Tag Archives: Rubber stamp

Letterpress Class – Take Two

After a crummy experience with Paper Source’s letterpress class, I wanted to show my friend Wendy that paper crafting really can be fun. So we had a letterpress class at my house last weekend. I recently received a lot of Studio Calico’s letterpress plates but after looking through my supplies, Wendy decided she really loved the designs from my emboss folders so we used those instead.
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We tried the letterpress on different paper weights. Last year, my friend Eloise brought me to Ink and Paper, a paper store in LA that sells amazing scraps of heavy cotton paper. These scraps are left over from large letterpress orders. Though they may no longer work for the letterpress machines, they’re definitely large enough for paper crafters. You can learn more about the store from this really neat Vimeo video. The owner is so kind and you can tell he really loves paper. He also sold me so many scraps for a pittance. The paper is thicker, plusher, and cheaper than the thickest Lifestyle Crafts paper and I tried to pay him more for the supplies I purchased but he declined. IMG_0070

After our lunch break, we started assembling cards using the Studio Calico kits I got back in February. To avoid fussy cutting, I stamped all the stamps we liked in black versamark ink onto a white sheet of paper, scanned the sheet, and used the scanned images to create a cut file.

It’s probably super obvious to others but just in case, please note that this stamp-scan-cut method works easiest with see-through stamps. For example, it was not easy aligning the Amy Tangerine’s new Plus One woodblock Happy Place stamp on the die cut. Luckily, it still turned out pretty awesome.

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The design below is from my favorite lifestyle crafts emboss folder. I’m always so thrilled about how crisply it embosses – it makes even the simplest cards look amazing.

Print and Emboss

Last month, two of my good friends stayed over a few days and I showed them a bunch of my tools. Everyone got really into it and we spent hours creating a kooky funny card and fake press pass for our friend. Color scheme aside, we had an awesome time creating a debossed image. I scanned in an inked impression of my emboss folder, filled the sun rays in with red ink, and printed it out. My friend did a good job of lining everything up to create a filled-in debossed image.


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For the fake press pass, I used the cute fox and picture frame from Studio Calico’s Inked class.



Total silliness but I loved being creative with my friends.


A Craft Haul

After a grueling battery of food allergy tests, I was so thrilled to visit Goldenshill Papercrafts, the best scrapbook store in my area. The store is run by a super classy lady named Ronnie. She ordered a bunch of stuff I’ve been lemming, including some stamps and shadow inks from the Hero Arts Scrap Your Story release. If you’re in the Northern Virginia area, I would highly recommend you stop by. She’s only open on Wednesdays and a floating Saturday each month (check out her website for details) but it’s totally worth it. She always stocks new and hard to find stuff and she regularly supports charities with different promotions.  On top of that, like I’ve mentioned before, everyone who shops there has been so kind and sweet. Congrats to Ronnie on the store’s 8 year anniversary this month!

I got a little carried away today but it was so worth it.

Rubber Stamps and Shadow Inks – I just had to buy those two stamps. The owl makes me think of my friend Eloise and I know she’ll have fun using it! 🙂 Click here for more pictures of the two new Shadow Ink colors.


Quik Kutz Emboss Folders – I couldn’t resist. They’re an additional 40% in June and this brand designs the best emboss folders!


Squirrel Emboss Folder? Seriously? WAY TOO CUTE!


All the embossing details in the folder, regardless of how intricate come out so crisp and precise.


I don’t really make envelopes but after seeing tons of CHA Winter 2013 videos, I think I might need to start. For those interested in purchasing, please note that those punch boards sent out before the March time frame had some errors in the measurement sheet. I first learned about this issue from the Crafttestdummies blog. According to the We R Memory Keepers Facebook page, you can figure out if you need the company to send you out a new punch board sticker by checking the following:

We R Memory Keepers Take a look at the 3×3″ Envelope Size on the Punch Board. The original measurements for that size will be 5 3/8” x 5 3/8” with a 2 ¾” score line. If that’s the size listed for the 3×3” Envelope Size, then please email us for a replacement sticker.


Basic Grey Embellishments and Clear Stamps – I’m still waiting for some stuff from the Hero Arts Stamp Your Story release but I was able to pick up these two sets today. Man… this line KILLS me in the best way possible! A lot of stuff from this release is sold out and I can’t wait for the Brush Strokes set to come in!



This weekend I’m going to have SOOOO much fun!

Tips – Stamping Solid Images

Last month, I excitedly gifted myself four sets of the foam Stampin Up ink pads. I fell in love with the pads’ smooth deep finish at a stamp camp last fall and when Kim Morris offered a 15% rebate on her blog, I pounced. (Kim provides amazing customer service – even though she lives halfway across the country, she spent so much time helping a total nube – me! – figure out how to use all these ink pads! If you don’t have a demonstrator, I highly recommend her.)

So… the last few weeks have been frustrating for me because my solid images would come out with even coverage but very smudgey lines OR crisp lines with incomplete images. As I mentioned in a previous post, this awesome fellow stamper who just happened to be in line behind me, gave me an impromptu tutorial yesterday and by jove, I think my problems are solved.

This is probably totally obvious to other stampers, but I learned a huge tip yesterday – for a solid crisp image, the give on your stamping surface needs to be inversely proportional to the give of the stamp. Let’s see if I can describe this in a way that makes sense.

The Valentine’s Stamp – on a gift that Kim sent me – was the image quality I aspired to. Unfortunately, everything I stamped fell far far short. Look at the crispness of the lines. I didn’t even realize it was a stamped – not printed – image until 3 days after I received it! I’ll spare you all a photo of my stamping, but suffice to say, my images looked NOTHING like this one until I implemented the following tips.

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Basically, high quality photopolymer stamps don’t provide much give when you press down on the inked image. You end of up with two hard surfaces rubbing against each other – consequently, the entire image, especially solid ones may not get complete contact with the paper. I was compensating for this problem by pressing down really hard and squishing the block around which resulted in shadows and blurred edges.

This problem disappears when I used a magazine and a thin layer of packing foam underneath my paper. Basically, when I stamp down, the springiness of the magazine and packing foam push the paper back up, resulting in a crisper AND solid image. Look how smooth the Lawn Fawn partridge in a pear tree stamp came out. I need to work on the crispness of the lines but I’m thrilled with the results!


Another favorite – and the reason I fell in love with Stampin Up inks -was the vibrancy of “Elegant Eggplant.” Before this tip, every time I stamped something detailed, it came out a hot mess. This is not a hot mess.

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Small rubber stamps are already relatively squishy. For a crisp solid image, I need a hard surface.

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The difference is very subtle, but especially if you look closely, on a hard surface, the lines just came out far crisper.

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For large rubber stamps, I carefully position my paper on top of the inked stamp, put another layer of paper down, and carefully smooth over the whole image. There are lots of videos on Youtube that illustrate that technique. Although I have the Fiskars stamp thing with the orange foam feet, I find this technique to be so much more effective.


For lower quality plastic stamps, I manage my expectations. 🙂

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Hope all that makes sense and helps – this tip (along with applying sufficient even pressure) has completely solved my problem. I can FINALLY stamp beautiful, clean, smooth, solid images. My ink pad purchase was not for naught – thank goodness it was just user error!

I love my Tim Holtz Distress Marker set

Studio Calico had an awesome coupon the other day for 50% all writing instruments. I used the coupon to purchase the 37 set distress markers from Tim Holtz and 3 Hero Arts shadow inks (soft granite, soft green, and red royal). The package arrived just two days after I placed my order! As many reviews have noted, it comes in a clear plastic container with a black lid. The lid isn’t the easiest to pull on and off but the container itself is very handy. For some reason, one of my markers had a black smudge on the cap.

Tim Holtz markers in canister

The markers are double ended, with a brush on one side and a fine tip for journaling on the other. I learned pretty quickly that I’ll need to be careful not to dry out my fine tip because the cap needs to be snapped back on. That doesn’t seem to be the case on the brush end – at least on my set.

I was very excited to test out all the colors and decided to create a guide page of all the colors so I can have a handy reference while crafting. The ink of some markers like Barn Door and Fired Brick did not flow well and seemed a little dried out. That might be because they were stored vertically with the brush end at the top and after turning them with the brush side facing down for about 10 minutes, the ink started flowing nicely. I’m new to using markers in my crafting so this might be common knowledge but next time, I’ve learned to let the ink flow in the direction I need for a little while before swatching so I won’t end up putting wear on a dry brush tip. I’m also going to do  my best to store the markers horizontally so that I don’t dry out a tip.

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Gratuitous picture of the set – I love sets of colorful everything!

I love my distress ink pads and as others have noted, the ‘matching’ markers are  complementary in color, not exact matches to the ink pads. (You can also tell I was watching “Game of Thrones” while swatching the colors because I subconsciously started writing ‘westeros’ after I swatched Black Soot.)

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Below I tested out some of the colors using both acrylic and rubber stamps. They look pretty amazing used with rubber stamps, creating a surprisingly crisp image. I used the Pumice Stone marker — the brownish-grey — on the middle “the everyday” evalicious stamp.

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I really like all of the colors, particular all the shades of neutral nudes. I think they’ll make great shadows and add dimension to cut out shapes. After swatching and playing, I would have to say that Picket Fence is my favorite. It’s actually somewhat opaque. The white appears less translucent in the picture below but in real life, it gives an almost chalkboard effect on black paper. I can’t wait to use it to create a wash on dark patterned papers. I think Picket Fence is the only slightly opaque Distress Marker and the pen tip of this marker, unlike the others, looks like felt rather than plastic.

Picket Fence Distress Marker