August 1, 2007

In A Word/Tips on Clear Stamps

In this case, the word is Love and this card is made with Technique Tuesday's NEW "In a Word: Love" set and Lilykate paper from Basic Grey. Add some Stampin Up Bashful Blue ink and cardstock and Beckett Expression #80 base cardstock, SU's Word Window Punch and you are done. (Of course, that doesn't count an hour of fiddling around with various ideas, but you get the drift.) ******* TIPS ON CLEAR STAMPS Yes, I'm a clear stamp junkie and have learned a lot about them over the past 6 months, so I thought I'd share some tips: 1. Buy good quality. I can recommend Papertreyink, Impression Obsession, My Favorite Things, Memory Box, Rusty Pickle, Close to My Heart, Stampendous, and Technique Tuesday without reservation. The jury is still out on Hero Arts and a few others. I like to use them a bit and see how they stand the test of time. If you are unfamiliar with a company, buy the cheapest thing they sell to test it out. I did this with an Inkadinkado clear set and was glad I did. I ended up throwing it out. 2. Storage: You HAVE to come up with a storage system. Unlike wood mounted rubber, these stamps are very very easy to lose (don't ask how I know that). They are, after all, clear and many are quite small. If you buy from CTMH, each set comes in its own heavy plastic folder and CTMH sells a nifty box to store sets. For my other clear sets, I use CD holders. It isn't a perfect solution, but the best I've come up with. 3. Cleaning: this isn't about HOW to clean. It is about actually cleaning and putting them away immediately. Because they are so easy to lose, it isn't worth buying them if you put off storing them after use. I am basically a slob stamper. It isn't unusual for me to wait weeks before cleaning my stamps. You cannot do that with clear. First, they behave better if they are stored away from dust and dirt. But, more importantly, you will lose them if you leave them laying around your stamping table. 4. Images: Clear stamps have not yet reached the level of sophistication in design that rubber stamps have. There are some areas where they are, IMHO, clearly (ha) superior -- anything where placement matters a lot -- alphabets, petals that form a flower, etc. They also are great for shapes like the Borders and Corners. However, you aren't going to find a stamp like the Cornish Heritage Farms' Thomas Kinkade rubber stamps. At least I haven't. 5. The acrylic blocks: These make a HUGE difference. I have bought them over the years and my earlier ones are now crystallized (and useless). Pay for good ones. I love the gridded ones sold by My Favorite Things and I love CTMH blocks. I'm sure that there are other great ones out there. Make sure the block is clear and doesn't distort the image of the paper below. I have two small square blocks, one of them distorts the image of the paper below so that placement doesn't work. I'm always off by a 1/4"! The other is truly clear and placement is perfect. I bought these a long time ago so I can't tell you what brands to avoid! If you are going to build faux ribbons, invest in several blocks of the same size -- long and narrow. There is nothing more annoying than taking the time to get the ribbon stamp straight on the block, inking it in red and then having to remove it to put another ribbon stamp on, and then having to remove the second stamp and put the first one back on. It is time consuming and messy. The blocks aren't that expensive. Take the plunge! Don't forget to clean the blocks once in a while. Whenever I stamp using an acrylic block, I always check the block to make sure ink isn't on it before I place the stamp on the paper. Eventually your hands will get dirty and the blocks will start to look a little grungy. Take the time to wash them with soap and water. It is time well spent. 6. Building words and sentences. Placement on the paper is easy with clear stamps. However, placement on the block isn't that easy -- especially with small letters and words. I have found much better results if I stamp one word or one letter at a time on to the paper, rather than trying to align the letters onto the block. Also, you will be able to get the letters closer to one another on the paper if you stamp them one at a time. However, if you put the letters on the block first, the trim on each clear letter will bump up against the next trim, putting a small space between the letters. For example, in the card above, "I Will Always" is 3 separate clear stamps and I stamped each one at a time, rather than trying to put them on a block at the same time. Capishe??

14 comments:

  1. Absolutely great tips. Thanks for your hard work. I am new to clear stamps but it is "clear" that there is a difference. The Studio G ones barely seem worth my dollar (so why do I keep buying them?). I read a tip once to rub an eraser over new clear stamps and that has helped. I do like the Rhonna Ferrer ones I got at Wal-mart. I haven't inked my heidi swapp one yet but hopefully it will be great. Sorry, long comment but I loved your post.

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  2. These are great tips, for sure. I, too, am a clear-stamp junkie and have many sets, my first being some designed by Anna Griffin, and I like them. I have some inferior clear stamps too, and I have to say, Heidi Swapp is amongst them. They're very squishy and no matter how much I trimmed, I still got bad impressions. Just sharing my experience with that one. :)

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  3. Fantastic tips -- thanks so much for sharing

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  4. Thanks so much for the great tips!!!
    Hugs
    Marcia

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  5. Oh Joan! I love this card. It's the most beautiful design.

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  6. First of all, this is a beautiful card. I love the stamps you used. Now, thanks for all the info about clear stamps. I have a few and I think I've been lucky on the quality. I have one set, though, that I had to rough up a teeny tiny bit with (gasp!) sandpaper to get it to take classic ink. I wouldn't go around telling everyone to sand their clear stamps, but it does seem to help.

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  7. I have a couple Limited Edition ones and they ripped into pieces coming off the carry sheet.I just got them but at a show. I am gonna contact the company as these were expensive.

    I store my smaller sets in cd cases and the large page size sets in a binder

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  8. Thank you for great tips. My encounter with Inkadinkadoo stamps nearly soured me on acrylics until I discovered other great brands. I love CTMH, but I do wish they would develop some more sophisticated designs.

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  9. SuzyQue in Texas8/02/2007 09:02:00 AM

    Great tips, lovely card! Thanks for sharing what you've learned. The only CTMH sets I have are some used ones from ebay. They are very sticky and do not work well. Probably were not cared for in a loving way. Most of the Studio G stamps I have work well for me. I've found Technique Tuesday hard to clean thoroughly.Simply Chic by Provo Crafts were a disappointment. Overall, I love the easy placement & storage. Yes, I'm a junkie, too.

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  10. In the new catalog from Close To My Heart, we have a product called Block Buddies. They are clear plastic grids that you can stick to the blocks to line things up. There are concentric circles, different lines like a wave and zig zag and a basic grid. These will be available in Sept. :)

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  11. Your card is very pretty! Thanks for all of the super tips on clear stamps. You rock, Joan!!

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  12. As a newbie to clear stamps.. I thank you for your thoughts. I have played with Clear Art Stamps from Crafty Secrets and those also seem to be of good quality.

    Thanks again!
    Liz

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  13. Your card is beautiful, I love everything about it! Thanks for all the great tips about clear stamps, I seem to be addicted to them because of the placement issue being resolved. And thank goodness there is a Stamp-a-ma-jig for lining up the wood stamps that I still love.

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  14. It's been too long since I had a chance to come visit you here, Joan. I must say, I nearly fell down dead over all the GAW-JUS eye candy! I love the red/ivory cards you did--so crisp! I think I am still drooling . . . not a pretty sight! LOL! Thank you for sharing yourself, and your beautiful works--I really enjoy seeing what you are up to! smooches & hugs, Julie

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