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The Basics
Embossing
Masking
Brush Markers on Stamps
Unmounteds & Acrylic Blocks
Techniques
Solids & Shadow Stamping
Nifty Tips & Tricks
Easy Clean-Ups
Punches
Watercolor Pens


The Basics

Embossing
The embossing technique creates the raised effect and can add texture and sparkle to your creations. For the embossing method you need to use either clear embossing ink or pigment ink. These inks remain wet long enough so that you can add the embossing powder. If you are using the clear embossing ink you should use a colored embossing powder. With the colored pigment inks you will want to use a clear embossing powder. These will keep your colors true. There are also embossing pens available so that you can write or draw your own designs to be embossed.

Stamp your image and then sprinkle over it liberally with the powder. The powder will cling to the wet stamped areas. Tap off the loose powder onto a piece of scrap paper and return this excess powder back into the bottle. Use an embossing heat tool to apply heat over the image until the powder melts and raises. Take care to hold the heat tool an inch or two away from the paper and use a continuous motion so as not to burn the paper.



Masking
Masking is a technique that allows you to overlap images so that one image appears to be behind the other. This can be achieved with the help of a simple Post-It note or any paper with an adhesive backing. There are two kinds of masks. Regular masking allows you to create a foreground and a background. A reverse mask allows you to put one image inside of another.

With the first, stamp the foreground image (a cat, for example). Then stamp the cat again on a post-it note as near to the top as possible so that some of your stamped image is on part of the note with the self-adhesive backing. Now carefully cut out the cat image, keeping just inside the line for a seamless look. Place the mask directly over the stamped image. Now stamp the image you wish to appear behind the cat (a garden fence, for example) onto the card and across the mask. Remove the mask and now the garden fence appears to be behind the cat.

To use the second mask type you create a mask that covers the outside of an image, allowing you to stamp on the inside. Put candy in a jar or fill a dress with a pattern for example.



Brush Markers on Stamps
Using water-based brush markers is a great way to get color just where you want it. This method gives you the versatility to apply more than one color to each stamp to create great multi-colored images. Use the markers and color directly onto the rubber of the stamp. Huff or breathe on the stamp to remoisten inks if necessary before stamping. Clean you stamps well and never use permanent ink pens which will stain your stamps.



Unmounted Stamps & Acrylic Blocks
Using unmounted stamps with acrylic blocks is both economical and space saving. There are several methods out there to choose from but my method of choice is to use the Aleene's Tack-It Over and Over Glue. I also don't go to the trouble of using cushion with my unmounteds although some people do. I prefer instead to use a computer mouse pad as a surface under the paper I am stamping on.

Simply brush a thin coating of the glue on the back of your unmounted. It will dry clear, but remain tacky and ready to use in less than an hour. You can trim them to size before or after you glue. (HINT: The glue residue can easily by wiped clean from your scissors with a little clear embossing ink.) Now the unmounted will stick directly onto a acrylic block for stamping and can be pulled off and reused in this way over and over. I store my unmounteds on clear page protector sheets. These are great because you can stamp all your images on a sheet of paper and insert it into the page protector and then stick the corresponding unmounted die over the image on the outside. Everything stores neatly and travels easily in a 3-ring binder.

If you want to give unmounteds a try we offer a selection of acrylic blocks in various sizes to get you started. Our blocks are 3/4" thick just like a wood mount so it feels just right in your hand. Visit our Special Products page for more information.

Techniques

Solids & Shadow Stamping
Solid stamps and silhouettes can be a great compliment to your existing stamp collection. Simple, yet versatile, they can be used for a wide variety of stamping styles. We offer a wide selection of solid shapes and silhouettes in a variety of sizes in our Collage section. Listed below are some of their many uses.

Frames
A solid stamp can be used as a "frame" behind an image stamp. Create a bold or subtle background by varying the amount of ink applied to your solid stamp.

Backgrounds & Borders
Create your own patterns by overlapping a single solid or mixing different shapes. For a more complex background, ink a large solid stamp and cover with multiple images using the additive or subtractive method before stamping the whole thing onto your paper.

Reversing
Ink an image stamp that you want to face in the opposite direction and stamp it onto a solid shape stamp. Print from the solid stamp to reverse the direction of the image.

Nesting
Use pastel or muted color inks and build up from light to dark colors. Stamp a large solid. Stamp a smaller solid over the larger solid. Finish by stamping an image or verse over the second solid.

Additive Inking
Ink a solid stamp with a light color pigment ink. Ink an image stamp with a darker dye ink and stamp directly onto the solid stamp. Stamp the whole thing onto your paper.

Subtractive Inking
Ink a solid stamp with pigment ink. Use a clean, uninked image stamp and stamp directly onto the inked solid. This will remove some of the ink creating a lovely tone on tone mono print effect. Stamp the solid onto your paper.

Nifty Tricks

Easy Clean-Ups
When using shrink plastic use a teflon craft mat so that the plastic doesn't pick up any stray items or stick to the surface it's on. Use a separate one for embossing.

When using Beadazzles the best way to return the leftovers to the container is with a coffee filter.


Punches

To see exactly where you want to use a hole punch or decorative punch, turn your punch upside down and position it where you wish.

Use your decorative punches on shrink plastic. The newer large punches make great jewelry pieces and embellishments.

Save all your punched paper items in a plastic box with lots of separators and use like confetti. Use your punched paper as stencils.


Watercolor Pens

Use one just with bleach!

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