STAMPING TIPS

Polymer Stamps

Any stamp you purchase from Fernbank Studio is created in a flexible polymer. Once set it is clear (it may have a slight pink tint). This means that when it is used with a clear block you can see EXACTLY where you are putting it on the paper. Stamps are permanently mounted onto a hard acrylic block as standard but if prefer unmounted then just ask*. The benefit of pre-mounting is it is ready to use.

*Unmounted stamps do not have a cling backing so you would need to add your own adhesive or 'stamp cling' if you choose that option.

Surfaces

As long as you use the correct ink then you can stamp onto most surfaces.

  • Card and Paper (matt and glossy)
  • Fabric (natural and synthetic)
  • Wood
  • Plastics or metals (specialist ink required)

For the best outcome, it is recommend to stamp onto a smooth, flat surface. We advise against stamping onto a curved surface as the ink will not be able to touch the surface evenly which will likely create a patchy outcome. Bubble envelopes or corrugated cardboard are also not very smooth so it is recommended that you stamp onto labels which you then attach to that kind  packaging.

If you plan to stamp onto fabric then you need to decide if it needs to be washable or not. Specialist fabric ink pads are advised for all fabric as it is likely to bleed less than one designed for paper. Some inks can be ironed/ pressed to ensure it is washable at 30 degrees. Please consider the complexity of the stamp design if using on fabric or wood as simpler designs are more effective, small text or tiny details are not advised.

ranger_ink_1

Choosing Ink

There are hundreds of types and brands of ink. The quality and outcomes can also vary massively so it is best to check a few different ones to see what you prefer to use. Here are a few of the most common options available:

  1. Dye Ink – Ranger Archival Ink is the brand I stock. It is a good ink for using with regular paper and card, it comes in a wide variety of colours but bear in mind that the colour of the surface with affect the final shade. It also often dries lighter. You shouldn’t have any issues with over inking if you use a light touch but you might find dye ink will bleed on fabrics and wood. Memento is another good quality dye ink brand.
  2. Pigment Ink – Pigment inks sit on the surface rather than soaking in like dye ink so it is useful on a wider range of surfaces. However, it can take a while to dry so is prone to smudging and overinking. Due to the fact it sits on the surface you get a wider choice of colours such as chalky, pastels and metallics which you cannot achieve with dye ink. I recommend Versacolor or Versacraft as a pigment ink for using with multi surfaces.
  3. Solvent Ink – Solvent inks such as Stazon and the cleaners are not recommended for use with this kind of stamp as they disintegrate the polymer.

Stamping Tips

When you are ready to stamp then lay out your tools and materials. Make sure you are protecting any surfaces incase you spill any ink. Have a piece of scrap paper to practise on and a damp cloth or baby wipes for cleaning up after.

The best method of transferring ink to a stamp is by laying the stamp face up on the table and gently tapping the ink pad into the stamp multiple times for even coverage especially for larger stamps. You can then carefully pick it up and press smoothly onto the paper. You should not need to press too hard but make sure that the whole stamp gets contact otherwise you might find missing patches.

Gently lift it away from the paper, being careful not to smudge it, especially if using an ink that requires time to dry. Once you have finished stamping or wish to change to a different colour ink then make sure you clean off the remaining ink, this is when a damp cloth or baby wipe is useful. Depending on the ink, it might stain the clear stamp but if clean and dry, it shouldn’t affect further stamping projects.

Quick Video on How to Stamp

TROUBLESHOOTING: If you over ink your stamp, get it too wet, are too rough or forget to clean the polymer, it will shorten the life of your stamp. Occasionally a stamp might detach from the acrylic block especially with a lot of use but it is nothing to worry about. You can give it a good wash in warm soapy water, removing any residue of adhesive (acetone nail polish remover can remove any stubborn pieces), dry it and reattach using a strong double sided tape. A well looked after stamp will last for many years with regular use.

Artwork Requirements

You need to decide what kind of stamp you need for your project. Choose from a range of pre-made designs exclusive to Fernbank Studio or purchase a custom made or personalised stamp. Why not have your own logo, drawing or design made into a stamp. If you do not have a design to use, then choose a template design from the shop to personalise or I can create a simple text based design for your stamp.

If you supply a design then you (or your designer) needs to make sure your artwork meets the following requirements:

  • It is easily translatable into black/white (no shadows/gradients/ colour blocks touching) You can supply it in colour though.
  • It is high quality (high resolution is 300dpi) and a reasonable size. I will do any scaling so please don’t worry if you don’t have the exact size file.
  • It is a PDF or a high quality PNG or JPG (both white or transparent backgrounds are fine)
  • Any text on the file is at least 10pt (12pt for fancy or script fonts) when scaled down. If you are unsure then you can ask before ordering and I will have an estimate but ultimately it is down to you to decide if it will be big enough/clear enough.
  • Please be aware that there are size limitations on the custom stamps and that most existing logo files will not perfectly fit the maximum dimensions. For example, if you choose a medium, a rectangular logo will be up to 7 x 4cm, however a circle or square would only be 4 x 4cm (not 7 x 7cm) as 4cm high is the maximum. 
  • Your logo will likely need scaling up or down, it will not be stretched or distorted out of proportion. Please specify at the time of ordering if you want specific dimensions, not the maximum.