Stamping Tips - with Kate


Morning fellow Polly! fans,

So, it may come as no surprise to some of you, that I love to stamp. In fact, some might say I have a little addiction to stamping (& the purchasing of stamping related products!). My love of stamping started a few year ago when a friend invited me to a Stampin' Up party to make some cards. The moment I started inking up a stamp, I knew that I had found a hobby I would love. From there, I soon discovered polymer stamps, and after a few years of primarily stamping cards, I then discovered Project Life & scrapbooking. And really, the rest is history! I am OVER. THE. MOON that some of our Polly! kits are containing stamps, like the Salted Caramel Icecream kit here, and the Almond Biscotti kit you can still find here. I find them to be such a versatile embellishment for Project Life - it's flat, you can make it any colour you like & you can use one stamp in multiple ways. I'm hoping to encourage you to also share my love of stamping!!

So I thought today, that I would share a few of my favourite tips that I've picked up over the years.
Now, I can't take credit for any of these tips - over the years, I read them in forums, blogs, Facebook groups etc. But these are the simple tips that I use every day when I stamp, so for those of you just starting out stamping, there may be a tip or two for you.

Caring for your stamps

  • A stained stamp is a well loved (and more importantly USED!) stamp, so don't stress about that. Staining does not affect how well a stamp will work. 
  • Cleaning - well, to be honest, it is optional! Again, the stamp will work anyway! For me, a nappy wipe works best of all - any brand. All will take off the ink without damaging the stamps.
  • Prime your stamps when you first purchase them. Most polymer stamps will come with a faint coating on them, so it's important to remove that before stamping on your projects. You only need to do this when the stamp is new. There are all different ways to do this.
    • For me, I cover the stamp in versamark ink & then stazon ink. I then stamp it a few times on my gridded paper until I get a nice crisp image. My stamp is now primed to use on projects. Simple. But remember, I don't care about staining!
    • Others use an eraser to rub off the coating. I've tried that, and I ended up with lots of little bits of eraser embedded in the stamp which I then had to pick out. So, I personally don't like that method, but many swear by it.
    • You can also rub the stamp up & down your forearm. Yep, you read that right. This will remove the coating & makes the stamp good to go. So if you find that you are not getting a crisp image/sentiment - try priming the stamp. It will definitely help.
  • Storage. All stampers LOVE to talk about their stamp storage. My advice is simple - find something that works for you, so that you stamps are easily accessible for you to use. Here's a photo of my storage. 

  • I store my Project Life stamps in the Avery Elle storage pockets, because I like to have them on my desk & I like to flip through them to find the right stamp. You'll see that I have a few dividers to separate the stamps. 
    • Primarily I divide my stamps by manufacturer. I tend to remember what I have purchased from which company, so that system works for me. However, the first two sections are the exception to this. 
    • In the front section I have my seasonal stamps appropriate for the spreads I'm currently working on. At the moment, this section has Summer & Christmas stamps in it from all manufacturers. It's just a quick reminder for me of what I can use on a spread if I'm looking for that extra little something. I've found that since bringing the seasonal stamps to the front, I use them a lot more.
    • In the next section, I have my staples - that are used in most of my spreads. These are my alphabets, numbers, days of the week, months & label stamps. When I start on a spread, I make my choices from this section & start from there. 
    • The small basket on the side is for my new stamps. If I receive a stamp in a kit, or a purchase, I put them there so that I try to make sure that I use them soon after they have arrived. It helps me to have them seperate for a while.

Lining Up your stamps

Sometimes stamps can be a pain to line up correctly on your blocks in order for them to stamp correctly.  It can be particularly hard from stamps with the centre cut out, like the gorgeous clipboard stamp in the recent Polly! kit. So, my number one tip for that:
  • Hold you stamp in your hand (sticky side down). Drop the stamp onto your desk. The stamp will land in the correct shape. Then, pick up the stamp with your block. Don't try to arrange a stamp on a block - you'll just get frustrated really quickly! Drop & pick up works every time!
  • For longer, skinny sentiments (or arrows etc), I often line them up on my grid paper scrap paper. I line it up on the grid, & again, pick it up with the block. Simple as that.
  • To get an idea of how my stamps might look on a card, I like to line the up on the card before I stamp them. Once I'm happy with the placement, I will often pick up 2 or 3 stamps on the block together & ink/stamp them all at the same time. Risky I know - but time saving! Remember, it doesn't need to be perfect. It needs to be enjoyable!

Mix & Match your stamps

As I said before - just use your stamps! Have fun, play around, see what happens. Some things I like to do are
  • Mix your sets together. Use different fonts to create some interest. Life isn't matchy matchy, so your stamping doesn't need to be either.
  • Mix solids with outline stamps. Here's an example of using lots of different circle shapes. On these cards, I overlapped the circles a lot to create more interest.
  • Stamp outside the boundary of the card. Go over the edge, so that I partial image is left on the card. By doing this, you can get various looks with the same stamp!
  • Use the same stamp on multiple cards in a spread. For me, I like to have a bit of continuity in my spread, so will often use the same element on multiple cards, perhaps with a different orientation or by using the above trick of going off the edge.
  • Have multiple stamp blocks - and perhaps even double up on the more common sizes. This enables you to mount up various stamps are the same time & makes creating with stamps so much more enjoyable when you not having to constantly change what stamps you have mounted, particularly if you intend to create the same patterns more than once. 
So there is just a few of my favourite tips. Hope you've been able to pick up something that might help or encourage you to use the delicious stamps that you have in your collection! If you have any questions, please feel free to leave it in the comments.

Enjoy your weekend


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  1. thanks for all the great tips Kate! Love the idea of lining the stamps up using the grid paper and never would thought of rubbing my new stamps on my arm but will give it a go ;)

  2. So glad you got something out of it Agnus! Who knew the hairs on your arm were good for something hey!

  3. I only recently learnt about priming stamps, the rub on arm trick worked a treat! I also just discoverd Stazon ink & was very disappointed to stain my stamp :( but like you said, a stained stamp is a used stamp and that's a good thing, I'll have to learn to live with that

    1. Glad you are joining the stained stamp lovers camp Stacey-Lee! I much prefer to spend time stamping than cleaning :) Just repeat - well loved, well loved! Plus, the bonus is it makes it much easier to see the stamps you haven't yet used, and get to work on those. Have fun


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