Today let's discuss some tips for proper stamping. There is general rule and etiquette book when it comes to stamping.
First up: Different types of stamps
There are three main types of stamps that you can buy: 1. classic wooden mounted rubber stamps, 2. cling or clear stamps, 3. photopolymer clear stamps. Each of these types of stamps have their own uses and challenges.
Classic wooden stamps come either premounted (bought in a store) or unassembled (Stampin' Up). If they are unassembled, you need to mount the rubber stamp to the wooden block and adhere the picture on the other side. Pretty simple. I love wooden stamps for their ease of use. They are also nice for people with unsteady hands. The wooden block is nice and sturdy and gives you a good grip. Wood stamps are also nice for the ease of use. Once they are mounted, they are always ready to go. I see two major cons with wooden stamps: bulky storage and not being able to easily see where I'm stamping the image.
Cling or clear stamps aren't truly clear. They are usually made of the same rubber that that wooden stamps are. The difference is that they come unmounted. To use, you must have clear mounting blocks. You temporarily adhere the stamp to the clear block. Usually they "cling" on their own. However, I have a few stamp sets that don't like to stick to the clear blocks. For those, I usually put a small piece of Snail adhesive to the block and then adhere. Your stamps can get a little sticky, but it works. The main advantage of cling or clear stamps is that you can more accurately see where you are stamping the image. Plus, they are much less bulky for storage. Stampin' Up's clear stamps come in a standard size DVD case. I love the easy of storage! They are also usually cheaper than wood mounted stamps.
The third type of stamps are photopolymer stamps. These are truly clear stamps. They work the same way as cling stamps in that you need clear mounting blocks to use them. Photopolymer stamps truly adhere to the mounting block without any additional help. Being clear, it makes it very easy to layer various stamps or make patterned backgrounds. Storage is also a breeze. SU's photopolymer stamps also now come in a standard DVD case. For my non-SU clear stamps, I keep them in a tote bin, but I have seen many people create binders with page protectors. I might just have to work on that next. The biggest con with this type is that they can stain and yellow more easily than the others. The main rule of thumb is keep them out of sunlight.
Second: How to care for stamps
A general rule of thumb for keeping your stamps nice is to keep them out of the sunlight. Sunlight and heat will cause stamps to yellow (photopolymer) and crack (all stamps). A second suggestion is too always clean your stamps after usuage. This should prevent most staining (might have a little depending on brand and ink used) and kept the stamped images true to ink color. You can clean your stamps one of two ways: baby wipes or scrub pads. The baby wipe method is simply using a baby wipe to clean off the stamp. This is great for small stamp jobs or on-the-go stamping. If you are stamping a lot, you are going to go through a lot of baby wipes.
My preferred method is to use a stamp scrub pad. Stampin' Up sells this great pad in a nice hinged case. You also need to buy some stamp cleaning solution.
- Spray the solution onto the "wet" side (SU's has handy labels).
- Scrub the stamp on the wet side. (A few swipes should do)
- Scrub the stamp on the dry side.
- Repeat is necessary.
To clean the scrub pad, all you need to do is run is under water until water runs clear. Then air dry. I usually clean mine once every two weeks, but it all depends on how much you stamp.
Third: How to stamp
Stamping is easy, but can be tricky for first-timers. A good rule of thumb is to put the least amount of pressure on the stamp when pressing into an ink pad and the paper. Stampin' Up's new firm foam ink pads can be very juicy, but are awesome. All you need is a quick tap-tap of stamp to pad to get the stamp fully inked. You can also check by stamping onto scratch paper. To stamp, press stamp to paper firmly by without moving it around. Lift straight up quickly. Following these instructions should give you clear images. If you put too much pressure on the stamp to the ink pad, you will likely get ink all around your image. This can smudge the image or leave extra lines when stamping. On a wood block, if can leave ink stains. Putting too much pressure on the stamp to paper can also smudge your image. Try it a few times. You'll get the hang of it pretty quickly.