What is an Angel Policy… or Can I Sell This?

Every so often I get an email from one of my readers asking about selling something they’ve created using my stamps or stencils. I appreciate that respectful question very much..

I love to see projects created by you – cards, artwork, wearables – I’m always surprised by the creative ways that you use them and it inspires me to try new things, too. The questions about “Selling” also bring up a super important topic in the world of stenciling, stamping, and art-making. I’m talking about copyright and the Angel Policy.

What is an Angel Policy?

It is the policy determined by each designer and manufacturer and it specifies how the products (stamps, stencils, etc.) may be used by the purchaser. If there is no Angel Policy it usually means a company does not permit any commercial use (if you need to know- email the company). The policy spells out rules that are an extension of the copyright owned by the designer and/or manufacturer. In other words, when you buy a product you have essentially agreed to respect the ‘intellectual property’ of the person who created it.

Please be aware that Angel Policies vary widely within the industry. Once you are familiar with a company’s policy it should be easy to keep track and stay within the parameters.

Here is my Angel Policy:

My products are licensed under agreements with several manufacturers and each product falls under the explicit Angel Policy of that company, rather than not permitting ANY commercial use. Each of these companies has a generous and fair policy and as a licensed designer I am in total agreement with the guidelines and restrictions they spell out.  Check out the web sites at Stampendous StencilGirl Products, ArtFoamies, and  RubberMoon for the specifics (the fine print).

In general a common theme of all of those companies (with exceptions and there you have to read their policies!) is this: Hand-stamped and hand-stenciled projects are always permitted for personal use. You can hand-stamp or stencil cards or make wall art and garments and accessories and home decor items and other stuff for your friends and family. You are also allowed to sell one of a kind and small editions of hand-stamped and hand-stenciled items/artwork. But under the Angel Policies the companies and I agreed to put out,  mechanical, electronic or digital reproduction is not permitted. No scanning, altering, resizing or changing the designs. No scanning for electronic cutting systems.

Again, let me say that not all companies’ and artists’ policies are the same. My main goal here is to clarify under which ones my designs fall in general.

Angel Policies and New Technologies:

Angel Policies have had to adapt to the changes in how artwork can be reproduced. With websites like Zazzle, CafePress, and Society6, it is even more important to know what you can do with the projects that you’ve created with someone else’s stamps or stencil designs.

I get emails where someone wants to use an electronic scanning and cutting system with my design and then change something or upload something made with my design to CafePress or a similar company and create rugs, fabric, or other items with my designs, etc.

Now that you know about the Angel Policies regarding my designs, I think you know that the answer is ‘No”

Thank You:

It’s complicated, and it may seem limiting, but these guidelines help to protect all the work that goes into designing and producing stamps and stencils. It is not easy to make a living as an artist, but guidelines like this allows artists to keep on creating, to keep bringing their designs to the marketplace, and it lets you to keep on creating, too.

I have thought long and hard about addressing this and I appreciate that you’ll respect that I have chosen to do so. I love saying ‘YES’ and I think Angel Policies give me a way to come up with a good way to say ‘YES’ a whole lot, way more than ‘NO’!

Please contact me if you still have more questions about the Angel Policies my designs fall under.

Comments (3)

  • Marjie Kemper


    You’ve spelled it out so clearly. Great post!


  • aksusan


    Although i don’t sell anything i make, i appreciate the Angel Policies. Intellectual Copyright is a messy and scary thing. It is too easy for people to take your ideas and run. Artists have been taken advantage of since that first day mechanical reproduction was available to the masses.
    Thanks for your article and the links for each company you work with! I was able to read their policies quick as could be to be sure that i follow them!
    Art on!!!


    • nathalie-kalbach


      Susan, thank you so much! Yeah it really is not an issue if you do something for yourself or sell small quantities of handmade art.Thank you so much for reading it- Loves and hugs, Nat


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