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Thursday, 22 March 2018

Stamping 101: How to Get Started with Stamping

Hi friends!

Preeti Datta (aka Dutt Preety) here. Hope you are having a great week so far.

For today's post, we will discuss Stamping. How to get started with it? Many times, we feel lost because there are a myriad of options available in the market today. There are literally hundreds of stamp companies in the world, so many types of inks, tools & accessories. It can really be very confusing and also overwhelming for most of us, especially when we are just getting started. For example, when I started, I bought tons of supplies from all over the place and till now I really have not used most of those supplies. Why? because as I started crafting, I discovered the stuff I actually needed and wanted, so then I bought that. Today's post will deal with the very basics. Stamping is a huge field and it would be very difficult to condense it into a blog post. Hence,  we will touch upon some of the important aspects especially for beginners. Before we get into the technical details, let me share some general pointers/suggestions. 

1. Stamping can be a beautiful, very addictive & fulfilling hobby.

2. Sample, Try, Test, Experiment- Because there are tons of options available & loads of information out there. One person says X ink is better and then another says Y ink is better and then a company releases a brand new groundbreaking Z ink, so, you are left wondering, what to do ? what to buy? the thing to do is to get a few things first as samples & try for yourself. Our crafting needs are different, choices, likes, dislikes, budgets, strengths & weaknesses are different. So for the smaller stuff (unlike big things like die cutting machines etc which are a one time investment) try it for yourself and when you like it, buy more. This way you will enjoy the process of discovery and learn to trust your own judgment rather than relying solely on the advice of others (although it is always good to do research by watching videos & asking friends and other crafters for their opinion). For example: when Distress Oxides were introduced last year, I bought 1 inkpad first (in a shade of blue), tried it out, tested it, experimented and since I loved it, I bought quite a few along with their reinkers

3. Love at first sight- When you see stamps, believe me, there are hundreds of options released every month by the hundreds of companies, so your eyes are going to be bombarded with seriously awesome designs. And everyone, no matter how rich, has a finite budget. So my suggestion is to go for the ones that you really love (like when you see it, your heart goes pitter patter, the design really speaks to you & you adore it) and those which you feel you can use again and again for multiple occasions so they have versatility. For example, floral stamps are such neutral designs that you can use them for every occasion, when paired with the right sentiment

4. Go for higher quality- When stamps/inks/papers are of good quality, it really makes life much easier. There are ofcourse cheaper options available and there are ways to make them work for you. But most of the time, it is just so much easier to get a clean, crisp image when you use high quality stuff. Even if you are able to afford 1-2 to start with, it is perfectly okay. You can do tons with limited supplies. It takes time to build your collection. 

5. Go for the basics first- It is important to invest in the basics first. So having 2-3 good black inks (for different purposes), good quality paper, a few acrylic blocks and a stamp positioning tool are all worth investing in. Stamps you will pick up slowly as the months go by.

Now let's discuss a little about some of the very basics of stamping. 

Stamps
The Three Major Types of Stamps are:

1. Clear Stamps- These can be photopolymer or silicone. Most high quality ones are photopolymer clear stamps (most popular kind). They are called clear stamps since you can see through them. It is much easier to work with them because you can clearly see where you are stamping (since they are transparent). They have a sticky back and can be used again and again. They are packed stuck on a plastic backing sheet & you can gently remove them from the sheet, affix them on an acrylic block, ink them and stamp on paper. Then they can be wiped clean with an old, soft cotton cloth or Lawn Fawn's Stamp shammy doused with a stamp cleaning solution and stuck back onto the plastic sheet.

Here are some examples of popular clear stamps:
(simply click on the images to explore/shop)

        

    
2. Rubber Stamps- These are made of rubber and they can be unmounted, cling or wood mounted. These are the oldest types of stamps which have been there for a long time & are still very popular among Mix Media Artists and stampers. The mood mounted ones are ready to use as they are already mounted on a wooden block, all you have to do is ink them and stamp. These can be difficult to store but one can often find these at a good bargain price. The cling mounted ones have to be affixed to an acrylic block, inked and then stamped with. Lastly, the unmounted ones which are often cheaper, have to be cling mounted by the user by using products like EZmount Cling Mounting Cushion on their backs.

 Examples of Unmounted Rubber Stamps: 
(simply click on the images to explore/shop)

 

 Examples of Cling Stamps: 

 Examples of Wood Mounted Rubber Stamps:
 

3. Foam Stamps- These are made of foam and are light weight. Mostly used in children's crafts. It is fun to use them with paints. Usually the images aren't too detailed & tend to be solid figures. Moldable Foam Stamps are a special type of foam stamp. Moldable foam creates instant stamps from any textured surface! Use it over and over – the molded image “melts away" when reheated.

Step 1 : Heat Magic Stamp with heat tool
Step 2: Press against any cool textured surface for 15 – 20 seconds
Step 3: Ink with any inkpad and stamp

Examples of foam stamps: 
(simply click on the images to explore/shop)

Acrylic Blocks

These are of different shapes and sizes. Every stamper needs a few of these even if one has a stamp positioning tool. Personally, I prefer the ones which have rounded grips as it is easier to hold them in one's hand. Having a grid etched into the block is also a useful feature as it helps in aligning the stamps while stamping. The weight of the acrylic block can also be important. I find the lighter ones easier to handle as they don't put undue pressure on my hand. Dress My Craft has a good range of acrylic blocks which have the grid and easy rounded grip provided, so I would highly recommend you to check these out. They are available in various sizes and shapes. I really like the 2 sets of DMC acrylic blocks on offer (pictures shown below), they have almost all the sizes that are regularly required for stamping.

Dress My Craft Acrylic Block Sets:
(Please click on the photos to explore/shop)
        
Further, there is also the option available to get an Acrylic Applicator with Handle or an Easy Stamp Press in addition to the acrylic blocks. But for a newbie, it is best to start with the acrylic blocks and then later, explore further.

Stamp Positioning Tools

Stamp positioning tools are very helpful because they help fix our mistakes. So for example, if on stamping once you do not get a good impression because perhaps a part of the image wasn't inked properly, then, you can stamp multiple times on the same spot until you get a crisp image. They allow for repeated stamping. These help in positioning the stamp in the desired spot. So I can keep changing the position of the stamp until I am happy with the placement and then finally ink it & stamp. These are also useful for layering stamps like the Peony Bouquet Stamp or the Budding Thanks Stamp by Altenew in which multiple layers need to be stamped to get a realistic looking image. Another useful feature of these stamp positioning tools is that they make bulk stamping much faster & easier. The same card design can be created multiple times with convenience. 

Two popular stamp positioning tools are:

1. MISTI (Most Incredible Stamp Tool Invented- By My Sweet Petunia)


This is available in 3 sizes: Mini, Original & Memory (mega size) 



Inks 

There are multiple types of inks and each has a different chemical composition, purpose & use. "Dye, Pigment, Chalk, Hybrid, Specialty Inks like Staz On which is solvent based." Thinking too much about the technicalities of these inks and the theory can sometimes be overwhelming. It is always better to buy a couple of them (the basics), start using and learn as you go. I will mention some of the inks which I feel are a must have for beginners. To start with one needs 2-3 black inks, as most of the time, stampers use these. It is good to get the re-inkers with the inkpads as well, specially, if you want to stamp a lot. 

(Please click the photos to explore/shop)
   
Archival ink is permanent once it dries so it can be used in Mixed Media Techniques in which many mediums/water may be used.


   
Versafine ink is waterproof and is very good to use while watercoloring. Also, it captures the intricate details of the stamps very well and is great for stamping sentiments.

        

Memento is a great dye based ink which is very useful when coloring with alcohol markers like Copics, Spectrum Noir or Altenew

Besides these, all stampers require a few Distress inks and Distress Oxides.

Distress Inks


Distress Inks are water reactive and there are multiple stamping techniques one can do with them. There are 61 colors to choose from. These help give an aged look to projects. They can be used for watercoloring & ink blending to create wonderful backgrounds. They are available in full sized ink pads or as mini cubes. The mini cubes are also available in Mini Ink Kits with 4 colors, these kits are more economical. Also, the distress ink re-inkers are a great addition to one's stash because they are a very concentrated form of the color and besides re-inking the inkpads, these can be used for many techniques. 

Distress Oxides

    

Distress Oxides are a special hybrid ink which can be used for stamping, ink blending to create backgrounds (they blend beautifully as they stay wet longer), they give great oxidization effects when they react with water & can be used for watercoloring besides many other techniques. These are available in full sized inkpads of 36 colors. Distress Oxide re-inkers are a useful resource since they can be used for coloring & other techniques 

Also, Altenew has beautiful inks for colored stamping- These dye based inks come as full sized inkpads, mini cubes or in kits of 4 each. They sell coordinating color sets, so if I want 4 shades of grey for an ombre effect, I do not have to hunt for them. I can just buy the kit. 

   
Memento's Dye Inks also come in small dew drop inkpads and in sets of 12. It is a great & affordable way to add some colors to one's ink collection. 

Some other brands of ink to look into are Catherine Pooler Inks, Lawn Fawn Inks & MFT's hybrid inks 

Paper

The type of paper used can often determine (to a large extent) the quality of stamping. It is best to try out a few samples and see what works best for you. Since it is the product which is used the most, you have to find one for yourself, that fits comfortably in your budget, as you will need it again and again. There are many specialty papers in the market like Ranger's Specialty Stamping Paper which are specially made for stamping, ink blending etc. Dress My Craft's Floral Exotica & Floral Oriental  collections of cardstock work well with most stamping. 

A Few Concluding Tips For Stamping:

1. Try not to rock the stamp or acrylic block back and forth, it is best to apply firm even pressure while stamping down but not too much else one gets blurry images. 
2. It is easier to ink the stamp properly by bringing the inkpad on top of the mounted stamp & then inking it rather than smooshing the stamp onto the inkpad.
3. When you stamp down onto the cardstock, give it a few seconds for the ink to transfer before lifting the block away
4. New stamps need to be conditioned before they are used for stamping, using a regular eraser to rub off any impurities & then wiping it off with a cotton cloth/stamp shammy prepares the stamp for stamping
5. If a stamp is not giving a fully stamped image, applying sticky versamark ink onto the stamp and then inking with the intended inkpad can often lead to crisper images
6. If the stickiness of a clear stamp is lost after a few uses, gently washing it with water (or mild soapy water) to remove the dirt can help bring the stickiness back
7. Avoid using paper tissues for stamp cleaning as they leave small bits on the stamp. Using a stamp shammy moistened with a little water or a stamp cleaning solution works best. 

That's all for today. As always, we love to see your gorgeous creations using supplies from the Crafters Corner store, so please do share them with us in our Facebook Group- Crafters Corner Showcase using the apt hashtags #craftwithcrafterscorner #dressmycraft #crafterscornerindia, on Twitter and/or on Instagram.

Hope you have a pleasant week ahead!
Thanks a lot for your precious time :)
Stay Blessed!

20 comments:

  1. Wonderful information...
    One type of Best Tutorial 🌷
    Thanks

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  2. well explained preeti, this will be the bible for any beginners.

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  3. Lovely.....di very nicely explained all the points..and tht to in complete detail....this post will be surely very helpful for every1

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  4. Very well explained post Preeti. Loved reading it! Thanks for sharing.

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  5. So very well explained Preeti ! Its very much needed as crafting supplies are often costly and better to invest in what we need.

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  6. Very useful information...thanks Preeti,..

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    Replies
    1. Glad you liked it. Thanks a lot Sindhu :) xoxo

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  7. All the information in one place. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Very good info...thanks for sharing

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