Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Thrifty Thursday...

I'm cheap. Well, frugal. Actually, I just want to know that I'm getting the biggest bang for my buck. I've got no trouble spending money (just ask American Express, lol), if what I'm buying is worth it. This post was going to be about making my own Teflon bone folder, but I stumbled onto a couple of products at my local kitchen store that I wanted to share. I'll do the DIY bone folder next week, promise.

A few weeks ago, I bought a Ranger Non-Stick craft sheet (retail 18.99, I used my 40% coupon, and paid 11.99, not a bad deal, so I thought).

It does everything is promises to do, be non-stick, protect my work surface from heat, the whole shebang. It annoys me that it doesn't lie flat, but whatever.

<---- see, not flat.

At my local kitchen store (Kitchen & Company, for those keeping track) I found this:

<------ here's the important part. Six bucks?!

Let's see what this bad boy looks like:

<----- Hmm... looks familiar. Also not flat.

Here's the two of them side by side, Super Parchment on the left, Ranger Craft Sheet on the right:

The Ranger craft sheet is a little heaver, and feels a little slicker than the Super Parchment, but according to their respective websites, they're both Teflon coated.

While still at the kitchen store, I stumbled onto this beauty:

Ohhhh, a Silpat. French. Heavy.
<--- very, very flat.

So, I figured, let's make this a ball game... into the cart it went.

Now, silpats are silicon-coated fiberglass, heat & stick resistant, but definitely denser than the Teflon-coated variety. It made a nice sounding *THWAK* when it hit my table. This baby cost $20, no coupon. Ergh. We're getting a little out of my comfort zone, this better have been worth it.

Okay, based on appearence alone, the rankings are:
2. Ranger Craft Sheet (Slick, but irritatingly not flat. Or heavy)
3. Super Parchment (yeah, same with this one... almost a tie with the Ranger).

Next, I did some polyshrink, uh, shrinking on each of the surfaces. I busted out my old-school Milwaukee heat gun (this thing is 10 years old, and still has it, baby) and went to town. All of them performed admirably, no marring or burn marks on my dining room table. The polyshrink blew around a lot on the Ranger craft sheet and the Super Parchment, not as much on the Silpat, since it's surface is slightly tacky, and more friction=less movement (<----that's science, see...).

Current standings: 1. Silpat holds firm in the lead, I liked the extra friction Ranger Craft Sheet & Super Parchment are neck & neck at this point.

Then I got them dirty... Stazon-kinda dirty:

They all three cleaned up with a baby wipe, Ranger Craft sheet and Silpat tied for awesome, Super Parchment needed a wee bit more scrubbing, but nothing too taxing:

I also threw some green acrylic paint down on them, heat set it, and wiped with a baby wipe, and no problems, clean as a whistle.

So, it may all come down to price & personal preference on this one. Personally, I'm keeping the Silpat on my craft table. I love the heaviness of it, and did I mention that it's flat? As far as I'm concerned, the Ranger craft sheet and the Super Parchment were so close that it irked me quite a bit that the Ranger craft sheet retails for three times what the Super Parchment does. It's definitely not three times better.

I just checked Amazon, and they have the Silpat for $11.99. That figures. Oh well, I don't need another one, because I think this one will last me quite a while.

Since you've read this far, you might as well WIN A PRIZE! One lucky reader (and since there's only like 3 of you, and one of them is my husband, you've got a pretty good shot), will win a Super Parchment sheet, barely used. First comment wins! Go!


Alex said...

Lol, so would I be one of the other two that reads your blog then!!!! he he he

Love your comparison, that silpat looks fab, lol typically found in the states!!!! hehe

Debbie G said...

*laughing* Amazing.

I bought a 'craft mat' a few years and a few moves ago. It was black, extremely thin, and nothing stuck to it. I got thinking about it again, and while it was on my mind, found a 'Betty Crocker Ressable Clean Cookin' Non-Stick Oven Liner' in the clearance bin in Target. It was a different color, but seemed like the same stuff.

I bought it, and THEN went home to research it. That one 23 x 16" sheet cost $9.00 on clearance. So it wasn't too bad.

But when you start web-searching, you'll find a huge discrepancy in the prices depending on where you go.

I agree, it's thin. I tape the sucker down around the edges. I work with polymer clay, so I actually WANT something with a bit of a 'tack' sometimes. So I work on tiles, and can work on something and set it aside, then get another 3 or 6 inch square tile and work on another. And when I make a mess on the table/mat under me, it cleans easily. So it works for my needs.

The amazing part is that realizing the length of time information can hang around on the internet, I found this after a long bit of searching - and after reading it, figured it would be several years old. It's amazing that it was written only 2 days ago!

Enjoy your Silpat, I think you'll like it a lot.

Maybe I'll even get something like this for baking -food-. These days it seems I only turn on the oven for polymer clay. LOL.

Debbie Goodrow
DGoodrow AT Gmail.com

huntla1 said...

Okay, so I am sort of a science geek -- it is amazing that I have a bit of a creative bone in me too -- and that is how I got to your blog. Stamping Science -- too good to be true. I love your write up -- and I would just like to say that your blog readership has just gone up by 50 %. I am now 33% of your total readership. I think I'll even subscribe. Don't let me down!! LOL

sheila said...

I was thinking on buying a Ranger craft sheet but I think I will hold off until I find the parchment or a cheap Silpro. I loved your comparison. You have a new reader in me.

Gayle said...

LOL you must have caused a run in sales at amazon, the silpat went up to $12.99! Thank you for the comparison!! I have on off brand, but still sold as a "craft" product. Can't remember whaer I got it from but after years of use, that thing still won't lie flat!! lol

Joan B said...

This is a great post. I love your comparisons on these products. Craft products are usually way over priced, IMHO, but we buy them anyway!!