one more time TODAY to scoop up some great deals on remaining Holiday Catalog items!  But don’t wait too long, as after today, they will be gone for good!  To go to the Retiring Items section of the Online Store, click here.

Hope you all have a great day!  Thanks for checking in!

Nicolle

 

Bold Floral Card with TWO of My Favorite Occasions Products!

Today’s card features two of my favorite NEW Occasions products: the Beautiful Day stamp set and Brusho Crystal Color watercolor crystals!

The new Beautiful Day stamp set features five rubber stamps, including a large butterfly, a large flower, two sentiments, and an accent stamp.  It’s available in both wood mount and clear mount, and will be available to order starting January 3rd!  For this card, I used the flower stamp, along with a sentiment from a different set called Petal Palette (also a new Occasions product!)  Here’s a peek at the full Beautiful Day set:

To start, I heat embossed the flower in white embossing powder on watercolor paper.  I then applied the Brusho, and colored with an Aquapainter to get the bright, bold colors!  (I am not going to talk too much about the Brusho today, as I plan to do a whole post about it tomorrow.  I hope you’ll check back for the details then!)  But I will say this: it is SUCH a fun product to use!  If you love watercoloring, or love how watercoloring looks on projects, you are definitely going to want to give it a try!

Here’s a peek at the Brusho packaging:

Don’t let the plain black and white packaging fool you!  There’s a whole bunch of color in that unassuming little box!

Once the flower was colored and dry, I layered the top layer of the card with Real Red cardstock on a Basic Black base, stamped the sentiment from Petal Palette in black, and added some leaves in Lemon Lime Twist.  (I stamped and punched the leaves with the Painted Harvest Bundle, and used Versamark ink on the veins of the leaves, just to add a hint of detail.)  The flower was fussy cut with Paper Snips, and applied to the card with Dimensionals, so it pops off the card a bit and really stands out!

Tomorrow’s post will be all about Brusho!  Hope you’ll check back to learn more about this new product and how fun it can be to use!  Have a great day!

Nicolle

 

Bubble Over Bundle OnStage Card

Yesterday, I was unable to post because we were having some technical difficulties!  Hopefully, the issues have been resolved!  I had planned to show this card yesterday, but will have to show it today instead!

So here’s a bright, colorful, FUN card that I made in November using new Occasions products!  It features items from the new Bubble Over Bundle.  This bundle includes a 17 piece photopolymer stamp set called Bubble Over, as well as a 19 piece cutting die set called Bottles & Bubbles Framelits.  Of course, both items are available separately, but you can save 10% by purchasing them together as the bundle!  This card also features a coordinating FREE Sale-a-Bration item, available only with a purchase of $50 or more (before tax and shipping).  That item is the Bubbles & Fizz Designer Series Paper, and can be found on page 13 of the Sale-a-Bration brochure!  Here’s a closer look at the new products:

Bubble Over Bundle

This bundle includes both the stamp set and coordinating dies shown above!  The stamp set is photopolymer.  As mentioned above, both items are available separately as well, but if you want both, you can save 10% by purchasing the bundle!

Bubbles & Fizz Designer Series Paper

This paper is only available with a $50 purchase (before tax and shipping)!  It contains 12 fun prints that coordinate perfectly with the Bubble Over Bundle!  Colors include Basic Gray, Bermuda Bay, Calypso Coral, Daffodil Delight, Lemon Lime Twist, and Whisper White.

Glitter & Clear Epoxy Shapes

These are sure to be one of my favorite new embellishments!  There are 176 adhesive backed accents in both teardrop and circle shapes.  Some are clear and others are clear with a hint of glitter!  These were used on the card above to make little bubbles coming out of the top of the bottle.  Here’s a closeup:

Isn’t this such a cute card?  Don’t forget, all new Occasions products are available starting January 3rd!

Thanks for checking in today!

Nicolle

 

 

TOMORROW is the LAST day to order for Christmas Delivery!

TOMORROW (December 14th) is the last day to order from Stampin’ Up! for on time Christmas Delivery!  So get your wish lists ready and make sure your loved ones know to order by 11:59 pm MT!  Here’s a sheet you can print out to let them know exactly what you want to add to your craft stash for Christmas:

Simply right click on the image above, save to your computer, print, and hand to anyone you wish to give them a gentle nudge!  (Please disregard that it says to order by December 5th!  Stampin’ Up! says the 14th, so we’ll go with that!)

Or, click here to treat yourself!  🙂

Please contact me with questions or anything else you need!

Nicolle

 

 

Grateful for the Little Things!

We ended up not having power for almost three days due to the storm we had here Sunday night into Monday morning!  I’m very grateful it wasn’t longer!  It’s amazing how not having power can really set you back though.  Laundry, dishes, and of course, Halloween thrown in the mix!  On top of it all, I have a HORRIBLE cold.  I haven’t been able to smell or taste anything in three days!  The only good thing about that is that I have not had ANY desire to raid my kids candy stash, because really, what’s the point if I can’t taste it?!  I am hoping to get back to creating this weekend, and will hopefully have some new things to share with you very soon!

Have a great weekend!

Nicolle