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Thursday 29 October 2009


This is the first of several stamping tutorials. As its such a large topic they will be coming over the following weeks. I have started with the very basics so that somebody who has never stamped should be able to understand where to start.

Further tutorials will be coming to cover heat embossing, brayering, masking, digital stamping and further tricks and tips. If you have any questions or anything you'd like to see then please email me and I'll do my best to help!


If you're relatively new to cardmaking chances are you will have come across stamping, its in all the mainstream magazines and most craft shops will stock them. If you are anything like me and rushed out and bought a couple of stamps you liked the look of then great! Next thing is what do you stamp WITH?

Firstly we'll take a look at the type of stamps available.


Your stamp will probably be one of these;

1. Wood mounted

A rubber image is mounted on a piece of wood which usually has a picture on the other side of the stamp. This type of stamp you just ink up and stamp! It has its own cushionning so you should get a clear crisp image.

2. Unmounted rubber

These are usually red, blue or grey in colour and just contain the image that you stick to an acrylic block. You buy them singularly or on sheets which you cut out the images yourself (leaving a small border around) As they have no cushionning you may need to put extra card or an old mouse mat underneath your cardstock to get a clear image.

3. Clear Polymer

This is the same as an unmounted except the rubber is polymer and you can see right through it to the other side which allows for more precise stamping. You buy these singular or on a sheet and they usually have a backing sheet of clear acetate on. You need to peel the stamp off the backing and then transfer to an acrylic block. It will cling by itself so no need for glue. As the polymer is much softer than rubber it doesnt usually need any cushionning.

4. Ezmounted stamp

These are the same as unmounted except it has a layer of cushioning (see pic below) which clings to an acrylic block so no need for glue. The cushioning allows for more even pressure to be applied making stamping more crisp and even. You can buy A4 sheets of ezmount and add your unmounted stamps so no need for glue anymore!

5. Digital

These are relatively new on the scene but very very popular and are computer printouts you buy either over the internet or on disc. The advantage of these is that they can be editted and resized, they are inexpensive and will be in your inbox almost instantly which satisfies the impulse buyer like myself :)

All you need is your printer and MS Word or similar if you wish to resize etc. Places to find them include Dewdrop Digiz, Victoria Case, Mo Manning and Squigglefly

There will also be a full tutorial on using digital stamps coming soon.


This area is even more mind boggling than stamps! The trick is choosing the right ink for the type of stamp & colouring medium* you have. Inkpads come in every colour of the sun but are made from different types of ink namely these;

1. Pigment Ink
This is a thick opaque ink that needs heating and/or embossing for it to dry. It is not suitable as a general purpose ink as it requires the use of a heat gun to set. It is intended for heat embossing. Brand names include versa color. Suitable for all types of stamp.

2. Water based dye ink
These are a very popular choice and it will depend on your colouring medium which brand is the most suitable for your work. They dry quickly without heat setting and can be used on most surfaces depending on the brand. You can also watercolour with dye inkpads, just tap a pad onto a piece of acetate and use a wet brush to pick colour up! Brand names include Memento, Adirondack, distress ink, Memories. Suitable for all types of stamp however can appear patchy on polymer stamps depending on brand (Memento is fine)

3. Alcohol based dye ink
These are very fast drying inkpads suitable for most surfaces including non porous like dominoes. They are a very popular choice for people using watercolours as they do not bleed. They cannot be used with alcohol based markers such as promarkers and copics as the alcohol reacts with each other. Brand names include stazon. Not suitable for polymer stamps as they degrade the polymer and it will eventually fall apart (Trust me I know lol lol!)
These types of inks require a special cleaning solution to get them off the stamp.

4. Hybrid ink
These are inkpads that are useful for certain types of project. They're a pigment inkpad so are opaque but dry like dye ink so do not require heat setting on porous surfaces like card. They do require heat setting on porous surfaces like glass, metal and clay. Brands include Palette hybrid. Suitable for all types of stamp.

5. Fast drying pigment
These are also very popular inkpads as they have the opaqueness of the pigment ink but again do not require heat setting and can be used on a variety of surfaces such as acetate, card, dominioes etc. Brands include versamagic, chalk ink, brilliance and heritage shimmer. Suitable for all types of stamp.

6. Watermark inkpad
This is a clear (now also available in sparkly!) inkpad used to create watermark effects on your work or for brushing powders such as chalks, eyeshadows and mica powders over. People also use it to stamp images as it will not dry unless heat set or powdered so stays wetter for much longer allowing you to emboss using embossing powders. As its clear it will not affect the colour of coloured embossing powder. Its a very useful inkpad and definaely one for the stash box! Brands include Versamark.

*Colouring medium is what you intend to colour the images in with such as watercolours, alcohol based markers, chalks, pencils, paints etc

These are literally hundreds of brands and types of inkpad available, where do you start? You now know which type you need for your stamp so which brand you choose will now depend on your colouring medium.

*A good all rounder that you can watercolour with and use alcohol based markers (promarkers/copics) on is Memento. This is extremely popular with cardmakers at present.

*If you intend to heat emboss using embossing powders and a heatgun (or toaster!) then versamark is best if using coloured embossing powders or versacolor if using clear embossing powder.

*If you want to stamp on non porous surfaces such as acetate or dominoes then look at stazon or brilliance inks.

*If you see a coloured image you like then please do ask the maker what they have used, blogland is very friendly and most people are happy to help a fellow crafter to make the right choices.

STAMPING TIPS (Please email me if you have a tip to add!)

*Stand up when you stamp as this creates more of an even pressure than when you are sitting.

*Buy a small brayer which is an ink roller to transfer ink onto the surface of large stamps so that the ink is distributed more evenly.

*If you are heat embossing, rub over the card with an anti static pad, stamp then put on your embossing powder. This reduces any stray flecks of powder sticking to the card. Any stray flecks can be flicked off with a small paintbrush.
If you don't have an anti static pad, they are basically little bags filled with talc so just use the end of a pair of tights, pour some talc in and tie a knot :)

*Wash your hands before heat embossing, this also reduces the risk of stray flecks sticking in places they shouldn't. This is particularly important if embossing on a coated cardstock such as pearlescent. You wont believe how many fingermarks you leave on card which powder such as chalks and embossing powder clings to! Washing your hands takes away the oils that the powder clings to.

*If your polymer stamp seems to spread out when stamped you might be pressing too hard. Polymer is much softer than rubber so doesn't need as much pressure to get a clear image. If the image appears patchy then it might be the ink, waterbased dye inks are translucent and thin so don't tend to stick onto the surface of polymer very well wit the exception of a few brands such as memento. Thicker inks work well with polymer such as pigments, fast dry pigments and hybrids.

*Clean your stamps with alcohol free baby wipes. If you have used stazon ink you will need a special cleaner (Stazon cleaner)

1 comment:

  1. Thanks sooo much for this. I am relatively new to stamping and am learning all the time! Thanks soo much xxx


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