Monday 12 April 2010

Introducing Square Tags

This is one of my new stamps releases for Personal Impressions. One of the reason I designed it for is to be used the original Mixed Sentiments.

It coordinates also with the Square Essentials and the Essentials Circles as you can see in the bottom left corner of the above photo. Also some of the shorter messages from the Mix and Match and Double Sayings also fit inside.

As usual, it coordinates with some punches already out there even though square punches are not as essential as circle ones, but they certainly make life easier. So, which punches work best with this set?


EKsuccess - Whale of a Punch Square Punch or 1 3/8". You can also use the 1 1/4" for a smaller square but then you will loose one line in the larger squares.
From selected shops around the country. One of the web stores that seems to have a good nesting punches selection is Sugar and Spice.

Woodware - 2" Super Punch Square.
Available from shops all around the country, including some of my favorites The Glitter Pot, Artbase, Crafts U Love, Dawn Bibby Design Studio and The Craft Barn.

Stampin Up - 1 3/8" Square punch.
All available from your Stampin Up demonstrator.

EKsuccess - Large Square Scallop Nesting Punch - 1 1/2".
Available from shops all around the country including Crafts U Love and Sir Stampalot.

Woodware - Super Punch Scallop Square - blue 2" punch. Pictured on the bottom row, second from the right.
Available from shops all around the country, including some of my favorites The Glitter Pot, Artbase, Crafts U Love, Dawn Bibby Design Studio and The Craft Barn.

Stampin Up - Scallop Square. The blue teal one on the bottom right of the photo.
All available from your Stampin Up demonstrator


I am often asked which inks work better with my stamps. To be honest it may seem to some a daft question, but it is not. Clear stamps generally are a bit more tricky than traditional rubber stamps when partnered with certain inks, and that hit and miss can scare new stampers.
I am going to admit that I am not the world best nor a very competent stamper. H
do enjoy stamping, experimenting and analyzing my results. I have done so for the last seven years so I know what works for me, and, as I am not the best stamper, I assume people who need help with their stamping can relate to me and my tips.

The first thing that you need to realize with stamping is that the paper or card you are stamping on is as important as is the the stamp and the ink you use. Since Craftwork Cards launched the Digital Ultra Smooth Card, I do not dare use any other white card to stamp in, specially when using dye based inks. It is that good. Also, remember that drying time will always vary depending on room temperature and humidity.

Pigment ink pads - I have always had a weakness for them. They are better quality per nature than dye
based ones
rather than dying the paper like the dye ink pads do, a
pigment pad applies a thin layer of pigment over the card that will be long lasting and light resistant. Pigment inks offer also much more textured finish, maintain the colour better as they are opaque and they work brilliantly with clear stamps. Traditionally, they are slow dry inks which means that they need some kind of setting, embossing powder, heat set or just patience set as I use to do when I let them dry on their own, none of which I excel at. However, there are three types of pigment inks that are in my opinion a great investment as they dry quicker and hence need less patience, those are Chalk Inks, Versafine and Brilliance.

The Fluid chalk inks don't work that great on clear stamps, a bit of a hit and miss ad they tend to stain the clear stamps terribly, but Versamagic -the chalk finish ink pads from Tsukineko- do work very well but they take longer to dry.

Versafine pads are, in my opinion, the ones that give best impression specially when having a solid stamp such as the Essential Circles or the Squares. Versafine will also condition the stamp, but for me the key feature is that they have a felt pa, which is great to avoid over-inking something easy to do with small stamps. The only draw back from this pads is that they don't have a huge variety of colors, but their Black, Vintage Sepia, Deep Lagoon and Spanish Moss are essential. They come in regular size pads as well as in 1" cubes that are ideal for value and storage reasons. If you don't have any of them, give them a try.

Brilliance is a lovely pearlescent ink that dries quickly, even on vellum a traditionally really hard surface for pigment inks to dry. You can buy them in full size pads, in rainbow pads that have three colors or the dew drops, my personal favorite and excellent value for money.

Dye based inks are brilliant for beginners, or so we keep hearing. Personally, I don't completely agree. Yes, they are the best for beginners because they have a felt pad which solves
the first problem of a novice stamper. Over inking is really hard to do with a stiff felt pad. However, dye based inks do not offer a very even layer of ink so if you do have a solid image it is going to be hard to get a good impression.

Apart from Distress inks which are dye based, now I only use Memento dye based inks to stamp as they are, in my opinion, the best dye based ones I have ever used, and also work great with solvent based coloring marker pens such as Copics and Promarkers. You can buy them in full size pads or in the dew drops size.

Solvent based inks are kind of a derivate from dye based inks. What makes them so essential for your tool box is that they will dry on acetate, metal and virtually any other glossy surface. They are water resistant so they are great for watercolor techniques. They are, however, not ideal for clear stamping as the solvent may damage the components that create the stamp. I have been stamping with solvent based pads such as StazOn or Archival for years and I have not encountered any major issues, other than they do stain the stamp terribly and there is no way to remove the stain, so that it you over-ink the stamp they become clear no more. Also, do not ever use the traditional StazOn cleaner on the clear stamps as I have some that are living proof that actually it does damage them but it is only the cleaner on clear stamps. Use the newer StazOn cleaner or a baby wipe which will clean the stamp although not the stain.

Versamark - I could never do a write about ink pads without mentioning the pad that every crafter should have in their toolbox. I have tried some of their competition, and trust me, the original is best. There are so many techniques you can do with it that you will soon realize that it is impossible to call yourself a stamper if you do not own one.

All this ink pads can be found in shops all around the country. Dawn Bibby Design Studio, The Glitter Pot and The Craft Barn have a very good selection of ink pads.


I have been told that some clear stamps are very sticky. Personally I consider that a good thing as some clear stamps are not sticky at all and that means that they are awkward to stamp with - they may fall off the acrylic block - and easy to loose as they wont stick to the backing sheet.If you do not want it to be sticky, then I recommend to use Versafine as I usually do although for a different reason.
I do like to use my Versafine inkpad on any of my new stamps for the first time no matter if they are rubber or clear. Apart from the fact that it is in my opinion that ink gives the best impression, it also conditions the stamp.
Clear stamps will loose their tackiness with dirt and use, so if a new stamp is too tacky, dont worry, it wont stay that way long anyway. You can always clean it with baby wipe that contains no alcohol and it will restore the tackiness.


Fiona said...

Love your new designs and thanks for the advice on punches and ink pads. I agree, you can't go wrong with Versafine or Versamark.

sparklygirl-Tina said...

Hi Paula

Love your new set of stamps - well in fact I love all your stamp collections and I can feel a spend up coming on! Thanks also for this really informative post - particularly inks. I can never remember the difference/purpose for each particular type of ink pad - there are so many out there... No doubt I will be referring back to your post again and again!

Keep up your great work - you are an inspiration.


sparklygirl-Tina said...

Thanks for visiting my blog Paula and ditto!


Julie said...

Paula that was great info about what to use with clear stamps, thank you for taking the time to put the post together. I cant wait to get my hands on all your new stamp sets and I will be adding to my punch collection too.

Rukhshana said...

I was hoping to have a look at your stamps at ally pally but I couldn't find them.

Vince B said...

Oh yes! More great stamps for us to get.
Have got most of your others, their great.
I agree with you about Versafine it's my favourite ink to use.
Vince X

D said...

These are gorgeous stamps. Looking forward to getting hold of a set!

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