If you want to start out with stamping it’s easy to get overwhelmed by everything there is. There are also lots of lists about the bare necessities when it comes to stamping. I’ll give you mine. But – decide for yourself if you want the brand stuff or want to try out with some cheaper stuff or things you allready own. Be creative! There are a few execptions though – ink, embossingpowder and chalk: cheap stuff shows and is not comparable to the “brand” stuff.
- (yes, it’s that simple.)
To be a bit more specific:
- clear stamps + acryllic block that is large enough to fit the individual stamps. (also not too large!)
- ink: depends on how and if you want to colour your stamped image. My preference is water soluble ink to colour with, waterproof ink to stamp with.
- (Ranger distress ink is watercolour ink, Stazon is waterproof ink also suitable for glossy surfaces but not adviced for clearstamps. For clearstamps, versafine or maybe archival ink). (Ofcourse you could also stamp with the water soluble ink and colour with pencils.)
- paper: try out different sorts of paper. There is special stamping paper but it’s more expensive. My advice for Dutch people: Get the correspondence cards from the HEMA and the unicolour karton. The cardboard is for the back of the card (although it’s a shame it’s not in white – that is my preference, but at least this is not expensive AND firm). Tip: Trim the correspondence cards before stamping to a slightly smaller size. This way, when you stick it to the folded bit of the card, there will be a margin around the correspondence card where the back card shows. It’s like framing the card.
So this is the bare basic list. But ofcourse there are lots of other nice things… I’ll show you my basic workdesk.
My workspace with a few basic items. First, you’ll need stamps. (Or do you? You could also make your own from potatoes, and use paint to stamp, or use other objects).
From left to right bottom row: clear stamp on acryllic block, foam (EZ-mount) mounted grey rubber stamp, foam mounted red rubber stamp, wood mounted red rubber stamp, pink rubber unmounted stamp, stampsheet, backside of an ez-mount mounted stamp.
These are clear stamps from HEMA. (A warehouse in the Netherlands). Clearstamps are easy for beginners as you can see where your stamp will be placed. The quality of clearstamp also ranges widely. Clearstamps generally are less detailed (less fine lines) then rubber stamps. In this package there is also an acryllic block included. The clear stamps will stick to that, and that is the way you stamp. The inkpads that are next to the stamps are cheap ones, I don’t use them anymore.
A side view of the foam mounted stamp. Foam mounted stamps save space and you can see the outline of the stamp. The colour of the rubber doesn’t indicate anything about the quality.
The EZ Mount foam is sold in sheets, you stick the rubber on it and cut it out (it is easiest with a special sharp and short scissors which are not visible in these pictures). Normal sciccors will do too but they cut less precise.
Next up is ink and the applicators.
Left is the distress ink – it comes in two sizes. The smaller ones are empty sooner (my big ones last LONG). Small is easy for travel and eh… well there’s fans of the small ones. They know more benefits. It’s just preference I guess, and I prefer the big ones. The distress ink isn’t so much ink to stamp with – it is more of a colouring medium to use for creating backgrounds or colouring images. For backgrounds, you need an applicator: You’ve got the ones with the handles and klitteband foam pads on them, but I prefer the make up wedges on the right. The triangular one is from the hema, and I prefer the rounded one which I haven’t found an equal of in The Netherlands. (Got mine from chocolate baroque in the UK.) The well known brand Ranger was about the first to come up with the applicators with handles but are a bit expensive. Now there are also cheaper tools that look the same.
Next is Versafine – it’s an oily ink and dries slower. Good for detailed stamping or usage with clearstamps. My experience with watercolouring over them is not great – the water does affect the ink. (Maybe doesn’t do that with other paper though). Because the ink dries slower it can be used for embossing powder as well (more on that later).
StazOn – stays on! It stamps on almost any surface. Does have a distinct smell and is not advised for clear stamps as the chemicals in the ink could damage the clear stamps in the long term. (Ofcourse I used Stazon on my clearstamp and haven’t noticed any deterioration of the stamps yet). (Oh ofcourse it will discolour the clear stamp! sometimes [often] even so much that you can’t see through anymore.)
A stazon all purpose stamp cleaner solution can be usefull if you want to use more colours of Stazon. Distress ink can be washed off easily with water/ soapy water (use mild products).
Must have for finishing touches:
- A white gelpen or sharpie (try out several, I still haven’t found my champion yet) (for highlights, adds dimension)
- Waterbrush (although a dry brush and water will do too but this makes it sooo much easier to “watercolour”.)
- Black waterproof fineliner (for definition, adds dimension to images)
- A spray bottle. The regular spray bottles spray quite neatly with fine drops. For the aged and distressed effect you’d need a more coarse sprayer like the ranger spray bottle on the right.
Glue and double sided gluetape. I actually don’t use this all purpose glue anymore, I use the white glue now: Aleene’s tacky Glue. Glues very well! I don’t reccommend sticks – they dry up brittle and the paper can seperate more easily therefore. For matting (layering) the card I prefer the tape. For sticking on diecuts I use glue or foam dots (not on the picture but easily available at e.g. Action)
- A cutting machine makes life so much easier (as opposed to a ruler and cutting knife).
- Paper scissors – I’ve got two types, one is too small (short blades) to my liking. The one on the picture is my favourite for delicate cutting.
A cutting mat, knife and ruler are still very usefull but I don’t use those a lot anymore for cardmaking.
I mentioned embossing powder before. This is not mandatory when you start stamping, it’s like the next step or addon.
Embossing ( making a depression in something) can be done cold and hot. Cold embossing is when you use embossing folders or the old-fashioned way and embossing mat and embossing pen. The paper is pressed (with the tool or a machine) into another shape.
Hot embossing doesn’t actually do anything to the paper – it merely adds plastic to it.I’ll explain.
Stamp with versamark (watermark stamp pad, it is a juicy slightly sticky pad. It is ment to leave a watermark or a thin layer to which other mediums can easily attach: powder. (Pan pastels (which are chalk powders, like eyeshadow) and embossing powder). Embossing powder is actually plastic powder which you pour over the stamped image (stamped with versamark). Shake off the excess (back in the jar) and melt the powder using a heat gun. Or melt it above your stove (though you have to be really careful when doing this). Also on the pictures is an anti-static dust bag (baby powder would do) which reduces the amount of embossing powder that sticks to unstamped parts of the paper .
Ofcourse you don’t need to really think of this right away, but a good storage protects your stamp but also is easily accesible. I could spend a whole post about storage so not going to do that now. Also on the picture is an old cloth, stamp positioning tool and distress markers. Many people use baby wipes (without alcohol. Or lotion, I forgot, as I don’t use them). I’m quite environmentally aware so do not like to use up that many bleached disposable products. So also no kitchen towels for me – I just use old rages. Works fine, you can just wash them. Discoloration of that cloth (due to ink that doesn’t come off) doesn’t reduce it’s usefullness.
I almost forgot one of my best “friends”: the craft sheet! It’s basically a reusable baking (teflon) sheet in brown rather then black, so you can see the colours off it. Most stuff doesn’t stick to it. There are several brands, I prefer the one with a sticky bottom from Flexicover so it doesn’t move.
Ofcourse you can also start with a non-stick cheaper craft sheet like ones found on craftsheet.nl
So my basic list with things that make it easier and finishing touches:
- Stamps (clear stamps + acryllic block, wood mounted stamps, unmounted foam stamps + EZ mount / mounting foam + acryllic block)
- Distress ink and Stazon
- Versafine and Archival up next
- Hema correspondence cards
- A white gelpen or sharpie
- Black waterproof fineliner
- A spray bottle
- Tacky (white) glue,
- double sided adhesive tape
- A cutting machine
- Paper sciccors
- old cloth/towel
- craft sheet