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.
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.
SMALL RUBBER STAMPS
Small rubber stamps are already relatively squishy. For a crisp solid image, I need a hard surface.
The difference is very subtle, but especially if you look closely, on a hard surface, the lines just came out far crisper.
LARGE RUBBER STAMPS
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.
LOWER QUALITY PLASTIC STAMPS
For lower quality plastic stamps, I manage my expectations. 🙂
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!