Today’s Teacher Lounge post is all about “Tips” for preparing, using and storing your clear stamps.
When I first started using clear acrylic (photopolymer) stamps, I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t get a clear stamped image. I thought maybe I didn’t have the right block or cushion, or the right pressure, or that I was just a “wood” girl and would never get the hang of it. And I got frustrated. But, I later found out that I needed to “season” – or condition – my clear stamps before I used them.
This is something I do with all my clear stamps before I use them, whether they need it or not. But I want to show you the difference. There are several ways to condition, or prepare your stamps. Some people use a fine sanding block, some use a pink pencil eraser, some use stamp cleaner prior to using. I have tried all three of those techniques and really don’t have a favorite – just depends on the day I guess! Some rubber stamps also need to be conditioned, and those seem to work best with the sanding block.
The ink that you use may also make a difference in your stamped image. Pigments inks tend to not show as much difference between unconditioned and conditioned stamps. Dye inks (which I use much more frequently) do show more of a difference. The same is true of your paper choice. Smoother cardstocks will produce a smoother image. You just need to experiment to find the look you like best. And it goes without saying (although I will say it!) that you need to be using a quality stamp. Stamp School stamps are made in the USA with the highest quality photopolymer.
Okay, let’s take a peek at two images. I made the lighting and everything the same with both photos, but of course, they look different as far as color. I tried! They really are exactly the same ink, cardstock and lighting! The first I stamped with Berrylicious ink on Sweet Tooth cardstock before conditioning, or “seasoning”:
And here is the same sentiment after seasoning:
The second is a lot clearer and ready to be added to my card:
My sentiment from To The Future is stamped on Sweet Tooth cardstock with Berrylicious ink – all from Stamp School. The sentiment is framed with Sno Cone felt – it cuts so beautifully! The card base is Hot Fudge with the main panel being Berrylicious. Don’t you just love those names?
There are several wonderful cleaners made especially for acrylic stamps. You can see all of the cleaners that Lisa carries at A Walk Down Memory Lane HERE. If you are losing the stickiness of your stamps, just clean your blocks and stamps with mild soap and water. I love baby shampoo for so many reasons, and that is one of them!
Take care when removing your stamps from the backing sheet and pull up slowly. A few years ago I was so excited to use a new set that I pulled up quickly and my reindeer had antlers no more! And on a brand new set!
Another tip – store your clear stamps in a light-free container, such as a shoe box. The light can affect the consistency of your photopolymer over time. And I want to be stamping with my Stamp School stamps for a looooong time!
Other: ribbon, corner rounder, distressing tool, embossing folder