Since I am focusing on using up my stash in the month of April, I will also be talking about some issues that come up with really old supplies. My first topic: the shelf life of embossing powder.
Does embossing powder go bad? This question is raised often in various rubber stamping communities and the opinions vary. Some people will say that embossing powder absolutely goes bad after a couple years. Personally, I have found that it depends. I have a number of powders and many of them are from 2005-2010. Most of these powders are generally fine.
However, as I've delved back into stamping, I did notice that I was getting poor results from my white embossing powder. I finally purchased a new jar so I can share some comparisons with you.
The jar on the left is my new jar and the jar on the right is my old jar of white embossing powder. It is hard to see in the picture, but there is a definite difference in color. The older powder has a yellowed look to it. You can also see that the older powder is clumpier. Now, often embossing powder will clump and it's not a big deal. However, I think the extra clumps in my older powder represent the general clumpiness of it, to the point that it does stick evenly to my image when I apply it.
In this picture, the top image uses my new embossing powder and the bottom uses the old embossing powder. Again, you can see a difference in color between the two. However, you can also see the difference in coverage. While it is normal to have an uneven application when using a bold stamp, the one on the bottom has much larger spaces that aren't covered and just looks lumpier. This is representative of the way this older embossing powder has been acting for me since I have started stamping again.
My final decision is that while some powders may still work fine after years, others may not. If your embossing powder isn't acting the way you expect it to or isn't giving you as nice of images as your other powders, you may want to consider replacing it.