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A Beginner-Friendly Guide to Rubber Stamping

Jun 13, 2008
Rubber stamping is a fun and versatile hobby that is gaining new interest thanks to scrapbooking, card making and other paper arts. With rubber stamps, you simply transfer an image onto any paper surface by pressing down on the back of the stamp. By using different types of inks, additives and other craft elements, you can easily transform basic rubber stamps and paper into beautiful projects.

If you've never used rubber stamps before, you need to know that there are three basic types of stamps. Wood-mounted stamps are attached to a small piece of wood, which you press on to create the image. Foam-mounted stamps are attached to foam in a similar manner. Foam-mounted stamps are normally cheaper, but they can be harder to use. Unmounted stamps are adhered to blocks of wood or plastic each time you use them, and then transferred back to a storage sheet after cleaning. Unmounted stamps give you the most control over your stamp's placement, and are great for alphabets because you can adhere all of the letters of a word to the block at the same time.

No matter what kind of stamps you buy, they all work in generally the same way. You'll want to start collecting decorative paper, blank cards and other paper products to use as your project surfaces. You can stamp scrapbook pages, bookmarks, and memo pads. The possibilities are endless.

Once you decide what type of project you want to complete, select your stamp and your ink. There are inks in every color, including gold and silver. You can use one color at a time, or you can blend several together. If you plan on decorating the image with colored pencils, chalk or glitter later on, you may want to choose black or gray as the outline color so your colors will show up better.

Many people start using stamps by pressing the stamp down into the ink pad and then pressing it on the paper. The only problem with this is that it leaves you with too much ink on the stamp, which can result in smudging on your paper. A solution to this problem is to turn the stamp over so the rubber faces you and then, holding your ink pad in the other hand, lightly press the ink onto the stamp in short strokes. This way you'll get even coverage without the risk of smudging.

If you want a lighter intensity stamp, press the stamp once on some practice paper and then press the image on your project paper. If not, simply press the stamp on your project paper with even pressure. Don't press too hard. Your pressure should be firm and even, but you shouldn't have to exert a lot of force.

After you've made your stamp, let the ink completely dry before you try to add color. This is unless you are using embossing powder. Embossing powder will make your ink rise slightly so it is raised when you touch it. This is kind of like the treatment that is used on business cards. Embossing powder needs to be added while the ink is still wet and then heated with a craft dryer.

Using rubber stamps is a fun and versatile hobby. You can get stamps in a wide variety of styles and motifs. The best part about it is that with just a little bit of practice, it's easy to become a rubber stamping pro.
About the Author
Jamie Jefferson writes for Momscape.com and Susies-Coupons.com where she shares coupons for discount art supplies and discount craft supplies.
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