This post will be divided into two segments – in the first, we’ll talk about basic stamping techniques and the stamping I did on this card, using the Stampendous stamp set Pop Up Kitties:
The idea behind these “How To” posts is to create a basic guides for new learners, so the posts are broken down into step by step guides. So, in this post we’ll talk about the stamping I did on this card, and next week I’ll show you how to use the coordinating Pop Up Kitties Die Cut set.
Let’s take a minute to discuss the different types of stamps out there. There are three basic kinds – wood mounted rubber stamps, rubber cling stamps, and clear cling stamps. They each have advantages and drawbacks. The first stamps on the market were wood mounted rubber stamps, like the little monster on the right in the picture below:
These are the highest quality stamps, and thus the most expensive. They also have serious drawbacks in storage – once you begin to collect them, they become heavy and they take up a lot of space. They can also be a little difficult to use because the wood block acts more like a door than a window – you can’t really see what you’re doing. Practice and experience and a good positioning tool can help you overcome this drawback. The plus side for wood mounted stamps? They last the longest and you will get the best possible image using them. The carved rubber holds up to a lot of wear and tear – a lot more than the average stamper ever needs, and thus these are pretty much a life time purchase unless you seriously abuse your stamps.
The clear mounted stamps on the left are great because they’re pretty cheap (the set costs about as much as the one wood mounted stamp!), and you can see what you’re doing as you stamp, making placement of the images a lot easier. They’re also great much easier to store than the wood mounted rubber stamp. The drawbacks – they don’t hold up as well as rubber and the images are not quite as fine. The chemicals in stamping ink and stamp cleaner, the constant peeling and resticking of the stamps to the clear blocks, and even air make the stamps brittle over time and they will begin to curl and crack if not cared for properly. Because they are a soft, jelly like plastic, it’s very easy to squish and smear them, and the lines just aren’t as fine as carved rubber – take a look at the rubber image:
And now the clear image:
(I just realized I used two owl stamp sets in my example – a complete hoo-incidence!) If you look very, very carefully at the image from the clear stamp, you can see that the lines are a little thicker and there are some minor flaws here and there; that being said, when you actually look at the two together the differences aren’t really that tragic, and once you color them no one but you will know or care whether you used clear mounted or wood mounted:
Now, the rubber cling mounted set I used in this example kind of gives us the best of both worlds. These stamps are cheaper than wood mounted, easier to store, and mount on clear blocks while you’re stamping them, so you can see better than you can with wood mounted stamps. And, the stamping side is still the carved rubber, which gives you the improved image quality. You get a little bit of everything with the rubber cling mounted option!
To start this card, I gathered my supplies. There are really three basic things to consider when choosing materials and they all start with one question – what are you going to use to color your image? There are lots of options out there, ranging from colored pencil to watercolor to different types of markers. If you are using a water based product to stamp with, you need to make sure your stamp ink and paper won’t react poorly with water. If, as in this instance, you are using an alcohol based stamp ink, you choose materials that don’t react with alcohol. The good folks down at Everything Scrapbook and Stamps can definitely help you with that if you’re not sure. Now, I knew I would be using Copic markers to color my images, which are alcohol based, so I picked the following supplies:
First, Momento Ink by Tsukineko, which is a great ink for most mediums. It is a dye ink that, once dry, won’t react to most water based or alcohol based coloring mediums. It dries quickly and is useful on both porous and smooth surfaces. Speaking of smooth surfaces, that’s Copic paper in the background… a specially made paper that has a smooth texture for superior blending when using alcohol inks. The last thing I needed was a clear block to place my stamps on; well, it used to be clear…you can see this one is well loved 🙂
To begin, peel the cling stamp off of the clear storage film and place it directly onto the clear block.
Make sure the block is fairly clean because anything that is on it will interfere with the cling action of your stamp, and over time the stamp can actually lose it’s ability to cling. If this happens, it can sometimes be restored by rinsing the stamp in water and allowing it to air dry with the back facing up, but sometimes the cling surfaces get damaged beyond repair and lose their ability to cling completely, so take care of your stamps!
Next, you need to apply ink to your stamps. I think the best way for most beginning stampers is to actually place the block down on your desk surface and tap the ink onto the stamp. I’m going to steal a saying here from a lovely designer who brings much creativity and awesomeness to our store when she visits, Dyan Reaveley. Dyan always says to apply your ink to your stamp using fairy steps instead of elephant steps. In other words, don’t pound the ink into your stamp. Doing so will put too much ink on your stamp, causing a fuzzy or smeared image. It also puts ink on your block, ink on your hands, and extra ink on your paper where you don’t want it. Plus, it’s mean. Stop abusing those stamps!! Gentle tapping until the entire surface is covered is all you need:
Now turn the block over and press onto your paper with steady, even pressure:
A lot of people are tempted to stand and lean on their stamps, or rock them back and forth. Not only do you not need to do this, it’s another great way to mess up your image. First, make sure the surface you’re stamping on is actually flat and solid. If it has give, a lot of times little areas of the image don’t come out because of a flaw in the surface, not the stamp. If you can’t get a good image, try placing the paper on a rubber stamping surface mat. These will typically even out any problems you have with your stamping surface and provide much clearer images.
Voila! We have a stamped image. I stamped all the images I would need for my card, allowing my clear block to help me stamp images fairly close together to help save paper:
Next, I colored all my images. I generally choose colors based on the papers I’m using, so I had those already picked out:
These papers are from Authentique’s Devoted Collection, a fun new collection we got in at the store that’s dedicated to our pet friends:
Next week I’ll show you some tips to use the accompanying die cut set and I’ll finish assembling the card, so be sure to log back in and check it out!