My favorite paper crafting tool: clear stamps.
Reasons why I love them:
- Smaller and less bulky than traditional rubber stamps (makes for ease of storage).
- Translucent so you can see exactly where you are stamping, no guessing game here!
- Less expensive than wood mounted rubber stamps and you can generally find them in themed packs.
- Easy to clean (you don’t have to worry about water logging any wooden mounts).
- Endless designs and themes to choose from.
- Available in most craft stores and craft sections of stores such as Target and Walmart.
Some things to be wary of:
- First use: clear stamps need to be conditioned prior to use because they naturally repel ink, otherwise, the ink pools and doesn’t give a clear image. Blockheads Paper Arts suggests using a pink eraser to “scuff the surface” in their article Clear Polymer Stamps: Using Conditioning and Storing.
- Because they are polymer, clear stamps won’t last as long as rubber stamps, they may get gooey or harden with time.
- They are not hard like rubber stamps, but very pliable. So if you push down too hard when stamping, the image may be distorted, so be gentle!
- As a result of their pliability and lack of back mount, they may tear.
- Certain solvents will slowly destroy the polymer, so avoid StazOn inks and cleaners (they’re OK to use with rubber stamps, though).
- As with all stamping, be careful of the material you are stamping as some materials bleed, like satin ribbon (I made that mistake!)
How to Use Them
I know when I first received clear stamps as a gift, I was clueless and confused as to how to use them, but it didn’t take long to figure it out. It’s very simple, you’ll just need a stamp block (I prefer a set like this one since it comes with three sized blocks), gently remove the stamp from its packaging, adhere to the block, position and stamp away!
For Long Lasting Enjoyment
Because polymer may break down more easily than the rubber used in traditional wood mounted stamps, more care needs to be taken in order to extend their usage lifetime (to get the best out of rubber stamps, extra care should be taken for storage and cleaning as well, but it may differ from clear stamps). Store in a light free zone (away from both indoor lighting and sunlight) and keep away from acetone, bleach and oil based products. I keep mine in a repurposed tin box, but any other sealable container would work perfectly. To clean, use baby wipes, mild soap and water, alcohol, or liquid stamp cleaners like these and remember to avoid StazOn cleaning products for clear stamps.
Have fun, be creative and go get your stamp on! Have a great idea for stamping or other stamping tips? Leave a comment for everyone to benefit!Thanks to Blockheads Paper Arts for their helpful article Clear Polymer Stamps: Using Conditioning and Storing and Artylicious for the informational post Clear Stamps versus Rubber Stamps