There are 3 things that you have to get right when making a good stamped impression: Stamps, Ink and Paper.
When a stamp set is new, you may need to condition the rubber. This will remove any residue left from the manufacturing process, and prepare the rubber to accept the ink evenly.
Here is a stamped impression of a stamp before it has been conditioned:
This is the same stamp after conditioning:
There are a few ways to condition your stamps. I start off by simply giving the stamp a good clean on my Stampin' Scrub, with a good spray of Stampin' Mist. The mist will clean and condition the rubber. Often a couple of good scrubs is all it needs for it to stamp perfectly.
If the image is still patchy, here are some other things you can try:
- Stazon Cleaner. Leave it on for a few seconds and then wipe off.
- An old pair of jeans. Just rub the stamp on your leg while you're wearing them. Yes, really!
- An eraser. Rub the stamp all over.
- Adhesive Remover. This will remove any tacky residue.
- Sanding Block. Don't be afraid to give the rubber a light sand. You won't harm it!
I prefer to use dye ink for bold stamps. It will soak in to the paper and leave a nice, even image. Dye inkpads also have a firm surface, rather than a spongy one, which makes it easier to ink up stamps evenly. The other benefit they have is that they dry quickly = no smudging!
To ink a bold stamp, "smoosh" the stamp into the inkpad (that's the technical word for it, meaning twist it from side to side LOL), and then tap, tap, tap onto the inkpad to make the ink even. Stamp onto your paper, pressing firmly, and don't lift the stamp up straight away. Leave it to soak in for a few seconds.
This one is really important. You can condition your stamps 'til the cows come home, but if you aren't stamping on to good quality paper, you might as well not bother. I use Stampin' Up! Whisper White and Very Vanilla for stamping bold stamps. It is ultrasmooth, and quite simply, it has been designed for stamping on.
Here's a side-by-side comparison:
On the left is ordinary white cardboard from a stationer, and on the right is Whisper White.
A few other tips:
Make sure you are stamping on a solid table or bench (if you are using a trestle table, stamp at the end where the legs are, rather than the middle, where it can bend.) I stamp on a pad of Stampin' Up! grid paper. Not only do the lines help me line things up straight, but the pad provides some cushion, which also helps to make an even stamped impression.