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All About Clear Stamps
Clear stamps are known by several different product names, but they are all basically the same thing. They are also called polymer stamps, photo-polymer stamps, clear rubber stamps.
They can be used much the same as traditional rubber stamps when attached to a clear acrylic block.
They are almost completely transparent (you cam almost see right through them).They have a tackiness that helps them stick to a stamping block. They come as singles or as a set. They are stored on a backing sheet, in a protective wallet or container such as a CD case
Most clear stamps come attached to a backing and the stamps can be reattached to this protective backing for storage. Many stampers also use other systems for storing their clear stamps and this includes CD cases and plastic wallets. Some stamp manufacturers sell their stamps in CD cases and this makes them easy to store as CD racks are widely available.
Acrylic Block Basics
Acrylic blocks have been one of the most exciting tools the craft industry came up with. It enabled us to use the lighter acrylic stamps. We could see the paper beneath so we could get perfect placement every time. No more guessing where our stamp would wind up !
Acrylic blocks are often sold as individual items or as sets. They are generally used to hold clear unmounted stamps. Without them, you could not use acrylic stamps at all.
Some acrylic blocks have a grid lines. These grid lines help you place the stamp so that it is straight. These grid lines also help you place the stamp on the paper straight and evenly.
Some blocks have ripples edges which make them easier to hold.
You will want to use an acrylic block that is just slightly larger than the stamp you are using
Advantages of Using Clear Stamps With Acrylic Blocks
- They are often more reasonably priced
- Since they have less weight, they have less shipping costs
- They have no preparation other than to stick them on the acrylic block. This makes them easy to use
- Since the stamp and the acrylic block are clear, they are more accurate to place
- They do not take a lot of space to store
How To Use Acrylic Blocks
- Select a block that is slightly bigger than the stamp you are using.
- Remove the acrylic stamp from the piece of acrylic backing. Press the smooth side of the stamp onto the acrylic block. It should stick by itself. The etched side of the stamp should face outward.
- If the acrylic block has grid lines, center the stamp to the center of the block.
- Lay the acrylic block on a hard surface with the side where the stamp is facing you. Tap the ink pat gently over the stamp, making sure to cover it with ink. You want to avoid any blobs of ink beyond the stamp.
- Turn the block over and carefully place it on the paper to be stamped.
- Peel the stamp off the block and clean in gently in dish detergent and warm water. Allow it to dry.
- Replace it on the acrylic backing and store it.
Another Way To Get Your Stamps Lined Up On Acrylic Blocks
Tip For Stamping With Acrylic Blocks And Stamps
- Use something like a mouse pad to stamp on-you may get better results
- Follow the package directions as far as cleaning your stamps
- Clean the stamps right away after use and place back in the packaging. This will help to keep the dust off the sticky part of the stamp
- If you are hand washing the stamps, wash them in a bowl or basin so that they don't slip down the drain,
- Some inks, despite cleaning may stain the stamps. This will not affect their use
Getting Your Clear Polymer Stamps To Stick On The Acrylic Block
Usually wheat causes this problem is either dust or dirt that gets on the cling part of the stamp or the block. It is similar to the idea of suction cups. When those suction cups get some dirt or dust on them, they do not cling to a surface. Here are some ideas to get the cling back into your stamps
Wet Paper Towel
Just slightly wet a paper towel and run it over the cling part of your stamp. Allow to dry. The stamp should stick to the block again
Another way to get your acrylic stamps to stick on the block is to use rubbing alcohol or alcohol wipes.
While these are generally not recommended for everyday cleaning, you can use them to help get a better seal when you are stamping.
Use a cotton ball wet with the rubbing alcohol and wipe both the acrylic block and the stamp. Allow them to dry. You should have no problem with the stamp after that.
The alcohol wipes work the same way.
Ink Smooshing Idea
One of my all time favorite ink and block techniques is the ink smooshing idea. I love to use this for cards, but I also like to do it for elements in my journals and altered books.
You want to do this on water color paper. Why? Because there is a lot of water in this project !
- Water color paper
- Distress inks
- Acrylic blocks
- Water spritzer
- Something to weigh your project down
- Lay a piece of water color paper on a craft mat or a glass mat
- Ink up your craft block with the colors of your choice. (make sure to apply the ink on the smooth surface on the block.
- Using a water spritzer spray the block till you see ink beads on the block.
- Turn the block over and apply the inked side of the block to the paper
- Leave the block on the paper for about 15 minutes till the ink dries
- Place a heavy weight on top of the block/
- Once dry, remove the weight and the block from the paper.
- Decorate as desired.
Ink Smooshing-One Of My Favorite Ink Technoques
Using Acrylic Blocks To Stamp
Did you know that you can use your acrylic blocks to stamp? This is a super easy technique that will extend your use of your blocks.
- Acrylic blocks in different sizes
- Ink pads
- Small water spritzer
- Heavy card stock or water color paper
- You can use a sponge dauber to apply the ink to the acrylic block
- You can apply the block directly to the pad
- Then stamp on your paper and allow to dry
- This technique is perfect for a background
- The dauber technique gives more of a "cloud" like appearence
- The application of ink directly from the pad gives a very solid look
- You can use more than one color at the same time
- Try using some distress inks or distress oxide inks
Acrylic Blocks on Photo Paper
THis technoque is an extension of block printing. You get a lovely watercolor look that is a real eyecatcher.
- Shiny photo paper
- Acrylic blocks in different sizes
- Acrylic stamps
- Distress inks
- Watercolor Markers
- Water spritzer
- Apply distress ink directly onto the acrylic block. You can use a single color or more than one.
- Spritz the block with water
- Apply the wet block to the photo paper. Be careful not to smudge it. Press on the block. Then remove the block.
- Allow the print to dry for a minute or two.
- Take a different-sized block and happy the distress ink in a different color.
- Spritz the second block with water
- Overlapping your first block slightly, apply the wet block to the photo paper,
- Allow the photo paper to dry.
- Apply ink to the stamp that you are planning to use
- Stamp over the block with the stamp. You would want to use a darker color on the stamp
- Allow the stamped image to dry.
- Use the watercolor marker to fill in the stamped image. The details will show through.
- Allow the stamped and colored image to dry.
- Stamp a sentiment if desired.
- Allow to dry.
- Dust the edges of the card with a little color on a brush
- Mount on a card base or add cardstock to the back and use it like a postcard
Ink Splatter Technique
This technique is a lovely way to add something extra on your cards, journal pages and altered book
- A medium acrylic block
- Some darker distress ink
- A water spritzer
- A small paint brush
- Apply a liberal amount of ink onto your acrylic block
- Spritz the block with water
- Mix the ink and water around with the paint brush
- Flick the ink with the paint brush onto the paper
- Allow to dry
Tip: have something like a craft mat or a large piece of parchment paper or waxed paper under the paper you are working on. This can be a messy technique.
Block Stamping With Markers
Get a different technique using markers to block stamp on water color paper. This is a beautiful technique that uses the markers in your stash.
- Acrylic blocks in different colors
- Water color paper
- Water spritzer
- Card base
- Cut watercolor paper to the size you need for your card
- Spritz the water color paper gently
- Apply markers of your choice to the block. Always apply lighter to darker.
- Press the block on your paper firmly and press
- Lift the block
- If you have any excess water or color, remove it with a tissue
- Allow the paper to dry
- Finish your card by layering it on the paper of your choice
- Add a sentiment and any other embellishments
Water Coloring Stamping With Acrylic Blocks
How To Clean Acrylic Stamp Blocks
Your acrylic stamp blocks should be cleaned right after use when you clean your stamps.
- You can use baby wipes to wipe off your stamp block. These are terrific to clean as you go. Wiping inks and debris off your block makes it easier to keep them clean.
- You can use a stamp cleaning pad which can be refilled with stamp cleaner. Clean the pad as you go. Set it aside to dry as you do other tasks.
- If you have used a Stazon ink, remove it as soon as possible with Stazon ink cleaner. This ink is really permanent. It is important to get the ink off right away.
- Bathe them once a month. No matter how or where you store them, they can get dust and dirt on them. So bathe them in a container with warm water and dish detergent. Rinse them off and dry them with a lint free cloth.
- Hand sanatiser will also work to clean your acrylic blocks
The Stamp Shammy
Stamp-a-ma-jig- A useful tool with acrylic blocks
The stamp-a-ma-jig is a very useful stamp positioning tool. It is especially effective when using cling rubber stamps, since you cannot see through them. It is the most economic positioning tool on the market
It has two pieces, a t-shaped tool and a piece of acrylic. The acrylic sheet is somewhat transparent, but it is not clear. The sheet has two textures. On one side it is a smoother surface. The other side is a shiny surface.
- Card stock
- Stamp a ma jig tool
- Dye ink pads in the color of your choi
- Clear ruler
Preparing To Stamp
You are going to be mounting your stamp on an acrylic block. Make sure to chose a block that is closest to the size of the stamp. You want to make sure that the stamp is centered on the block.
To use this tool, you want to use a dye based ink. That way, you will be able to wipe the ink off of the acrylic sheet. The darker inks will make a better impression.
Using The Tool
- Take your paper and align it on your work surface with a couple of pieces of repositionable double sided tape
- Line the acrylic sheet into the groove of the t tool.
- Ink up the stamp. Place the stamp on a flat surface with the imprint side up. The ink pad is then pressed down on the pad several times, till there is a good amount of ink on the stamp.
- Hold the t tool with your left hand and anchor the acrylic sheet. Stamp the image on the acetate sheet right in the corner of the t tool so that it is perfectly lined up. Press on the acrylic block evenly to get a good impression.
- With a see through ruler, make a very light line where you want the bottom of your stamp to be with a pencil,
- Place the acetate sheet where you want the image. Line it up
- Take the t tool and line up the acetate sheet to the top of the left side of the tool. exactly where you want it
- Remove the acetate sheet
- Ink the stamp again
- Place the stamp against the corner of the tool and stamp the image
Stamp A Ma Jig Tips
- You can use a piece of vellum to create a template that you can use later on
- For small stamps you can use the four corners
- Store the templates in with your stamps
How To Remove The Cloudiness From Acrylic Blocks
The point of acrylic blocks for stamping is that they are clear so that you can see through them in order to place the stamp where you want it to go.
Over time, acrylic blocks can get cloudy in the center. That makes it almost impossible to see through them to place the stamp.There is an easy remedy for this problem. While it takes a little time, it will save money.
Simply place the block on a flat surface, like a craft mat or a glass mat. Turn on a heat gun and move the heat gun over the acrylic block. Gradually you will see the cloudiness disappear. While it may not be perfect, it will be usable.
More Ways To Clean Your Stamps And Acrylic Blocks
There are several different ways that you can use to clean your acrylic stamps and blocks. Each have some suggestions for you to consider:
- The Stamp Shammy- activated with water, the cloth will clean the ink off your blocks and stamps. This tool can be reused over and over again, even when stained. Little space for storage and no chemicals. Great for cleaning in between changes in inks or colors.
- The Rub It Scrub It Cleaning Pad-This is a double side cleaning pad. It has a textured side and a thick foam side. You can use it with a stamp cleaner or with dish detergent to clean your stamps and blocks.
- Cleaning Pads- These stamp cleaning pads usually have two sided cleaning pad. One side is for cleaning and the pad on the lid is for drying the stamp or acrylic block. Some come with the cleaner. You add the cleaner to the pad. Run the stamp or acrylic block over the cleaning side. Then dry it by rubbing the block or stamp over the dryer pad.
- Archival Stamp Cleaner-Cleans all water based, permanent, pigment and solvent inks. Most have dabber tops to make them easy to use
- Water Based Stamp Cleaner- non toxic water based cleaner for use with pigment and dye ink. May have a dauber or spray top
More Acrylic Block Ideas And Techniques
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- Remove Rubber Stamps From The Wood Block
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© 2021 Linda F Correa