I have my first set of stamps, how do I get started with this?
This guide will walk you through the detail of the different versions and what is included in our kits, what printed (or what's not), what is a subscriber exclusive and what is available to the general public.
For each of our kits we offer 2 types of inserts, a kit version which is free with your subscription, and a Luxe version which is a subscriber exclusive additional purchase. Both of these come with a personal print release and easy to follow printing instructions.
To get started you’re going to need a few basic items but don’t worry these two basic items are easily picked up at your local crafting store.
If you’re just getting started with your stamping love affair we recommend purchasing a few cheap acrylic blocks in various sizes (these sometimes come in a multi pack) and a standard black ink like VersaFine (which is different to Versamark, which i will explain very soon).
There are so many different types of inks you can purchase but how do you know which is the right one? Ink is ink, is ink, right? Nope! Let me start by saying that not all inks are created equal, or for the same purpose. Then combine that with the paper you are using and it’s a complete melting pot of options. When you’re shopping for inks is super easy to be overwhelmed. Do I want dye or pigment? I thought cars were hybrids? Oh and distress Inks - I’m definitely feeling distressed!!! So let’s do a quick run through of some of the most popular kinds of inks available to stampers.
These inks can be wonderful for planners as they dry quickly although their downfall is that on many types of paper they will shadow through and you’ll be left with a Back to the Future scenario when you’re flipping through your planner. The reason why this happens is because the ink soaks into the paper and “dyes” it.
Unlike it’s dye-based counterparts, dye-based inks sit on top of the paper providing less shadowing behind them. Just make sure you don’t close your planner too fast because these inks can take a while to dry. While this can be a pain if you want to add some quick embellishments to your page the advantage can come when you’re layering stamps and combining colours to create a really unique look.
These are usually a mix of dye and pigment inks created for a set purpose. Some of these work really well giving you the quick dry qualities of the dye-based ink while not shadowing through on some papers.
Let me start by saying Distress Inks are some of the most amazing inks you’ll ever use… Except when you want a crisp and clear impression. What these inks are wonderful for is adding colour, backgrounds and a variety of amazing ways to really make your artwork sing.
One of my favourite inks is called Versamark. It’s probably the most versatile ink I own considering it only comes in one colour - clear. At first glance all it seems to do is create shadowing on whatever page you’ve added it to but if you have a play you’ll find you can have a lot of fun with it. One of my favourite things to do is to emboss my stamped images. This gives them a beautiful raised and, depending on the embossing powder, colourful appearance. To emboss a stamped image you’re also going to need a heat tool, which kind of looks like a hair dryer but is very different - you want heat, not air which can move around your crafting projects.
There are a bunch of other specialty inks like Stayz-on (which literally does what it promises and stays-on!), glitters, dazzlers, glues, etc.
While you can purchase some basic acrylic blocks there are many different types out there which can help you get a clearer impression from your stamps. You can purchase ones which have a grid on the back for lining up your stamps straight, or with handles to help you grip the block better. Others have foam for even impressions and then you have the big mama’s which open and shut on a hinge for perfect positioning every time. It’s all a matter of personal preference which way you go.
My all time favourite tool for stamping is my Misti and Tim Holt’s Stamp Positioner Tools. The advantage to using one of these is if your impression isn’t quite perfect the first time round you open them back up, re-ink and stamp back over it again. Because the positioner is doing all the heavy lifting so to speak so it will stamp again in the same placement unless something moved or you removed the stamp.
Work on a flat surface, this may seem obvious but in one of my earlier videos I worked on a real wooden table and for the life of me couldn’t work out why my impressions were striped. Yes, that was embarrassing.
Grab out a few pages of scrap paper. I like to check my stamps each time before stamping on my actual paper. Make sure you use firm (but not hard) even pressure on your stamps and make sure they don’t move or you’ll end up with smudgy lines.
Here’s a few tips if trouble shooting pieces to getting the right impression
An essential part of stamping is making sure you keep them in perfect condition. After you’ve finished stamping stamp any excess ink off onto a scrap piece of paper first, reducing the amount of ink on your stamp. I then use baby/nappy/diaper wipes to gently clean the surface of the stamp. Baby wipes are fantastic way to gently clean your stamps but gently is the key word here, especially with some of the smaller or finer stamps. Depending on the inks you’ve used you may find that your stamps have stained even after cleaning. This should not reduce the quality of the impression but give your stamps a bit more of a loved look. If you are using some specialty inks you may need to purchase special cleaners, so keep that in mind.
And that’s about it. Hopefully this helps to get you get over your fear of stamping and begins a brand new love affair with these versatile packets of goodness.