Stamping Tips

 

If you have any great tips that might save your fellow stampers a headache, please let me know. These are just some of the great ideas I've either learned the hard way, or had the luck of learning from other stampers. Thank you!

 

Embossing

Mix a one to one ratio of Kool-Aid and embossing powder. Stamp with embossing ink; add the mixed powder and heat. After it has cooled down, you can scratch and sniff it.

Shake your embossing powder jars before using! If they contain glitter it will settle and you won't get an even coat on your embossed image. I used to think that the glitter ep's just didn't work very well! Now I know better!

Use a small damp paintbrush to wipe off stray embossing powder before heating. There are some great watercolor paintbrushes that are wide and thin. I love mine! 

Be sure to let your heat gun heat up before aiming it at your project. This should only take 10 seconds or so, depending on your gun...Hold the gun far enough away from the paper to prevent burning or warping..

When embossing on transparencies, swipe first with a fabric softener to prevent static and clinging stray powder...

Line a clip board with aluminum foil. Then put your image to emboss under the clip portion to hold it steady. The foil will bounce the heat back to the image from the backside and emboss faster and more evenly...

Glycerin can be used as embossing ink. Its pretty thick so you'll need to mix it with water to get the right consistency. I use one part glycerin to two parts water...Pour it into a sponge applicator like the post office uses for stamps or just apply with a makeup sponge. You can also dilute it to half glycerin and half water and use it in a spray bottle to cover an entire card or mask portions before spraying and embossing...

 

Coloring

Blend, blend, blend! Use a light touch with your colored pencils at first and gradually add different colors until you get the color you like. Remember to blend, blend, blend. It's the key to realistic images. I sometimes use Kleenex with lotion in it to blend the colors together. Since its pollen season, I usually have the Kleenex near me anyway. Continue to slowly shade and watch your image come to life.

Store your markers horizontally for longer life.

I've looked at the fancy pencil sets in the arts & crafts stores and had to walk away due to the price. Instead, I purchased a set of 24 Crayola colored pencils at Wal-Mart for seven bucks and they've been great. Wal-Mart and similar discount stores might surprise you. And you don't have to feel guilty about using them up...

Storage

I adore decorative papers and keep them in a large three ring binder in protector sheets. I take my stamped image in hand and page through the binder until I find some matches I like. Paging through the book makes you hold up your image to papers you wouldn't normally match them with and sometimes the most unlikely matches speak to you. It's fun. It keeps your papers neat and unwrinkled too. Be sure to load the page protectors upside-down (or with the opening at the bottom) so the papers are easy to remove towards you...(Shaunna suggests labeling your page protectors with address labels and writing what's inside to prevent confusion between, say, clear shrink plastic and acetate)

Fishing equipment! Any of you stampers out there into fishing? I've found some of the greatest storage items for my stamps, etc. in tackle boxes. Don't pay hugely inflated prices for "rubber stamp storage boxes" when tackle boxes are equally as efficient and MUCH cheaper. Be sure to buy one with removable inserts so you can play around with different stamp sizes. Wal-Mart has some good ones. "Plano" company has a great model "9606" with many trays and removable dividers. Just do a search on yahoo for it. If that doesn't work, email me and I'll get the e-address for you. There are so many good ones out there...

Store your masking images with their adjacent stamp...

Store your dye ink pads upside down to keep the ink at the surface of the pad. Its also easier to stamp with them that way. Just grab the bottom of the pad, pat on overturned stamp and place back on the cover which is upside down on your work space. This is easier because you can do it with one hand...

Don't store your dye-based rainbow ink pads on their sides. The colors will run together. Store them upside down...

Store your pigment ink pads right side up and flat. Not upside down.

Stamping

Go to the wallpaper store and ask for old wallpaper books.  The sample pages are a great size and can be used in so many ways.  Some of the designs are great for backgrounds and some of the pictures can be cut out, mounted and put a card with a 3-D effect.  I also found books with textured paper---some of it paintable. ~Megan

When cutting masks, stamp one image on the top of a pad of sticky notes and then cut out several at one time (making sure you get as much of the "sticky" part incorporated into your mask to help hold it in place when stamping).  Keep the additional ones with your stamp for future use.  I keep my stamps in placon boxes so it's easy for me to keep the masks with them.  If you don't have the placon boxes, you can store your masks on a piece of plain copy paper and file them in a 3-ring binder.  The sticky on the post it note will keep them in place without adding more adhesive and you can fit several images on one page. -Shaunna

Be sure to clean permanent ink off your stamp immediately to prevent staining of the rubber... 

Use "Post-Its" for masking. They are sticky and thin so they work perfectly for masking...

When inking up your stamp with a dye-based rainbow pad, slowly move to the darker end when inking. This will keep the dark inks from mixing with the lighter ones...

When stamping an image you plan on working with a lot, be sure to stamp it on a whole sheet of paper. This will save you time because the next time you need it, you'll have it. All you'll have to do is color it in the way you want...

As far as cleaning your stamps, I've tried just about everything and have decided that baby wipes are the best for me. They are easiest (fastest) and the most gentle on your stamps...(no more splattering of inks from a stamp scrubber!) I do use a scrubber for drying sometimes, though...

 

Techniques

When doing a grid card, stamp your "focal" image in the center first, then put your division lines in around it so they frame it perfectly. This method looks very thought out and nice...

When cutting a mask image, be sure to cut just inside of the stamped image to eliminate any halo affect. This will ensure a clean adjacent image...

 

Miscellaneous

If you use "pop dots", cut them in half. They work just as well and go twice as far. Also, cut up the frame once all the pop dots are used up and use them as well. I used to think I could use fun foam just as easily but the pop dots have been working out very well instead and they're already cut into nice circles so they are easy to use and the perfect thickness. I love doing 3D stuff a LOT and they still seem to last a long time...

When drilling into dominos with your ceramic tile bit, keep a very cold mug of water nearby so you can dip the hot drill bit into it in between dominos. Drilling with a burning hot bit can be dangerous and will wreck the bit...I've also heard that dremel tools work great for this...

By all means, play your favorite music when stamping. Whatever type makes you happy. This always puts me into the right mind-set for creating and the white noise helps me to focus on what I am doing without distractions...

I LOVE my rubber stamps but money doesn't allow me the luxury of purchasing all the stamps I crave so I've come up with a temporary fix. Search the web for black and white "coloring page" images, download them and manipulate them to the size you want in your word processor, print them and enjoy...(Is this stamping sacrilege?) I've started a "Non-stamping" card gallery. Check it out for ideas...

Get your white (and some colored) card stock in bulk at Wal-Mart or your local discount store. It's much cheaper there. And always keep a watchful eye for neat papers from junk mail, etc. Recycling is a great excuse to stamp! Just doing your social duty, right?!

Keep a magnetized shopping list tablet (a small paper tablet with a magnet glued on the back) near your stamping area or with your magazines so it's easy to jot down your wanted items. I always think I'll remember what it is I need and then when I walk into the stamp store, my mind goes blank!

Use your shrink plastic to make cute embellishments. Just take a stamp from the ones you used on your card, and stamp on plastic and shrink (making sure to punch a hole with a small hole punch) so you'll be able to adhere it with ribbon, or embroidery thread...This really gives a thought out look...

Try not to use mirror paper in large pieces. It gets smudges and fingerprints terribly! I find it works much better as punch outs for shaker cards, and layers so just the edge is showing...

 

 

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