Saturday, February 20, 2021

How to Get Started with your Stamps, Clear Blocks and Ink Pads

Did you ever play with rubber stamps when you were a child? I did. I had an alphabet set to make words with. There were also those little small round stamps that had a lid the stamp sat in that were self-inking somehow. That was always magical to me, how it kept stamping no matter what. My parents had a little return address stamp that also self inked in it's little rectangular holder. When I was teaching, the PTA gave every teacher their own self-inking signature stamp. That was a handy gift. It's no wonder I love stamps so much to create beautiful cards and projects with nowadays. They have been part of my life forever!

Q: What are stamps like today?

A:  Rubber Stamps used to come only one way - red rubber mounted on a wood block. Those types can still be had via Ebay and Etsy. But stamps have improved so much over the last 10 years. Stampin' Up! now only sells two kinds (except for background stamps can still purchased on wood blocks).  Red Rubber stamps are now called "Cling" because of how great their stamp labels stick to the Clear Stamping Blocks and Photopolymer (a see-through plastic) that also sticks well to the Clear Stamping Blocks.

The biggest reason wood stamps have fallen out of favor is they were very difficult to know exactly where you were stamping without the assistance of extra tools. (Ever heard of a Stamp-a-ma-Jig?) But now you can see so much better where your images are going, thanks to clear blocks and better stamps.


Q: How do I attach the cling stamp labels to the red rubber/foam cushion portion?

A: You need to watch my five minute video on how to mount your cling labels on your stamps perfectly. 


Q: Is there more I should know about the two types of stamps?

A: Yes, this next 2 minute video shows you more things to know.


Q:  How do I know which size clear block to place my stamp on?

A: This two minute video shows how to choose the right sized clear stamp block.
  

Q: How do you open these strange looking ink cases?

A: Watch this two minute video to help you learn how to open the ink pad cases.

One thing that I forgot to mention on the video was the reason the ink case design is the way it is, is so the ink will stay on the top of the foam pad and be ready for use. 


Q: How do I stamp the actual image on the cardstock?

A: THIS IS SERIOUSLY THE MOST IMPORTANT TIP OF THIS ENTIRE POST!!! 

(I don't know about you, but as a child playing with my alphabet stamps and the black cloth ink pad in its metal case, I would smash the stamp into the ink pad so hard the edges of the wood block would be stained permanently.)

This is NOT how you use the Stampin' Up! foam ink pads. If you follow my recommendation below you will save yourself time, aggravation, stamp halos on your cardstock, and inky fingers.

To get a clean stamped image every time, do a light TAP, TAP, TAP moving the stamp around on the foam pad with each tap. Then turn the stamp over to look at the amount of ink on the stamp. If it is completely, evenly covered, then place your stamp down on the cardstock where you want it to go. Press straight down solidly without any rocking/tipping movement. Count 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, then lift up your stamp and block. 99.9% of the time you will have a CRISP AND CLEANLY STAMPED IMAGE.

If for some reason you don't have that result, remember your cardstock has two sides, just flip it over and try again. Practice makes perfect!

Alright the time has arrived! You are have cut your cardstock and scored the fold, so you are ready to make your first card with stamps, paper, and ink. Have fun!

Q: How do I clean my stamp after I've used it?

A: You always need to clean your stamp after each time you use it. You have two choices available from Stampin' Up!.  The Simply Shammy is gaining favor because it is so portable and you only need this one tool to clean your stamp. (Don't use it with Stazon Ink, there's a special cleaner for that!)


Or the method I've been using most of my stamping career is the Stampin' Scrub and the Stampin' Mist. This combo works well too. After you have cleaned a lot of stamps on your Scrub, you can rinse the Scrub under warm water and watch all the ink and mist go down the drain. Just let it air dry overnight.


After you have cleaned your stamps, put them away in the stamp case so you won't misplace any. Wipe off and store your clear blocks with a terry washcloth or kleenex for next time!

Finally, an artist always signs their masterpiece and you should too! So sign the back of your card and put the year made.

TA-DA! You've made your first card! Congratulations!

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Thanks for taking the time to watch and read all my tips to cardmaking success! If you practice these tips over and over you will be consistently making great stamped cards in no time!


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