Are you looking for the best stamping tools? Do you want to learn how to use stamp blocks, clear stamps, and stamping press? Are you in need of versatile and budget-friendly card stamping kits? Whether you have just discovered the wonderful world of stamping or you have been stamping for a while, this 10-minute read will answer all your burning questions about stamping!
In this quick guide, you will find the following:
What is a stamp?
Rubber stamps vs. Clear stamps
Stamps in paper crafting
What are stamping tools?
Stamp positioning tool vs. Acrylic stamp block
How to use stamp blocks
What tools do I need for card making?
What Is a Stamp?
What comes to your mind when you hear the word “stamp”? Postage stamps? Rubber stamps? Acrylic stamps? Digital stamps?
For paper crafters, the two most popular types of stamps are rubber and acrylic. Although the usage of stamps in paper crafting is relatively recent, the history of stamps dates way back to ancient times. Back in the earlier days, wooden stamps were extensively used for woodblock printing. Wooden stamps were a popular method used to print designs on clothes during 220 AD in China. The art of woodblock printing (also known as block printing) is a method to print text, pictures, or patterns on a printable surface. The use of inks and rubber stamps are relatively recent concepts.
Altenew Clear Stamps
Rubber Stamps vs. Clear Stamps
Before you grow your collection of stamping tools and supplies, it is essential to learn a bit about rubber stamps and clear stamps. Depending on the kind of arts and crafts you are into, you will probably find yourself leaning toward one or the other. Or both!
What exactly are clear stamps? Often called photopolymer stamps, polymer stamps, acrylic stamps, or clear rubber stamps, these stamping supplies are clear or almost transparent. Photopolymer and acrylic are actually two kinds of clear stamps. The variety of stamp designs, sizes, and patterns make it ideal for paper crafting projects and hobbies such as card making, scrapbooking, journaling, mixed media art, and DIY home decoration.
While traditional rubber stamps are mounted on a woodblock, clear stamps aren’t. They come in an acetate backing sheet and a protective sheet. To use them, you will need a stamping press or a clear stamp block. Wood-mounted rubber stamps are considered more durable and easier to use since there is no need to mount them onto a stamping tool. However, unlike with clear acrylic stamps, it is difficult to see the placement of your stamped image when using a wood-mounted rubber stamp. The latter is also a bit bulkier, heavier, pricier, and harder to store than clear photopolymer and acrylic stamps.
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Here are nine must-know features of a clear photopolymer stamp!
- It is clear and almost transparent so that you can see through it.
- It has an imprinted design.
- It is made of photopolymer or clear vinyl.
- It has a flat side and a raised side.
- One side is smooth, while the other side is tacky or sticky.
- It comes with an acetate backing sheet and a protective sheet.
- You need to mount it onto a clear stamp block to use it.
- Each stamp design can come in individual packaging depending on the manufacturer, or one package can have multiple stamps featuring different designs on one sheet.
- It comes in different sizes - the most popular are 6” x 8” stamp sets.
If you need a crash course about clear stamps and everything related to it, start by learning about stamping here!
Crafter's Essential Cutting and Alignment Mat
Stamps in Paper Crafting
Did you know that over 4% of all people in the U.S. have stamps and stamping supplies in their tool kit! These are used for all kinds of craft projects, including handmade cards, DIY gifts, scrapbook pages, home decor and ornaments, journaling, DIY tags, and more.
From wood-mounted rubber stamps to clear photopolymer and acrylic stamps, the use of stamps on handmade crafts has been total game-changers. Even beginners in crafting can easily create the most beautiful and unique crafts with the help of a stamp. Stamps, along with a stamping tool and supplies, can turn something from zero to a hundred. In recent years, the number of crafting enthusiasts and hobbyists who use stamps has grown exponentially. Nowadays, you will find many arts and crafts stores selling stamping supplies, card stamping kits, stamping press, and other paper crafting supplies online and offline.
Red Cosmos Gradient Cardstock & Hibiscus Garden 3D Die Set Bundle
Moreover, companies have started designing and making extraordinarily creative and innovative stamps. For instance, layered stamps have dominated the world of card making in recent years. Before their advent, stampers had to make do with outline stamps or solid stamps, and fussy cut their stamped images. These game-changing stamps allow stampers to do multi-step stamping, therefore adding more dimension and depth to their stamped design. Matching dies are also available for most of these layered stamps, which will add a three-dimensional look to any stamped image.
As time goes by, more and more card makers and paper crafters have turned stamping into a must-try activity. A cornucopia of incredibly creative stamping techniques has also been invented, developed, or recreated by card makers worldwide. The video below shows a simple but fun spotlight stamping technique.
What Are Stamping Tools?
Now that you’ve learned a bit about stamps and stamping, it’s time to figure out which stamping tool suits you best!
Before the advent of the popular stamping press MISTI (Most Incredible Stamp Tool Invented), life was simpler and arguably not that “incredible.” Stampers used a clear acrylic stamp block to mount their clear stamps, and it was a much simpler process.
My Sweet Petunia MISTI - Original
Now, what are the differences between these two stamping tools?
Stamp Positioning Tool
Acrylic Stamp Block
This stamping platform can be used for mass production and repeated stamping.
This is a piece of thick clear acrylic.
It is perfect for aligned and precise stamping every single time.
It is usually square or rectangular shaped, but there are some circle-shaped and some with ridges or ripples on the edges for easier grip.
It is preferred for techniques such as layered or multi-step stamping and aligning letters.
This serves as the platform for your clear photopolymer stamp.
It can be used for both clear acrylic stamps and red rubber stamps.
It is clear so you can see your stamp placement and where you’re stamping on your paper.
Its hinged lid, which is clear and transparent, acts as the “stamping block.” It has grid lines for easy stamp placement and alignment.
Acrylic stamp blocks usually have grid lines on them. These will help you line up your stamp image nicely on your paper or cardstock, especially when you’re doing stamp layering.
Some come with magnets or require the use of removable tape to help keep your cardstock or paper in place.
One size fits all. If you get a decent, medium-sized acrylic block, you can use it for most of your stamp sets since most stamp sizes will fit in nicely. Although, you can always get these clear acrylic stamp blocks in different sizes and shapes.
While most cardmakers prefer a stamping press like the MISTI due to its revolutionary features and convenience, beginners and experienced stampers still prefer the small, travel-friendly, and easy-to-use acrylic stamp blocks. The latter is also relatively cheaper than a stamp positioning tool. At the end of the day, it’s a personal preference.
Acrylic Block Set
How To Use Stamp Blocks
- To start, remove your chosen photopolymer stamp from the acetate sheet and place it onto your clear acrylic stamp block.
- You will need an acrylic block larger than your image but not too much larger as it will be more challenging to handle. This is why it’s crucial to invest in a few different-sized stamp blocks for your convenience.
- Ink up your stamp using an ink color. To do this, place the acrylic stamp block (with the stamp attached to it) on a solid surface. It’s best to use a stamping mat or a crafting mat to ensure that your surface is smooth and clean.
Altenew Stamping Supplies
What Tools Do I Need For Card Making?
If you’re entirely new to stamping and card making, you need to have a few essential stamping supplies in your crafting tool kit.
These are your investments. As a beginner in stamping, having a few decent, high-quality, and versatile stamp sets is essential. You don’t need to splurge on these right away. Having a couple of stamps for craft from different categories or themes should be enough.
2. Clear Stamp Block
This is your secret weapon. A stamper without an acrylic stamp block is akin to a painter without a paintbrush. It’s good to keep a variety of sizes for different-sized stamp designs.
Inks from Altenew
Dye ink, pigment ink, mixed media ink, and embossing ink - are some of the inks that stampers commonly use for their crafts. The ink you use will depend on the technique you use and the outcome you wish to achieve.
4. Paper or Cardstock
Similar to a painter’s canvas, paper and cardstock are a stamper’s “blank canvas.” This is where the magic begins. Like every other essential crafting supply, you need to make sure that you get high-quality and durable paper and cardstock. You don’t want to spend hours creating your handmade cards or scrapbook pages only to realize the cardstock you used isn’t durable or high-quality.
Cardstock and Paper from Altenew
5. Stamping Mat
Unless you’re okay with your crafting desk looking like a Jackson Pollock painting, you’re going to need a stamping or crafting mat. This silicone mat will help keep your surfaces clean and ink-free and save you a lot of headaches. The video below will show you a sneak peek into our best-selling Crafter’s Essential Stamping Mat.
As you go through your stamping journey, you will eventually need more paper crafting goodies such as dies, stencils, alcohol markers, washi tapes, watercolor sets, patterned papers, embossing powders, ink sprays, and more. The more stamping techniques you learn, the more tools and supplies you’ll need. For those just starting out, it is recommended to try bundles, sets, or card stamping kits. These are more budget-friendly and specially curated so you can easily create your handmade cards, scrapbook layouts, and other DIY crafts. These card making tool kits are readily available in most online craft stores.
If you’re ready to jumpstart your stamping and card making adventure, Altenew is the leading online store selling stamping tools!
Your Ultimate Guide to Paper Crafting
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