Sunday, October 4, 2015

Stamping Basics - "Must Have" Items

A few weeks ago I wrote an article titled "5 'Must Have' Supplies for Getting Started with Paper Crafts."  Once you have the basic items needed for your cards and scrapbook layouts, you might find that you want to take your art to the next level.  One fun and easy way to do this is with stamping.

Stamping is so easy that anyone can do it.  Don't get me wrong.  It is definitely an art and there are a lot of advanced techniques that you can learn, but it can also be kept simple.  Anyone can pick up a stamp and get started.  I'm going to share with you the 5items you need to get started with stamping.  I'm not including cardstock because if you purchased the items in my last article, you should have some.

1.  Blocks

I prefer clear acrylic blocks.  The reason I like clear blocks is that you can see through them while you are stamping.  This allows you to line-up your stamp exactly where you want it.  You also have a better chance of fixing a poorly stamped image because you can by going back over it with another layer of ink.  However, stamps can also be on wood blocks.  You can purchase them mounted and unmounted.

2.  Stamps

If you decide to use clear blocks, you need unmounted stamps.  You can get stamps in all sorts of shapes.  You can get sentiments, animals, flowers, backgrounds, people...really anything.  Whatever stamps you choose, make sure that you have the right sized blocks to affix them to.  A block that is too small or too large for your stamp will cause an uneven image or unwanted ink lines.

3.  Ink

There are many different types of ink available and each serves a purpose.  Dye inks are softer and dry quickly.  These will work well for the bulk of your projects.  Pigment inks are thick and are good when you stamp on materials other than paper because they sit on top of the surface.  They take longer to dry though.  You will also find alcohol, solvent, and water-based inks.  As your artwork advances, you will want to learn more about these and how they are suitable for different projects.  Tip:  If you really love a color of ink, invest in a re-inker for your pad.  You never know when your favorite color could be discontinued.  Also, there are a lot of artistic techniques you can learn that utilize the re-inkers themselves.

4.  Cleaning Supplies

Maintaning your stamps is the key to ensuring they last.  You will want some kind of scrubber to clean your stamps with.  I recommend getting something made specifically for cleaning stamps so that you don't damage them with overly abrasive chemicals.  You can use plain water, but I recommend a cleaning solution.  The one from Close To My Heart is really amazing (and has saved my household surfaces many times).  I also highly suggest getting some baby wipes or adult gentle wipes to have on hand.  They are a nice temporary clean for your stamps until you can get to the sink.

5.  Coloring Tools (Optional)

Okay, you don't have to have coloring tools to do stamping, but it can really add that little something extra!  Sometimes you just need an additional pop of color in your images.  Coloring is also very relaxing.  You might have even noticed a recent trend in coloring books for adults.  This is because coloring is a wonderful way to clear your mind and de-stress.  As a papercrafter, you don't need a coloring book!  You can make your own with your stamps.  You can use anything for your coloring - crayons, color pencils, markers, paints...the only limit is your imagination.  And you don't have to start out with the most expensive products.  Start with whatever you have on hand and as your coloring techniques get better you can upgrade to the professional tools.  I started with dollar store crayola markers and now I am really a huge fan of the ShinHan Touch Twin markers.  I also can't wait to experiment with the new Close To My Heart watercolor paints!

There it is.  The complete list of what you need to get started.  If you want help getting set up and started with stamping, I would be happy to assist you!  Just contact me at

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