About Me

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I am married to Basilio Ruiz and thank God daily for bringing this wonderful man back into my life. I am a Christian mom of 4 (the youngest 3 are still at home with me) Ashleigh is 22, Amanda is 17, Joshua & Jeremy are 13. I am an independent CTMH consultant and love sharing the art of scrapbooking, cardmaking, and papercrafting with others.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Saturday Stamping Savvy

I am teaching an online stamping class for one of my scrapping groups. I thought I would also post here and it would be an easy place for people to refer back to.

I should probably start by saying I am a diehard acrylic fan. The clear acrylics allow you to do so many things with ease that are difficult, if not impossible, with wood mounted images. Close To My Heart is my absolute favorite company for acrylic stamps. They are made of the highest quality polymer, made to last a lifetime, and provide crisp and clean images. For those of you just starting out, yes you can buy less expensive acrylic stamps but truly you get what you pay for. And for those who have tried it in the past using images like those found in the $1.00 bargain bins of some stores those are the stamps that give acrylics a bad name...... give it another try with a quality stamp.

Today's post is going to be twofold...... covering what I believe are the advantages of acrylics over wood mounts and also covering the care and cleaning of acrylics.

A major advantage of acrylics are that the images and blocks are clear. This means you can place images EXACTLY where you want them...... this is especially awesome with layered detail stamps. Before Close to My Heart went acrylic I used wood mounted stamps and was often discouraged by having "messed up" a scrapbook page because I could not accurately place my image where I wanted it or a detail image from a layered stamp could not be lined up correctly. With the clear acrylics I can see exactly where my image is going to be. I love this! I have well over 200 stamp sets in my inventory and have been known to use my stamps to create my own background paper to coordinate perfectly with my photos (a technique known as random stamping that I will teach later) as well as stamping most of my page embellishments.

Next let's talk storage. I have 4 Iris carts (each with several drawers) full of wood mounted stamps I never use anymore. CTMH stamps come in a fairly flat 6x6 plastic envelope. I use baskets from the dollar store for storage and have my entire inventory sorted into about a dozen of these stackable baskets. I have then sorted in a way that makes sense for me (retired images, flowers and girly, masculine themed, sets I use most often for scrapping, sets I use most often for cards, alphabets, etc).

And the last major advantage is price. Once you own a few basic sizes of the acrylic blocks you never have to pay for your "mount" again as opposed to wood mounted stamps where you pay for the wood mount for each image in the set. This makes the acrylics approximately half the price of an equivalent set of wood mounted stamps

Acrylics are as easy to use as they are to store. They work kind of like window cling..... simply peel your image off the carrier sheet and the same side that was against the sheet goes against your block. This is another area where the ability to see through your images and blocks comes in handy. You can build a word or title on a longer block (remember it will be "right side up when you flip you block so you will spell "backwards" when placing your letters on your block). CTMH blocks have a white line along one edge to help with lining things up. Another tip for making this easy... use a cutting mat with grid line. Place your letters along the line to spell what you want and then place your block over them to pick them up while maintaining their straight placement. Inking your image is easy too. I use the "twist, twist, twist, tap, tap,tap method...... just like it sounds place your image (already on the block) on your ink pad with a gentle pressure twist back and forth 3 times then tap into the ink pad 3 times. This gives a very nice, even coat of ink. (Before stamping look through your block to make sure you have no stray ink smudges on it. If you do simply wipe them off with a tissue) When stamping it is often helpful to have a thin piece of craft foam (or the foam that comes as part of your packaging with the CTMH stamps) under your paper. Think of this as replacing the foam piece between the image and mount in wood mounted stamps. Place your image straight down, apply a gentle pressure using your palm (never "rock" your stamp) across the entire image, then lift straight up. When doing things like layering a detailed outline over a base image I find it helpful to stand so I am looking straight down over my images. I line up one edge of the detail and then lower the rest of the image until it is flat and again apply that nice, even pressure.

My last tip for today is a few basic "care and cleaning" instructions. Because acrylics work like window clings they will eventually lose their "stickiness" due to the grease from your fingers while handling them. When this happens simple wash them in warm soap and water. I use dish soap..... any that does not contain aloe or lanolin. Rinse them well and lay them to air dry with the side that will stick to your carrier sheet facing up. I usually wash them in a bowl them dump into a pasta colander to rinse. This helps make sure I don't lose any down my drain. In a pinch, like at a crop, when you don't have time to do this I find a squirt of spritz cleaner works well.

Also, one thing to remember with acrylics is they do tend to get a bit of staining from use..... especially with red and pink inks. This staining is slight and does nothing to harm your stamp. As long as they are properly cleaned after use this staining will not affect anything you stamp with them in the future.

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