Understanding different types of stamp
10 November 2014 | Admin
If you are new to stamping, you may be confused by the terms used, so let me run through the different types of stamp that are available and how to care for them.
Unmounted Rubber Stamps
Unmounted rubber stamp sets come as a single uncut sheet of rubber with several images all on the one sheet. They need to be cut out before use and mounted onto a 'handle' which is typically a clear acrylic block. You can mount the individual stamps permanently onto blocks (eg traditional wood blocks), but it is much more economical to purchase a selection of acrylic blocks in different sizes and use them as temporary handles. See below for different mounting options.
Unmounted Clear Stamps
Clear stamps are already cut out for you and come on a polyester storage sheet. They are made from a polymer resin which leaves the stamps slightly tacky which means they stick to an acrylic block without the need for glue or mounting cushion. To avoid the natural tackiness picking up unwanted dust and fluff, always return to a protective polyester sheet when not in use. (Avoid storing on other plastics as they can cause a reaction with the polymer.)
How to mount your unmounted rubber stamps
Self cling cushion
We recommend Cling-a-ling stamp mounting cushion. It comes in sheet form and has a self adhesive side to which you attach your stamps, and a 'cling' side which attaches to an acrylic block. You will need a piece of cushion for each stamp as you attach it permanently to the back of the rubber.
To attach it, first ensure that the back of the rubber is clean and free from dust, glitter, embossing powder etc. Peel back the protective paper cover from the adhesive side of cushion to expose one third of the sheet.
With the stamp images facing you, align the back of the rubber stamps against the edge of the cushion (you may find it easier to trim the rubber to fit the cushion before you start).
Peel back the remaining paper and press down the rubber stamp sheet.
Remove the release paper from the cling side of the cushion.
Using a sharp pair of non-stick scissors cut out each individual stamp, trimming close to the image. Try to keep your cuts straight so that you dont undercut the stamp.
The stamps are now ready to attach to a suitably sized acrylic block.
Tack 'n' Peel
Tack 'n' Peel is an ingenious solution to using unmounted stamps. It is a sheet of tacky material, 6 x 4 inches in size, with a permanent adhesive backing on one side. The recommended way to use it is to stick it to an acrylic block, then you cut out your unmounted stamps and they will stick to the tacky side of the tack and peel when you want to use the stamp. The stamp will peel off easily and the tacky surface can be re-used almost indefinitely. If it loses its tackiness due to fluff, glitter, etc, then simply rinse it under the tap and let it air dry and it will become tacky again.
Cut out each individual stamp trimming close to the image.
Using a repositionable glue or glue stick, apply an even coat to the back of the stamp.
Attach to a suitably sized acrylic block.
After use, wash the glue off both the back of the stamp and your acrylic block.
If using this method, you may need some form of 'cushion' to act as a base for your stamping; a mouse mat can be useful for this. Place your mouse mat on the table, lay your paper/card over the top and then you are ready to stamp. If you are still not getting a good impression you probably need to invest in some self-cling cushion such as Cling-a-ling.
Cleaning your Stamps
For a quick fix you can use baby wipes to clean the ink from you stamps. However, for a more intense clean, especially if you have neglected them for a while, clean your stamps with an appropriate cleaner for the type of ink used. For example a dye based ink can be cleaned off with a water based cleaner, whilst permanent ink needs Stazon Cleaner. A Magic Carpet Stamp Cleaner can also be very useful for getting stubborn ink out of the crevices.
Storing Unmounted Stamps
Stamps on self-cling cushion will stick to laminated card or smooth plastic. Do NOT store your stamps on acetate or OHP film as this can cause a reaction with the cushion and stop it working properly.
Never leave your stamps in direct sunlight as, over time, sunlight can harden the rubber.
Getting the best from your stamps
Occasionally, brand new stamps may not give a crisp image first time and this is easily fixed by cleaning the stamps before use. Always test on scrap paper and if necessary, clean with a stamp cleaner such as StazOn Cleaner to remove any manufacturing residue.
If you are getting ink around the image, you are probably picking up ink from the background rubber and need to trim the stamps more. You can usually see this and it gives you an indication of where you need to trim a little more. Alternatively you may be over inking the stamp - always take the inkpad to the stamp and lightly tap over the image several times to ink it up. By using this method you are less likely to squash the stamp into the pad, which causes you to pick up excess ink.
Chocolate Baroque stamps are made in England with all the care and love you would expect from a quality company. If you look after your stamps and give them as much care and attention as we did in the making, they will give you many, many years of beautifully reproduced images.