Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Making a Good Impression: A Tutorial

One of the questions I often get asked is how to get bold rubber images to stamp clearly. It can really ruin the look of a card if the stamped image is patchy instead of crisp and clear. I love bold stamps for the striking and instant splash of colour they provide. They make a really quick card, since there's no need to go back and colour in.
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:

Marelle Taylor Stampin' Up! Australia This is the same stamp after conditioning:
Marelle Taylor Stampin' Up! AustraliaThere 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:
Marelle Taylor Stampin' Up! AustraliaOn 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.

I hope this Tutorial helps you all make a good impression with your bold stamps!
all images © 1990-2008 Stampin' Up!®


  1. Thanks for the great tips, Marelle!

    Mel Hanlon

  2. WOW Thanks for that Marelle! I was grumbling about a patchy image the other day,when using Headine Alphabet that I got off the retired list - first time used. Now I will go back and try again! I do use WW & VV but I think my stamps may need a little preclean, will try the grid paper underneath too. Thanks again! Love your work.

    Caroline C

  3. Once again, so well explained marelle. Can always rely on you for a great tutorial :) Just bought that Adhesive remover and have yet to use it. I love the image on the whisper white cardstock and will definately be putting that on my list of 'must haves'. :)

  4. I really likeyour blog! Great things are crafting here:-)
    Thanks so much for sharing.

  5. What a great tutorial. I am totally new to this whole stamping world and this was so informative on the essentials needed in making the stamped image just pop out. Your site is just beautiful - I will have to come here more often :) Best wishes!

  6. Thanks Marelle, everything you share with us is much appreciated and this is really helpful advice. Your work is always wonderful.

  7. Thanks Marelle for your ongoing sharing of really helpful info. You know I love your work too!

  8. Oh wow thanks for those tips. I thought I was going crazy, either that or I couldn't stamp properly! LOL Your blog is great and you are so creative! :0)

  9. I will definately try those tips out


  10. Hi Marelle,
    I will be glad to direct my blog readers to this post for a very helpful and informative tutorial.......I learned a whole heap myself too! Just letting you know that you have been tagged. Visit my blog for details.
    Hope you are having a fabulous weekend!

  11. Those tips were wonderful - I have quite a few solid stamps sets that are not being used due to the splotchy results but now with all your tips I will get heaps more use out of them.

  12. This is very helpful, thank you!

  13. Oh wow thanks for those tips. I thought I was going crazy, either that or I couldn't stamp properly! LOL Your blog is great and you are so creative! :0)

  14. Oh wow thanks for those tips. I thought I was going crazy, either that or I couldn't stamp properly! LOL Your blog is great and you are so creative! :0)



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