Given that I had stamps and ink pads on yesterday’s Create and Craft show, I have spent the last few weeks playing with stamps for samples and demos. It dawned on me that some crafters may be new to stamping or feel unsure about using them so I thought I’d do a quick summary of top stamping tips for this week’s #TuesdayTip.
In no particular order, here are my top tips for stamping:
- Choose photopolymer stamps
Photopolymer refers to the material used to manufacture the stamp. With this material there are fewer steps between digital design and the finished stamp so the detail of the design is not lost as can be the case with cheaper alternatives. The result is a clear, crisp image every time. Photopolymer stamps are designed specifically for ink transfer and what’s more, Dovecraft stamps are manufactured in the UK which for me is a huge plus point too!
- Use an acrylic block
You will need to put your stamp onto a block so that you can add the ink and stamp onto your paper or card. By using a clear acrylic block with grid lines, together with a clear stamp it is easy to see exactly where the stamp is going to appear on your project. Photopolymer stamps will easily stick to your acrylic block and stay in place. Some cheaper alternatives are less tacky and can fall off more easily. If your photopolymer stamp does lose its stickiness, wash in water with a small amount of washing up liquid, rinse and leave to air dry. You’ll find that it will stick beautifully to your block again.
- Stamp a new stamp on scrap paper a few times
New stamps will need to be ‘broken in’, that is to say used a few times before you stamp on your finished project. As you can see from these examples, the first time I used the stamp it was not a perfect finish and there were ‘grey’ areas. By the time I had stamped three times, re-inking the stamp each time, it looked fine and from stamp four onwards I was able to use the stamp directly on my finished project without any fear of imperfect stamping.
- Clean your stamps with baby wipes
After stamping, remove the excess ink from your stamp with a wet wipe or baby wipe. This will take away the ink excess but you will notice that some of the ink stain remains on your stamp. THIS IS NORMAL! You do not need to worry about discolouration of clear photopolymer stamps, and it will not affect the stamp’s quality. Sometimes if I have been using a dark colour I will stamp on some scrap paper after wiping and before storing my stamp ready for next time. If any fibres from the wet wipe transfer onto the stamp you can simply rub your finger over the stamp to remove them.
- Stamp on something soft
By that I mean have something with a bit of give underneath your paper or card that you are stamping on to. Your acrylic block is solid and has no give. For an even stamp and ink distribution it can help to have something softer underneath. You can get pads specifically designed for stamping but a self-healing mat is usually OK (glass mats won’t be). A mouse mat would be even better, but actually what I usually do is just place one of my paper pads or a magazine underneath the material I am stamping onto!
- Bring your ink pad to the stamp not the other way round
I find that by holding the acrylic block and dotting the pad on top gives much better ink transfer and doesn’t overload the stamp with ink. This way you get a clear, crisp image and ink transfer onto your cardstock without bleed or bobbling of ink. I believe that most crafters who say “I’m not very good at stamping” may be making this mistake. I find it makes a huge difference to the finished stamp on the paper.
- Invest in embossing powder and a heat tool
Honestly! Do it!
I put this off until I had some stamps on the show and, as I’d seen so many other demonstrators using embossing powders, I wanted to give it a go. I am so disappointed that I waited so long! It is super easy and makes your stamped design really stand out. I particularly like using the embossing powders on projects using First Edition papers as some of them have spot UV effects and embossed stamped images have a similar effect. I also embossed a complete die cut shape by cutting, adding ink, covering in embossing powder and then setting with a heat tool. It gives a lovely effect to the die cut and can really make it stand out on a project. Embossing powders can go a long way too so the investment will be worth it. use a tidy tray when embossing and return surplus powders back to the pot and they’ll go even further!
- Personalise your stamps by masking
See my previous #TuesdayTip blog post for a step by step guide to masking stamps: Tuesday Tip – masking stamps
- Have fun
This top tip is not specific to stamping but is certainly applicable! Don’t worry about mistakes – there’s no such thing! Practice and play around with less expensive papers. Your stamp wont run out and you can have a lovely time experimenting.