What Are Angel Policies and How Do They Affect People Who Craft?

Updated on March 16, 2020
linfcor profile image

Professional scrapbook artist, paper crafter, and author, I have taught people how to make family memories into legacies for 20 years.

What Is an Angel Policy?

An angel policy is a limited license for use on any rubber stamp, acrylic stamp, digital stamp, or any product that is specially designed for a crafter's use. It typically specifies :

  • How the product can be used
  • The rules for selling items made with the product
  • Whether a copyright statement needs to be made
  • Whether permission needs to be requested in writing
  • Stamped images cannot be used to create logos, clip art, or other commercial products

Some companies have very few restrictions and allow users to create products to sell using their products. In some cases, they will sell you the commercial rights to the design for an extra fee. They often state that the items created for resale must be made by hand.

Other companies have more restrictions on their products. They simply state that they are for personal use only.

This might sound a little challenging to a crafter, especially one who wants to sell cards and other products. But remember, it is made to protect the artist or designer from misusing an image or product that doesn't belong to them.

If you are just making things for personal use, you really don't need to concern yourself with the angel policy of any company. Crafters who are interested in altered arts, however, may want to check the angel policy of the companies whose stamps they are using, as some do not allow the altering of their images. This includes masking and layering images.

If a company does not state an angel policy, does that mean you can do anything you want with the product?

No, even if it is not stated, you can only use the product for personal use.

Why Are There Angel Policies?

Angel policies are there to protect the manufacturer or artist from having their work stolen or misused.

Here is one example that I see happening all the time on the internet, and it drives me crazy!

  1. A person buys a file or an image from an artist to use.
  2. That same person shares the purchased file or image with a group online.
  3. She is basically giving away an image that, normally, the artist would expect to get paid for. Her intention may be just to share it, but in essence, she has violated the angel policy of the artist. That image could be shared hundreds of times without them even knowing about it.

Licensed images, such as Disney characters or other characters such as Thomas the Tank Engine are almost never permitted for use in the creation of items for resale.

How Do Angel Policies Affect a Professional Paper Crafter?

As we stated before, an angel policy is a limited license use of a stamp, image, digital stamp or any program where you are able to reproduce an image of any kind.

While it does not generally affect anything you use for personal use, it does affect anything you might sell that uses that image. Examples include greeting cards, scrapbook pages, art journals, and any vinyl items.

The Takeaway: While angel policies vary a lot from one company to another, the main point to think about is that the majority are fine with you using the image, but it must be handmade by you. In other words, if you were to stamp an item several times, that's no problem. But if you stamp the item and then make copies of it on a printer, then that might violate the angel policy.

If you have any questions about the angel policy, it is always best to contact the company. Most have contact information on or near their angel page.

Other Typical Conditions in an Angel Policy

  • How many products can be made
  • Where the products can be sold
  • Whether a copyright statement needs to be made
  • Whether permission must be made in writing
  • Stamped images cannot be used to create logos, clip art, or something meant for commercial use
  • Where crafts made with their products can be sold
  • Credit to be given if a picture is taken with the product

Large Company Angel Policies

Name Of Company
Full Copy Of Current Angel Policy
Close To My Heart
Create And Craft
GIna K Designs
Hero Arts
Honey Bee Stamps
Lawn Fawn
Mama Elephant
My Favorite Things
Elizabeth Craft Designs
Maymay Made It
Paper Wishes
Stampin Up
Tonic Studios
Unity Stamp Company
Whimsey Stamps

What Are the Typical Types of Violations Often Seen?

  1. People buy an image and use it in projects without buying a commercial license. Many companies have images that they will give away for free. Then, you can buy a commercial license if you are going to make things to sell. Often times, people either don't understand the company rules or choose to bypass them.
  2. People sharing images they purchased by giving them away on social media. Most of the time, people think they are just doing a good deed. But when you think about it, you are taking revenue from the artist.
  3. People showing images without giving credit to the website or artist. If someone wants to get in touch with the artist and see how to use it, there isn't an easy way to do so if the person who posted it neglected to give credit where credit is due. Also, it can look like the person is trying to claim the art as their own, which is not true.

Licensed Images on Programs Like Cricut

Many of us have programs such as Cricut Access where we buy into the program for a fee. However, there are some images that the company charges extra for to use. It is a one time fee. The question always comes up as to why these images cost extra to use.

In these cases, the company (Cricut) has paid licensing fees to make the images available to you. These licensing fees come with a hefty price. They are companies like Disney. This is why the additional price is added in the program. I never have a problem with that—once I buy it, I own it.

If you have written to a company regarding the use of the product, keep a copy of your correspondence

More About Digital Images and Fonts

Many companies sell digital images and fonts. In many cases, some of these images and fonts are given freely to use for personal use. Otherwise, you can purchase images for personal use. In most cases, these companies will offer images for a fee for commercial use. They might also offer a package of images for personal and commercial use. It's important when you are making a purchase that you understand the use of the purchase.

Licensed items such as Disney or any item which has a specific name or brand name, such as a character name, almost always cannot be reproduced for sale.

Angel policies change, so if you are using a product professionally, check back with the company. You may want to consider keeping copies of the companies whose products you most often use.

What Happens if You Violate an Angel Policy?

Technically, the person holding the copyright could sue you for illegal use of their copyright.

© 2018 Linda F Correa

We would love to hear your thoughts, ideas and experiences with angel policies

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    • profile image

      Linda F Corea 

      4 months ago

      The first thing to understand is that if you are making a card for personal use, you do not have to give credit to anyone unless you chose to. If you are selling the card or demonstrating the card on a blog, or a video or any commercial use, then yes you would have to follow the angel policies for each company. So the key is personal use vs selling the item. If I was selling a card, I would make up a slip of paper to go into the card naming the stamp used and the company it came from. I know it is a pain if you are selling your work, but following the rules will help prevent problems. I hope that helps.

    • profile image

      Shelley Stephen 

      4 months ago

      How do Angel Policies work on items that use multiple companies? For instance, if I make a card and I use a background stamp from Stampin' Up, a flower from Heartfelt Creations, a sentiment from Art Impressions...you get the idea. Do I have to credit everyone on the back of the card, or just the one that is the largest portion? I mix and match a lot, so half my card could be logos!

    • linfcor profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda F Correa 

      11 months ago from Spring Hill Florida

      The products these companies make may be covered by copyright laws. In my opinion, that covers the product being copied by another company. The angel policies cover the use of the product by buyers. Some products are only for personal use, some for both personal and commercial use. Many companies sell digital images. Some companies allow you to use the image for personal use for free. But if you use these to make items to sell, they require you to purchase them. I f you use these products to make money, why would you not expect to pay for them?For example, there are images on the Cricut Design Space that they pay a large licensing fee, so they charge you to use them . Having said all that, I have never found the angel policies confusing, personally. I know of one recent case of a copyright case being charged where it appears a design was copied and had to be removed from the line. I am not sure about how effective the laws are. I defer to the lawyers. My only thought was to clarify the issue https://hubpages.com/my/hubs/comments

    • profile image


      11 months ago

      Angel policies are not needed. There are actual laws to cover copyright and trademarks. All Angel policies do is confuse people. Since they are all different, I doubt if any are legal and haven't found one proof that they are. I only see sellers of the tools, making claims about these policies, with no proof that they are legal.

    • profile image


      16 months ago

      You are welcome.Best of luck in your new business !

    • profile image


      16 months ago

      Im starting to make my craft like all occasions cards and hair clip bow and baby headbands key chains is it needs to stamp up too thanks and your video help a lot thanks

    • linfcor profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda F Correa 

      19 months ago from Spring Hill Florida

      I can sure understand how you feel about this. Most companies state their angel policies on their websites and feel their legal obligation is met. But in some cases, it is hard to find that policy. I understand your frustration. A simple statement on their packaging would be easy to do and would clarify the situation. Most crafters, professional and hobbyists try to do the right thing. However I have seen a lot of people sharing images that they have purchased in craft groups, which of course is against the law. There are also cases where images are given free for personal use, and then people use them for things that they sell without paying the extra fee.

      My purpose in this article was to hopefully make people more aware of the rules. I think your point on packaging is very valid. Let's hope someone picks up on that idea. Thanks for your input

    • profile image


      19 months ago

      Thanks for this article.

      I understand companies' need for angel policies. However, I think it is unethical that they don't state their policy directly on the product packaging or point of online sale. They are happy to sell you the product but then you have to do your homework to find out if you can actually use it as you intended. They know that many of the crafters buying their products intend to sell their creations, yet don't feel the need to clarify the user's restrictions at the time of purchase? This really needs to change, even if it means less products will be sold. It simply is the ethical, fair thing to do.

      I had stamps and dies for several years before even learning that angel policies exist and I found out too late that I can't use many of them for anything I want to sell. I spent good money on these products. Of course, now that I am aware, I do my homework before buying. But I imagine there are tons of items purchased by folks who don't even know there are limitations to their use despite owning the products.

    • linfcor profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda F Correa 

      2 years ago from Spring Hill Florida

      Thank you for your comment. I am a knitter also and had no idea that there is a similar policy for knitters. But it does make sense.

    • purl3agony profile image

      Donna Herron 

      2 years ago from USA

      Interesting hub and topic. I can see why an angel policy would have to exist for stamps and other paper craft products. Knitting patterns often have a somewhat similar policy written into their copyright that bans selling products made from the pattern. Thanks for outlining this policy for those of us that are new to paper crafts!


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