The first of two posts for today.
I recently acquired some stamps from Inkylicious, a set called “Simply Trees.” Their website wasn’t terribly clear, and while some stamps were listed as “clear polymer stamps,” some were not described as rubber or clear, and I assumed that those not labelled “clear” would be cling-mount rubber stamps. When they arrived, they turned out to be clear. I am not normally a great fan of clear stamps because I’ve never got such good results with them as I do with rubber stamps – not only was the impression a bit ill-defined, but I have had awful trouble with the ink balling up on the stamp and giving a mottled result.
I knew you were supposed to prime them in some way but apart from rubbing them with a pencil eraser, I didn’t know much else, so today I decided if I am going to use these stamps and make them work as well for me as possible, I’d better find out how to do it.
I found some videos on Youtube and some tutorials on Splitcoast Stampers, and following their advice, I stamped at each stage in order to compare the results.
Most people seem to think that Versafine ink pads are best for clear stamps but I don’t have any, and I love stamping with Distress Inks – people say these are not suitable for stamping but I’ve never had any problems with them – I think they are brilliant! I grabbed one of my new DI pads that arrived with the stamps – Blueprint Sketch (OK, perhaps I should have grabbed a green one since all the stamps are trees lol!) and ended up stamping a series of blue trees. Oh well, the experiment worked, at any rate!
My first stamping was with the stamp straight out of the packet, with no treatment. It was OK, but I could definitely see an improvement after I’d done some priming.
The first treatment was with Stazon Stamp Cleaner. I was a bit reluctant to try this even though it was recommended by one person, because I’d read somewhere that this stuff could damage clear stamps and was designed only for rubber, so I only tried this once, and abandoned this treatment thereafter.
The second treatment was to rub the stamp all over with a pencil eraser, clean off the residue and stamp. To clean off the stamp, I used my stamp cleaning pad which is like a large flat kitchen scrubber on a foam backing – a brilliant tool.
The third treatment was to rub the surface of the stamp gently with a nail file – this file has sapphire dust stuck to the surface and is quite fine. Again I dusted off the residue using my stamp cleaning pad.
The fourth and final treatment was to rub over the surface of the stamp with an anti-static bag, again cleaning off any residue.
I was very pleased with the result of all this priming, so, omitting the Stazon stamp cleaner, I proceeded to prime the rest of the stamps in the set, using the pencil eraser, nail file and anti-static bag, and printed them all off to see how they came out.
The stamps looked much less transparent after priming, but they are still clear enough to see where to place them accurately.
Another piece of advice I found was not to put too much pressure on the stamp when using it – they are a lot softer than rubber stamps, and you can squash them a bit if you press too hard, which gives a less clear result. Also, it is good to stamp using a foam pad underneath the cardstock – a friend recently sent me a lot of stash and it included the pink foam pad you can see in the photo below – it feels exactly like fun foam but is much thicker. If I remember, I think I may use this with normal rubber stamps in future, too, because it worked so well.
I got very good results indeed, following all this advice, and may be on my way to becoming a convert to clear stamps! They do tend to be cheaper than rubber ones, and have the advantage that you can see where to place them with a high degree of accuracy. Maybe it’s time to dig out my old clear stamps that I got when I first started, and give them a new lease of life.
In the photo, you can see that the stamps now have a somewhat milky appearance as a result of their surfaces being roughed up.
I hope others find this information as helpful as I did.