Stamping sounds so easy, doesn’t it? You buy a stamp, put some ink on it, and rap it on the paper, right? Wrong!
You may find your images smudge, twist or look a bit blobby with this method of stamping. That’s not usually what a stamper wants. Well, I am going to tell you about the little secrets for creating stamped images that you may not have seen before. But let’s start a couple of steps before you start stamping. Let’s look at the quality of the stamp and the type of ink you are going to buy.
Before you buy your stamp, it is important to examine the rubber or acrylic and decide if the image is carefully chiselled out. A good stamp will be made of a firmer, high quality rubber or acrylic and the image will be finely and deeply cut. If you buy a stamp that is softer and less well defined, that is the type of image you will get from it, regardless of your technique.
Now consider the ink you want to use. There are actually five basic types of inks and each one gives you a different effect. There are dye based, pigment based, permanent, fabric and embossing inks. Which one will produce the result you want? Here’s some ideas about how to choose between them:
Dye Based inks are water based so they react to water or paint or other moisture by smudging. What they do is stain the paper, so if you want to colour your stamped images somehow, don’t choose dye-based inks. If you want a quick drying ink or crisp images that you don’t want to colour or alter in any way, choose dye based inks. You will also get a softer colour with dye based inks. You can usually clean this type of ink off your stamps with water, but be careful not to saturate and therefore warp any stamps mounted on wooden blocks.
Pigment inks are also water based but they are made differently to dye based inks. They have little particles of colour in them so they are brighter than dye inks and are less likely to smudge. They are best used on matte paper. When you use them on glossy cardstock, they will smudge if touched. They also take longer to dry so you can put embossing powder on them and heat set that.
Permanent ink is just that – a quick setting, water resistant ink. You can stamp on many surfaces with it – glossy cardstock, glass, acetate, even wood or paint. Once in place and dry the image is there to stay. This type of ink will also stain your stamp unless you use the specially made permanent ink cleaner solution that usually can be found on the shelf at the store next to the permanent inks.
Fabric ink is made for stamping on fabric and you will probably need to ‘set’ it by ironing over it once you have stamped your image. You can use fabric ink on other surfaces too (such as on chipboard). It is a semi-permanent ink so use a stamp cleaner with it to avoid staining your stamps.
Embossing inks are stickier and take longer to dry so they are perfect for catching and holding on to embossing powders. Just be careful not to touch an embossed image till it has been heat set or it will smudge. If you stamp on coloured cardstock with clear embossing ink, your image will be two tones darker than the colour of the cardstock. You’ll need a stamp cleaner for this type of ink, too.
OK. Once you have chosen your ink, you are ready to start stamping. The three secrets for crisp, clear images are:
- Place your stamp face-down on your ink pad, and tap it on the pad. Avoid pushing the stamp into the ink pad as you will wind up with too much ink on the stamp and this in turn will make your images smudged or imperfect. Now turn the stamp over and check to see if all areas of the image have been evenly inked up. If not, turn the stamp face down again and tap it on the ink pad till it is properly inked up.
- Turn your stamp over again and hold it firmly in your two hands by the edges. Lower it onto your paper as straight as you can. Press the stamp in the middle with a finger, then press around the edges of the image to be sure all of the image has had contact with the paper. Be careful not to press so hard that you tilt or buckle the stamp.
- Next, carefully and smoothly lift the stamp straight up from the paper, avoiding tilting or twisting the stamp.
You should have a clean, crisp, complete image!
More stamping tips:
If you have a very large stamp, turn it face up on your table. Tap the ink onto the stamp, checking to be sure it is all properly inked up. You may find you get a better result if you place your paper on the stamp and carefully smooth it over with your hand before lifting the paper straight up and off the stamp. This way you avoid any ‘missed’ spots caused by imperfections in the surface of a large stamp.
Do try to clean your stamps before the ink dries on them. Using a stamp cleaner will condition the rubber and maintain the quality of the images.
Now you now the three steps to perfect stamping.Perfection can be achieved if you practice these steps. It could take some practice before you consistently get perfect results, but the time you may spend doing that is worth it!