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Clear stamps make it fun and easy to make handmade cards that will touch the hearts of the people you love, to highlight the photos in your scrapbook, 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. Whether you a beginning stamper or experienced paper crafter who wants to take their stamping to the next level, this tutorial will help you learn how to make the most of your clear stamps.
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.
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.
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 stamp on the 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.
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.
There are many different kinds of ink. In another tutorial, we'll explain how to choose the best ink for your project.
Tip: Consider stamping on a scrap first. Before stamping on your actual project, consider stamping on a piece of scratch paper or even better, on a scrap of your project material. This is especially important if you are using a stamp for the first time. It lets you make sure there aren’t fibers left on the stamp from the last time you cleaned them. You should also be aware that ink can look very different on different types of paper, colors of paper, or other project surfaces. By stamping on a piece of your actual project material first, you can make sure you are getting good ink coverage and everything is working the way you want.
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.
The easiest way to clean your stamps and block is with a stamp scrubber and a cleaner specifically designed for stamps. In another tutorial, we show several other ways to clean your stamps and blocks.
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