HOW DO I START USING MY STAMPS?
Your clear, photopolymer stamps will arrive on a printed acetate backing, and will be a little sticky to start. Don't fret - that's just part of normal manufacturing, but it does mean your stamps need to be primed for optimal ink transfer.
To prime your stamps, you can use an eraser and gently rub it over your stamp, until the shiny coating becomes dull. We find this a little messy, so instead, we recommend spritzing a little water on a microfibre cloth, and rubbing your stamps gently, until the shiny coating becomes dull. Be sure you do this only on the side that you will be stamping with, so that the other side remains sticky, and easily attachable to your clear stamping block. Also, we recommend using a microfibre cloth that is entirely lint free and does not produce static electricity, so as to ensure that your stamps stay free of lint, dust, and other particles that may affect stamping quality. This shammy works wonders!
Once the shiny coating is removed, you are ready to go! Gently peel your stamp off the backing, and position it on a clear stamping block, or a stamping platform, like the MISTI. From here, select your favorite ink (we recommend any variety of water-based dye ink), and dab it onto your stamp gently. It is best to build the color onto your stamp, as opposed to saturating the color from the start. If too much color is applied, you may find that fine-detail stamps lose their crisp edges. So we recommend dabbing ink on gently, and adding more as needed.
Then simply stamp away! We recommend stamping straight on, without rocking the block or stamp tool you are using. This will help keep all lines crisp and even.
If you are just starting out, you may find it helpful to do a few test impressions, before moving to your final project.
The beauty of clear stamps is that they are see-though, so you can see exactly where your image will stamp and how much pressure to apply.
WHAT KIND OF PAPER DO YOU RECOMMEND?
We know you want your stamped artwork to look its best, and we don't blame you! With just a few tips, you can achieve professional results, that will make you fall in love with stamping.
One of the first steps is to prime your stamps and properly apply ink, as noted above. The second, and perhaps one of the most important, is what kind of paper you use. All paper is not created equally, and some papers may not allow for a smooth distribution of ink.
If you use water-based dye ink, we recommend this paper - Ultra Smooth Stamping Cardstock. Its heavy weight, bright white color, and excellent ink absorption make for professional results.
While ideal for stamping, we recommend using a different papers for watercolor mediums or alcohol marker coloring.
HOW DO I STORE MY STAMPS?
Your clear, photopolymer stamps will arrive on a printed acetate backing, showing you the stamp designs. This is an excellent way to store your stamps, but may we suggest taking it a step further? We recommend these stamp pockets:
For our 3x4 stamps
For our 4x6 and 5x6 stamps
For our 6x8 stamps
They are a durable way to neatly store your stamp collection. Simply tuck in your stamps! You can even add in the coordinating dies, as the pockets allow plenty of room for a flat, magnetic card where you can store your dies.
However you decided to store your stamps, over time, you may find that your stamps become less sticky, and may fall off the original acetate backing. This is perfectly normal and happens with frequent use. Simply run your stamps under some warm, soapy water, and dry on a lint free surface to restore the cling factor.
We also recommend keeping your stamps out of sunlight, to avoid any yellowing/fusing of stamps.
CAN I CUT MY STAMPS?
We are so glad you asked, and the answer is yes! Your clear, photopolymer stamps will arrive just the way they were designed, with some elements combined into a single stamp. But this doesn't mean you have to keep them that way. While it does help to leave cluster stamps uncut at times, at other times, we recommend snipping them up! It's our favorite way to alter word stamps. This way, we can use multiple colors of ink to stamp up a sentiment, without ever having to reach for masking tape. And best of all, if you make a single, crisp cut, you should be able to re-align the stamps onto your block so that you can get the benefits of the original design.
If it's your first time, we recommend cutting an older stamp until you get the hang of it or see if you like this customization.
HOW DO I CLEAN MY STAMPS?
We'd love to tell you to always clean your stamps with warm, soapy water, but we know that's just not possible. After all, we all want to spend less time cleaning and more time crafting, right?! So we recommend using baby wipes, or other gentle, lint-free wipes, to clean your stamps between impressions.
From time to time, we do recommend a more thorough cleaning with water, to help keep your stamps sticky, and debris free.
Also, please note, some ink can slightly stain the stamps, even after a thorough cleaning. This is perfectly normal and will not affect the quality of the stamps or impressions. While rubbing alcohol may help to remove some of the stains, we do not recommend using it, as it is quite harsh on the stamps. The same goes for other solvent cleaners.
I AM NOT GETTING THE RESULTS I WANT. ANY TIPS?
We'd love to be right next to you to figure out where the issue is, but since that is not possible, let us go through a few troubleshooting tips to get you started. Here are the most common questions:
Gloopy Impressions - are usually a sign off too much ink. Try to apply ink in a gentle tap, building more as needed. Remember, it's always easier to add, than take away. It could also be a sign of ink that was left from a previous craft session. To be safe, clean your stamp thoroughly first, ensure it is dry, and then follow the above step for light inking.
Uneven/Blotchy Impression - this could be a combination of many things, but the most common culprit is paper and/or ink type. Generally speaking, dye ink disperses much better than other forms of ink, leaving behind smooth coverage. Most dye ink will stamp a little blotchy at first, but it will even out right before your eyes as it dries! If you are using a premium quality ink, and you still see spottiness, your paper is probably to blame. We recommend this paper for all of your stamping needs.
Part of the Image is Not Stamping/Uneven Stamping - this is common among clear stamps and it can be due to many things, such as an uneven stamping surface, rocking the stamp too much, or uneven ink application. To avoid this, we recommend using a foam pad under your paper (it provides cushioning and a better ink dispersion), especially with very fine detail stamps or large solid area stamps. We also recommend using a stamp platform, like the MISTI, which can help even out your stamping surface, and allow you re-stamp an image, without having to line everything up again. It's a life saver in cases when impressions do not stamp properly.
We hope these tips help, and we promise, they become second nature once you've used clear stamps a for a bit. For any other questions regarding troubleshooting, please reach out to us at hello@pigmentcraftco