Stamps and Stamping

When I first started back into scrapbooking in 1997, for me it was cardstock, glue and photos. Soon after, I added in a few stickers to the mix. I added more dimension to my layouts with buttons and ribbon, chipboard and eyelets…oh the noise I made hammering those eyelets.

In the early 2000’s, a teacher from our charter school invited me to a Close to My Heart party at her house. The demonstrator had us make a few cards with some stamps she brought. I had never used a stamp before other than a PAID stamp in the office or a return address stamp on an envelope.

It was fun but messy. I couldn’t see myself doing this on a scrapbook layout but I did like the idea of making my own cards. Have you seen the price of some of those greeting cards? So that was my goal – get a few stamp sets to make my Christmas cards instead of buying a box.

I had a lot of fun creating them. Honestly, they were very simple but pretty. I think I used three colors of ink and black for the sentiments. As the years have gone by, my cards have become more elaborate…interactive cards, shakers and very dimensional. But I was still unsure about adding the stamping to my layouts.

YouTube to the Rescue

Like everyone else, when I want to learn something I turn to the internet and YouTube. I went to my go to channels to see if they were adding stamping to their layouts. Of course they were! Not on every one of their layouts, but they were doing the technique on a few here and there.

What I discovered was for the most part, it was very simple stamping. Sometimes it was a small motif in an embellishment grouping or maybe part of a title. Sometimes an image was stamped on paper then colored in with Copic markers, watercolors or colored pencils. When the design was dry, it was cut out and added to the layout.

This was my ah ha moment! It could be done and not be a total inky mess. I wanted to try it, but I was still afraid so I held off a bit longer. By a bit, I mean a few years. I actually started collecting stamp sets long before I started using them. I have a very nice collection of stamps now and a few tools to use them properly.

Favorite Stamp Companies

Okay, full disclosure here…I love stamp sets but I don’t want to use them because they will get dirty. There, I said it out loud while I typed it too. It’s true, I love the cute stamps and I hate to see them not look new once a colored ink has been used. I clean my stamps right after I use them to keep them in good condition, but some ink colors do stain. I have been told by people I love and respect that it is perfectly fine and normal…but still, I want them to look clean and pretty!

I have a few go to companies for different types of stamping. There are many great companies out there and eventually I will have a set from all of them!

Lawn Fawn has the cutest critters and motifs out there. These are my go to set for most of my cards. I love to stamp out the animals and color them in, then add them to a card with foam squares.

Studio Calico sets come in my monthly kits. These are usually the smaller stamp sets perfect for pocket pages. I use them in my embellishment clusters and on cards or tags.

Studio Calico Stamp Sets

Elle’s Studio have some wonderful sets called Title Builders. They work together to create titles for your layouts and they give you a printable download sheet with your purchase with combinations for the words. I find these come in handy for making long titles and I don’t want to use lots of alphabet stickers.

Elle’s Studio Title Builder Stamp Sets

There are stamp sets that go with designers collections like Maggie Holmes for Crate Paper, Shimelle and Paige Evans with American Crafts and Ali Edwards has her own line of stamps. Bo Bunny, Simple Stories, Tim Holtz and Echo Park also make stamp sets. And let’s not forget where my journey into stamping began – Close to My Heart and Stampin Up.

Tools to Make it Easy

Now that you have a few stamp sets, how will you get ink onto them and what ink will you use? I have a few recommendations for you on both inks and tools.

First, you will need some kind of block to adhere your clear stamp to. I have several sizes that I purchased from Scrapbook.com that they created. I love them because they have etched guide lines to line up your stamps. It really comes in handy for sentiments in cards. They also have curved in grooves for your fingers. My favorite is the little round one, perfect for teeny tiny stamps.

Acrylic Stamp Blocks

I also use the Tim Holtz Stamp Platform by Tonic. When you adhere your stamp to the lid in the position you want it on your project, you can re-stamp multiple times and it will always be in the same position. You never have to worry about trying to line it up perfectly if you need to re-stamp it. This tool is a lifesaver for me when I am making my Christmas cards, I just slide in a new card and stamp over and over.

Stamp Platform

I also just got the Make Art Stay-tion by Ranger. I love this tool for ink blending my card backgrounds. The magnets hold the paper in place so I don’t have to worry about getting my fingerprints on the paper or transferring another color to the wrong spot from inky fingers.

Make Art Stay-tion

Inks and Blenders and Cleaners

My ink stash isn’t very big. I have a few Close to My Heart colors from all of those years ago when I went to that party. I still can’t get over how well they work after all of this time.

I have several of the Mini Distress Ink cubes from Tim Holtz. These are my go to inks for cards and blending backgrounds. I also use the brown, gray and black to ink my paper edges. I find that Distress Ink doesn’t stamp all that well, however it does okay for small sentiments or motifs.

Distress Ink Mini Cubes

I also have a selection of Memento Ink colors in the small dewdrop size and one full size Tuxedo Black. This is my go to ink for images that I plan to color in with Copic Markers or colored pencils.

Memento Inks

I use Stazon for stamping on slick surfaces and Versafine for crisp imprints on my cards. I find that these inks need to have a bit of drying time.

Versamark is an embossing ink but I use it with my stamps for a very subtle tone on tone effect. It really looks great on craft cardstock.

Various Inks for projects

I have just a few ink pads from Lawn Fawn, Ranger and Studio Calico. I like to try different companies products, I have my favorites but there is always room to add a few more!

I have a few ink blenders that I use for inking my papers and ink blending on card backgrounds. They all come with removable applicators so that you can have one for every color. Mine seem to last a long time, I think I have only replaced the one for my brown distress ink in 5 years.

For cleaning my stamps I use a combination of products. First I use the Stamp Scrubber by Picket Fence Studio. I also use the Stamp Shammy by Lawn Fawn. Lastly, my oldest stamp cleaning product – good ole Huggies Diaper wipes. They seem to be the one brand with the least amount of lint residue on my stamps!

Stamp Scrubber

Stamps and Stamping Resources

If you are wanting to venture into the wonderful world of stamps and stamping, there are so many resources out there to help along the way. Scrapbook and Cards Today Magazine has a print magazine 4 times a year but it is also available online at their website. They also have a very helpful YouTube Channel.

I know there are several online stores that are good for ideas and products Picket Fence Studio, Simon Says Stamp, Stampers Anonymous and Scrapbook.com.

I am in no means an expert on stamping and I know there are other stamp types and manufacturers out there. I just always want to share what I use and love when I am creating layouts and cards. I hope you found something useful here today and might want to give stamps and stamping a try soon!

Happy Scrapping!

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