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Clear stamps make it fun and easy to highlight the photos in your scrapbook, to make handmade greeting cards that will touch the hearts of the people you love, and to create one-of-a-kind items to give as gifts or use to decorate your home. Using clear stamps, you can choose the color combinations that are right for your project and create unique design elements that reflect your own style. Here is how to get started.
Choose a good work surface. Start by choosing a work surface that is smooth, sturdy, and flat. If your work surface flexes when you press down, or if it is textured, your stamped image may be incomplete or blurry. To protect your work surface, consider covering it with a single layer of thin scratch paper. The scratch paper will protect your work surface and provides a place for you to experiment or practice with stamps and inks.
Place the clear stamps on the clear block. Use a gentle rolling and pulling motion to remove the stamps from the storage sheet. Although clear stamps are strong, if you pull them off too fast or use too much force, you might tear the stamps.
Next, choose a clear block that is sized for the stamps you want to use. It works best to select a clear block that is slightly larger than the stamps that you are going to be using. If you use a block that is smaller than the stamps, you will get an uneven impression where the stamps are not supported by the block. If the block is a lot larger than the stamps, you may get ink on the block, which could end up in the wrong place on your project. Also if the stamps are on a much larger block, it is easy to tip or rock when you press down which will make a blurry stamped image.
Place the clean, dry, clear stamps on a clear block. The slightly broader smooth side of the stamps should be against the clear block. The broader back-side of a high-quality clear stamp provides all the surface tension that is needed to cling to the clear block.
Apply ink. Some people apply ink by patting the stamp down onto the ink pad. This inking method works for very small stamps that are less than ½ inch in diameter. However, for most stamps, the best way to apply ink is to place your clear block down flat on your work surface with the stamp side up. Then tap your ink pad down directly onto the surface of your stamp. Use firm and even tapping pressure. Consider tapping first in one direction and then the other to get a uniform coating of ink on your stamp.
Consider stamping on scratch paper. Before stamping on your actual project, consider stamping on a piece of scratch paper or on a scrap of your project material. This is especially important if you are using a stamp for the first time. It also lets you make sure there aren’t fibers left on the stamp from the last time you cleaned them. Also, ink can look very different on different types of paper, colors of paper, or other project surfaces. By stamping on scratch material first, you can make sure that you are getting good ink coverage and that everything is working the way that you want.
Now for the fun part, you are ready to stamp. Once you start using clear stamps, you will see that the advantages are — well... clear. You can see straight through the stamps and clear block to your project. Both beginning scrapbookers and seasoned stamp artists can tell when the stamp is in the right position.
When you stamp, use firm, even pressure. Don’t rock or twist the stamp. Please also be aware that if you are using a large stamp or you have placed several smaller stamps on a larger clear block, you will need to apply more pressure.
Solving common stamping problems. Once you have stamped the image, take a look at the results. If you like what you see, great! If the image is a incomplete or a little blurry, there's help. See the Fixing Common Stamping Problems section of our website!
Clean your stamps and blocks. When you are done stamping, clean the stamps and the clear block. Then peel the stamps off the clear block and return them to their storage sheet. To learn several different ways of cleaning your clear stamps, check out the Cleaning Your Stamps tutorial!
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