by Beccy Muir | 3 minutes, 12 seconds read
Stamping is a fantastic way to add interest to your papercraft projects, whether it’s a scrapbook layout you’re creating or a fun birthday card for a dear friend. Stamps can form the focal point of your project or add a decorative element to support other parts of the overall design. A quick walk around your favourite Papercraft Fair or Craft Show will soon reveal just how many awesome designs there are, not to mention all the coloured inks, pencils, markers, and stamps pads that are also available.
Here are some useful tips to help improve your stamping:
- Solid Surface
For the best results from your stamps, ensure that you are working on a solid surface. Many crafters use plastic, fold-out tables, which are great for extra space, but simply have too much flex to be useful for stamping. The flex allows movement in the surface we’re stamping on, letting it bend away from the surface of the stamp. Opt for a sturdy wooden table, desk, or even the kitchen bench. If you have no other option, place a wood or glass cutting board under your work area to provide more support.
- Clear Surface
This is a super simple tip that will give instant results with next to no effort – clear your work surface before you stamp. Any items under the card stock you’re planning to stamp on will have an effect on your stamped image, including paper. A clean and clear image depends on having a completely flat surface on which to imprint. Even minor lumps and bumps can prevent nice crisp images from being achieved, so keep your work area clear while you’re creating.
- Good Quality Products
Not all stamps are created equal. Photopolymer is a substance that is designed for ink transfer and will therefore give you a better stamped image without the mottling that can occur with vinyl or acrylic stamps. They tend to be more expensive, but are more durable and give better results.
Similarly, ink pads vary from brand to brand, with significant differences in the opaqueness of the ink, consistency, and colour fastness. Always purchase the best quality products you can afford, and if you’re unsure, talk to one of the stall holders next time you’re at a craft event.
- Even Pressure
Many stampers make the mistake of adding a lot of pressure to their stamp when crafting. This will cause the stamp to “squish,” often giving a shadow impression or halo around the edge of the image.
Conversely, not adding enough pressure to the stamp will result in some areas not printing at all. Finding that goldilocks zone is really a matter of trial and error, with variations occurring between products and surfaces.
Investing in a stamping platform is a great way to overcome this issue. Stamping platforms allow you to restamp an image numerous times without causing a shadow or smudge.
- Clean and Prime
Give your new stamps a good clean with warm, soapy water before stamping for the first time. This helps to remove any dirt and oil from the manufacturing process. Loading your stamp with some clear versa mark ink and stamping it off onto some scrap paper is a great way to get it primed for its first use. This step is also helpful if you find the ink is beading or the impression has gaps.
- Give it Time
When making an impression with your stamp, allow it to contact the paper for 3 to 5 seconds, longer for rough or textured paper. This gives the ink time to transfer and absorb into the fibres of the paper.
As with all things, practice makes perfect, so get in there and play with your stamps and inks. Test out different paper and ink combinations to see how they react together; you might be surprised at the results. Happy Stamping!