Beginner's Guide to Stamps

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What tips will help me along the way?

Get the best results from your stamps and tools with these tips from top designers.

Use the tools. Cover large areas with the help of a brayer. By rolling the tool (which resembles a small paint roller, right) directly over an ink pad and then onto your stamp, you get an evenly distributed coat of ink.

Keep 'em clean. Use a 1:1 mixture of water and window cleaner on a towel or pad. An alcohol-free wipe works, too. Stubborn ink may require a solvent-type stamp cleaner (allow the surface to dry before re-inking).

Employ clever ink substitutions. Markers make it easy to color directly onto the stamp surface. Juicy brush-tipped pens work best. For gradient tints, start with the lightest color, then apply the next shade, overlapping slightly to blend. Huff (as you would when cleaning a pair of eyeglasses) on the stamp before pressing it on cardstock to obtain a brighter image.

Hasten heat embossing. Cover a thick piece of cardboard or chipboard with aluminum foil and place it under your project before heating. The metal helps the powder melt quickly and can reduce the warping of the paper.

Keep powders at bay. Prevent embossing powder from sticking where you don't want it by rubbing the paper with an antistatic pad or powder bag or lightly dusting it with baby powder or cornstarch before stamping.

Heat-emboss without ink. Run a transparency through your ink-jet printer and sprinkle with embossing powder before the ink dries. Heat with an embossing gun, taking care to keep it moving to prevent excessive warping. Use clear embossing powder to add shine and dimension, apply a colored powder to cover the black printer ink, or output on a color printer and use clear powder.


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