Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Basic lessons in stamping

This past weekend, I began experimenting with my Close to my Heart inks.  For the basic Christmas themed tags, I used the exclusive inks mini pigment pads.  (The tags were cut using the Cricut Artbooking cartridge.)

In the past, if I wanted colours on one stamped image.  I would use markers to colour in each area. For the tags, I decided to see if I could use the small ink pads to come up with similar results.

My experiments introduced and reminded me of some basic stamping tips:

1) STAMPS WITH TEXT - Be sure that your text is facing the right direction (both up and down, as well as side to side).  I wasn't paying attention, and instead of stamping "Ho, ho, ho", I stamped "Oh, oh, oh" - this mistake would have quite a different meaning for a present tag.  To fix it, I turned the tag upside down and added the Christmas candy image. (From Candyland set.)

New mini stamp - SANTA'S GREETING (M1028)
found on page 113 of the Autumn/Winter 2013 CTMH catalogue

2) STAMP PRESSURE AND PLACEMENT - In the past, using wooden stamps, I would oftensort of rock my stamp a little bit to ensure that the entire image transferred from the stamp to the paper.  This technique does not work with acrylic stamps, it creates a smudge, or double line effect. (Shown in the tag above.)  It is important to press firmly on the stamp, with even pressure.  Do not rock or twist the stamp.  When finished, lift the stamp straight up to prevent any errors from occuring within your image.

3) OMBRE - If you are going for the ombre effect, choose a range of shades from light to dark of the same colour.  It is best to test the ink colours on a scrap paper before stamping on your actual project.  I forgot to test mine and discovered that just like paint samples, the colour that results on the project is different from the way the swatch or in this case the ink pad appears.

4)  MULTI-COLOURED - When trying to use more than one colour on the same stamp, there are many different techniques to use.  This particular stamp has images that are very rounded, while the ink pads are square with straight edges.  As such, when I attempted this the first time, I didn't get proper coverage on the edge of the letter that was closest to the next letter.

The second time, I inked from left to right.  I covered the images that I didn't want the ink to touch with a piece of paper.  Using the corner of the ink pad also helped to ensure that the ink didn't bleed over onto the other letters.

First attempt

Second attempt

Stamp from CANDYLAND set (D1557)
found on page 80 of the Autumn/Fall CTMH catalogue

5)  INKING TECHNIQUE - There are many different ways to apply ink to stamps.  For the full size stamp pads, which are firmer, it works best to place the ink pad on a flat, firm surface and press the stamp into the ink.

With the mini pigment pads which are soft with more liquid ink, it is best to do the opposite.  Place the stamp (already placed on the stamp block) on a firm, flat surface and press the ink down onto the stamp. I found a dabbing motion worked best to ensure full coverage.

6) Above all, experiment and have fun!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Clearly the Best: Wacky Washi (S02E04)

Playing with the CTMH product for the first time

I was so excited to play with my first shipment of Close to my Heart products. All these new stamps and inks and gadgets... oh my, where to begin!?!?

As a long time fan of Cricut, I decided to use my new Cricut cartridge first. It had been a while since I used my machine, so I decided to start with some simple shapes that had corresponding stamps with them.

Artbooking, my new CTMH Cricut cartridge, came with three sets of stamps and three pages of dimensional elements. The stamps correspond with shapes on the cartridge, as do the dimensional elements.

The great thing about the stamps was the fact that on the cover sheet itself, it told me which page of the Cricut manual contained the image that matched the stamp I wanted to use. It also told me the correct size to cut the image so that it matched the size of the stamp image. This made cutting out matching shapes a breeze!

I pulled out a stack of kraft coloured paper and merrily started cutting away.

Once I had all of the shapes cut out, it was time to try out my new inks and stamps. I was impressed with the entire CTMH set up.

a) The clear acrylic blocks have an etched line that allows you to line up your image.

b) The clear block allows you to see the cut piece that you are stamping onto to ensure correct alignment of the stamped image.

c) You can see if your stamp image is completely covered in ink by looking at it directly or through the stamp block.

d) The stamp and ink combination allowed for complete coverage. Other stamps I have used (both clear and wooden) often have splotchy areas where the ink doesn't transfer.

e) How easy it was to wipe the stamp block to remove any excess ink and prevent the excess from transferring to my project. All in all, a fun experiment with my new products.

Shapes cut from Artbooking Cricut cartridge
Stamped images from My Life stamps (from Artbooking set)

Also from My Life stamp set
First image, without removing the excess ink in the middle of the stamp.
Second image, I made sure the ink was only on the parts of the stamp that I wanted reproduced.

From the Sweet and Lovely stamp set
I was so impressed with this combination.  It looked like a store bought die cut.

Artbooking Made Easy: Christmas Layouts (S01E12)