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

Updated on April 23, 2018
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 two things:

  • How the product can be used
  • The rules for selling items made with the product

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.

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

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.

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.

Questions & Answers

    © 2018 Linda F Correa

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

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      • linfcor profile image

        Linda F Correa 4 weeks 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 4 weeks 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!