They are brimming with possibilities....
Let's backtrack before we really dive into the stamping itself. These plates are...different. They come in a red leatherette holder.
The bow is upside-down, but I think it could probably be maneuvered to be right-side up. I guess. I'm not using the holder, so I don't mind.
The string is attached to the back of the holder.
The front and back aren't held together directly, but connected paper doll-style by the slots for the plates. Instructions for use are included on the inside of the holder, which is cool. The plates themselves are as distinctly different as the holder. They're etched on both sides and come in plastic sleeves that are meant to be kept on to prevent injuries to the plate or the user
This makes it very difficult to remove the blue film. Even getting the "window" part out was a challenge.
I decided almost right away that I'd ditch the plastic entirely and I cut it off. It's not actually attached to the plates. I've never hurt myself on any other plate, so what's the big deal? I did keep the part that covers the window, to keep them from scratching each other. There's another challenge when it comes to removing the blue film, a slight lip on one side of each plate. It took more effort to remove it from these than from any other plates I own.
Once everything is off, this is what you have...
The naming for these is quirky too. This is SE01A, to distinguish it from the other side. Clever!
...but let's stamp already, right?
I made a beeline for that flower and ivy region at the middle left, using Cult Nails Nevermore over Sinful Colors Real Teal.
I could have danced, I was that thrilled! So crisp! Worked like a charm!
I moved up to the geometric part for KBShimmer Shade Shifter over FingerPaints Black Expressionism.
Much happy flailing ensued.
Loving Shade Shifter too, by the way.
I could do tons of different looks with just SE01A, but it was time to move on and flip it over. Here's SE01B.
The swirly area just above the center seemed pretty cool, so I used it with Sally Hansen Coat Of Arms over Sinful Colors Starry Night.
Hmm. While I like how this turned out, I did have trouble. Can you see where it failed to transfer? This was the best I could do after multiple attempts. Uh-oh.
I went over to the spirograph-looking part next, with Revlon I'm Electro over Sinful Colors Matte About Blue.
Uh....what? Where'd my stamping go? This wouldn't be the first time that I'd chosen unwisely and wound up with nearly invisible stamping, but I wasn't entirely convinced that was what had happened.
Between this result and the one above, I was beginning to think this side of the plate might be a dud. To test this worry, I grabbed a plate I knew worked well. I added a quick test stamp and my suspicion was confirmed. You can see the thistle pretty clearly.
From bad to worse... The bird was going to be my next stop on SE01B, but I just couldn't get it to pick up. I tried maybe a dozen different polishes with different finishes, including ones I know stamp well. No dice! I spent over two hours trying. I cursed a blue streak. I growled. I finally gave up and decided to just get proof of this disaster.
This is the best I could do. The polishes are Sally Hansen Jet Set Jade, Claire's When in Chrome, Sally Hansen Go Gold, and Sally Hansen Coat Of Arms over American Apparel Hunter
This is kinda heartbreaking, isn't it?
To prove to myself (and Pueen in an email) that I wasn't just suddenly losing my touch or using dud polishes, I grabbed a plate from Pueen's Buffet set and stamped the same polishes over that mess above. This troubleshooting really clinched it. Dud plate!
I'm convinced it's not etched deeply enough. I also tried a firmer stamper, since my XL "squishy" one might be incompatible with the plate somehow. Even that didn't work all that well!
It looks sorta half-decent, but look at how patchy the transfer is and how wispy and thin the image looks. Even if it was a crisp transfer, I can't use this style of stamper on my nails!
I wish I could say that SE01B was the only problem I had. (...or that I was the only one with issues with SE01B. I've heard others have had the same problem.) Both sides of the SE04 plate had flaws etched in. I emailed Pueen about both issues. They initially wanted me to ship the defective plates back to them, even after seeing my photos highlighting the problems, but relented immediately when I reminded them that I had already paid to ship this set. Defective merchandise is the seller's responsibility as far as I'm concerned...and I felt bad enough about rushing in and getting hit with completely avoidable $7 shipping in the first place.
Paying over $30 for a stamping set with eight images and having three of them be either blemished or borderline unusable soured me on stamping for a couple of days. I'd planned on doing a patriotic thingy for The Fourth, but couldn't bring myself to get my tools out until the day after. Gotta get back on the horse though, right?
SE02A has so much going on that it was really tough to pick where to start! It reminds me of The Beatles' Yellow Submarine cartoon, which I watched incessantly as a kid.
The lower right appealed to me and I used it to stamp Cult Nails Nevermore over OPI Push And Shove.
Such a relief! My results on this weren't completely perfect, but the fact that the super-thin lines in the middle worked almost flawlessly was so reassuring. It's one of my most liked images on Instagram too! Woohoo!
At this point I wanted to make sure everything else worked, so I rushed over to SE02B.
I used the birdcage and some of its surroundings with Sally Hansen Platinum Star over Sinful Colors Prime Purple.
Umm...the birdcage is huuuuuuuge! It's way too big for any nail I've ever seen. Bummer. At least it transfers well.
Next I went to the ornate region in the upper left, using Sally Hansen Presto Pewter over L'Oréal Greyt Expectations.