Can you see that cut on the second joint of the finger? (Sorry, it was really weird to photograph) That's from just holding it in my hand. Seriously. I'd known the edges of the plates were sharp, from word around the blogosphere (love that word) but I'd thought I was being oh so clever by being all stealthy and everything, holding it in the palm of my hand when I wanted to use/look at one. Naturally, I realised that I hadn't been that clever that when I went to chop tomatoes later that night. It was stinging like nobody's business and I was like "What is this?" On closer examination, I had a multitude of tiny cuts all over my hand! Good times.
To reduce the damage-doing potential to these plates, I took some of my cheap nail files to the sides of the plates. All twenty one of them. The casualties of this were two nail files and like an hour of my time. Plus the metal dust got everywhere. Gross. Still, it turned them from nunchucks to mildly harmless nail stamping instruments so I guess it's all good. In case you were wondering why I had pictures of nail files up on here, it's to show you the damage that about five plates will do to them. So if you were thinking of using your nice, brand new crystal file, please don't. Please.
I think this came to £21 in total, including postage (not entirely sure how much the exact amount was as this was a birthday present). Now, ordinary - legit - Konad stamping plates cost about £5 or £6 on eBay and the like, and this was the price paid for twenty one plates which is basically £1 a plate. In my opinion, that's a very good deal. Especially as the designs aren't just variations of flowers - not that I have anything against flowers, but some retailers need to switch it up a bit. Some of my favourites from this set include the pair of kissy lips, the big L.O.V.E stencil (which I'm going to do a K-pop inspired design with at some point, hopefully) the woodgrain pattern (which I've seen Ange from Scandalously Polished use to create what is probably one of my favourite nail designs of all time - oh, and it's not particularly safe for work, you have been warned) and the halloween/goth plates. There are more, those are just a few. I can see myself getting quite a bit of use out of these.
Well I would, if I could use them.
Perhaps this is just my set? Can you see the lack of definition in these two plates, BM04 and BM19? (these are the worst, individual designs are affected on some other plates) I haven't tried stamping with most of these yet but I can't see them picking up much colour at all. If it is just my set, the manufacturers have a quality control issue. It's a shame, because these plates have some really interesting designs on them, but they're pretty much unusuable.
I think it's clearest in these two photos.
My final gripe with these is that once you have used them, there is always some leftover polish remaining. This is not a problem I've had with any of my other (Konad or fauxnad) plates. I use a decent polish remover that has a high acetone content and it doesn't come off on these plates unless I take a cotton bud to it and really scrub away at the design. I suppose this shouldn't be an issue - my plates aren't decorations - but it does make me worry that after I've used say, a hot pink, the next time I use the design with a navy blue, that the pink may transfer onto my blue design and ruin it.
And the filing (which should be done at the manufacturers, really) does leave slight scratches on the end of the plates, which may bother some people who dislike scratches on their plates. To prevent damage to the undersides and faces of the plates after filing (pieces of dust and grit were all over the plates and weren't brushed away effectively) I "washed" mine with damp cotton wool and water, and then dried them carefully because I don't know whether these will rust if exposed to water. All but two of my plates still had the protective plastic sheet on, however. Just something to bear in mind if you're planning on doing the same thing - file and wash/dry before peeling off the coating. You might want to wear gloves as well.
Overall? If Bundle Monster were to release a new set of twenty one plates with brand new designs at the same price, I would probably purchase, but only armed with this knowlege. I'd also need to know just how many of the plates are duds like the two I showed you above - it's not so cheap when you can't use the product!
Have any of you guys bought these? How were your experiences?