Tips – Acrylic Stamps and the Arm Trick

IMG_5061I love buying solid stamps but I’ve never been able to create the smooth solid image I see on blogs all the time. I’ve bought all different types of stamp inks to try to achieve that look to no avail. The first example below is using Versafine in Habanero. The second uses the Hero Arts Shadow Ink Green Hills – both stamps are from Mama Elephant. As you can see, they make my inner perfectionist cringe so I don’t use them in projects.

This all changed recently after reading about the “arm trick” on the Studio Calico message board.  After trying this trick on almost every solid acrylic stamp I own, I can say with confidence that this trick creates the solid smooth results that inspired all my stamp purchases.

Before you ink up, rub the stamp on your arm a few times. The stamp will pick up some type of gunk from your arm – I noticed a thin film of skin on the stamp. This is gross but the results are awesome. I stamped on top of packing material, another technique a fellow crafter taught me.  The arm-tricked versions are on the right and the non-tricked versions are on the left.


IMG_5063For the first time, I can EASILY replicate the solid stamp look I’ve been yearning for since I bought my first stamp set last year. I’m so happy I just had to share this. If anyone else has another tip that doesn’t involve rubbing skin, please let me know! In the meantime, I’ll just convince myself that I’m not doing anything unhygienic like transferring skin onto my ink pads because the results are so worth it.


8 thoughts on “Tips – Acrylic Stamps and the Arm Trick

  1. Complementos Bagatelas

    Sounds like a great tip… How do you go about finding solid acrylic stamps online? Do you just go through the hundreds of stamps that most shops have or can you use a search word, like “solid”. I need a couple of solid stamps to do the stamp kissing technique. Could you please recommend me a couple of “must have” sets? By the way you have a lovely blog 🙂
    A fan from Spain.

    1. periwinky Post author

      Hi! Thanks for your comment. I’ve never searched for solid stamps specifically online but have found that whenever I visit a brick and mortar crafting/stamp store, I am always drawn to the solid stamps. Something about the stamp ink on a solid surface really appeals to me. For acrylic solid stamps, I really like Mama Elephant and Studio Calico. My favorite Mama Elephant sets with solid images are hello and Good Times. My absolute favorite solid stamps are actually rubber stamps from Evalicious. Hope that helps!

  2. Rae Ramses

    Wow, what a very neat trick! I took Tim Holtz’s online class, Chemistry 101, and contrary to popular beliefs, he recommends using Archival black ink on your clear stamps to get a crisp impression. When I first started stamping, I bought some cheap stamps from my local scrapbook store and didn’t want to throw/gift them away. After using Tim’s trick on the stamps, the image stamps crisply every time. This is what I do: cover the stamp well with the Archival black ink then let it dry. That’s it! The ink makes it waterproof and gives the other inks something to grab onto. I clean the stamp with water and put it away. When inking the stamp, I could tell that its fully covered because it looks wet. I haven’t had a problem with it disintegrating or needing to reapply ink a second time. HTH!

    1. periwinky Post author

      That’s wonderful to know! I’ve heard Stampin’ Up demonstrators use the phrase “season your stamps” a lot and I wonder if that’s related.

      Thank you very much for sharing!


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