Saturday, October 18, 2014

Making the Right Impression: Tips for You

Good morning!  I had a customer write to me saying she is having trouble getting a clean impression with the Fabulous Frame stamp (stock is running low again by the way on this one, just FYI).  We have sold thousands of the frame sets now and this is the first inquiry of this nature, so I am certain it is not the stamp itself, but thought it definitely was worth addressing here for anyone else who could also use some pointers or might be receiving the set any day now, as well as highlight some videos where you can see what I am also going to write about, in action. As always, I am glad to answer questions about my stamps. :)

Fabulous Frame includes my first clear frame stamp, and it *is* a little different stamping it than the previous rubber frames mounted on cling cushion. It took a few times at first for me to get used to holding it,  after being so very familiar with my rubber frames which I've used more often than any other stamps in my collection the past 5 years! I have slightly modified the way I used to hold the block, and get good, consistent results and am thrilled with this frame. (Future ones will be clear as well. Yes, of course I will do more frames)  A little modification to holding the block is definitely worth it!  If you are used to my previous frames, the rubber with the added cushion has a higher profile than the clear stamp, so you can grip the block a little more around the edges. With clear you can’t hold it quite the same way, as your fingers (depending on your fingers) might hit the paper first and you could bobble the stamp.  So it can feel tricky to hold at first if you've never used such a large block or are used to the rubber. If you've watched my videos with this frame, I kind of make an “L” basically with my thumb and pointer finger (or middle finger) and right hand looks like backward L , so both thumbs are long on the bottom edge of the block of one finger on the sides, and then gently set it down. Can you picture that? With the rubber, you can hold it more like a fist with your fingers under the edges or like your hands are wrapped around a book and you feel the rubber hit the cardstock sooner than the clear stamp will.  Does that make sense?

Here is a video showing inking and stamping the clear Fabulous Frame, starting at 2:45. I show it in others, all near the beginning, but this was the first one I scrolled to.

And here is a video I posted recently where I show stamping a rubber frame (Festive Frame), also starting at 2:45 (boy, my internal "video clock" just tells me it's time to stop blabbing and get on with the stamping, doesn't it?), where you will also see some of the tips I am about to describe for inking and stamping in this post.

Now, if you've tried what I suggested above and it’s still difficult to hold, you can try putting the inked up stamp facing up on the block on your work surface and then lay the cardstock down the frame, gently smooth fingers over and carefully lift up. This is what Gina has always done with my frame stamps when demonstrating in her videos, like Arranged with Love.   You should get a clean image every time *as long as you are not sliding the cardstock around*. Hold in place with one hand while the others presses. I’ve done it both ways.  With the face up method you must be careful when inking, though, since there are some open spaces, particularly largest section below the oval, not to mash the cardstock down into a gap and get it inky.  I don't use this method with my clear frame however because I find it easier (and this is just me) to center my frame stamping it downward  since it's clear and I can see the rim of cardstock all around under the frame before stamping. 

Avoid getting ink in the open areas of your stamp by going slowly and making sure the pad is crossing two planes of the stamp's image, meaning, having the pad on the edge off the just one border side only makes it very easy to hit the middle of the stamp where you don't want or need ink.  I have lots of staining on my stamp that cannot be removed now because of frantic inking when it first arrived (must stamp with this stamp right NOW!) but I am more careful now that I have gotten some of that urgency out of my system, and thankfully the staining will not affect my stamping.

If you are pressing the stamp down onto cardstock to stamp your image,  and seeing ink transfer from open areas onto cardstock where it should not be, you also want to make sure your cardstock is on a completely flat surface.  Any little corner of another piece of paper lying askew underneath or small object (no matter how small, think of the pea under the mattresses) can cause an uneven stamping surface and therefor result in an unwanted ink hitting the inside of an image on the cardstock where the cardstock is closer to the stamp.

As for wasted cardstock if you do not get a clean impression first try, I always suggest flipping paper over to do the other side first (unless of course the cardstock is thin and you can see goofed impression on the other side, no bueno)*, or, cut it out to mount on another base if the image is clean, but not centered. Never try stamping on folded cardstock, as it will pop up, that almost certainly will get you every time. Yes, I still test/break that rule from time to time in a hurry, deciding to add some little thing after I've folded the card up, and it never goes well.  Ever.) I will say, though, a folded card *will* be sturdier than a single layer if you try the stamp face up method and less likely to hit middle and possibly unwanted inked areas.  You could try that and might like that, I've done it before and it can work.  But don't say I didn't warn you . ;)

If only just a tiny edge is missing in the stamped image, I recommend using a blender pen to lift some ink off the pad you stamped with and dab onto cardstock to fill in border gaps. You can best avoid missing parts of the image by always inking with the stamp face up rather than down onto your pad, and then lift the block and tilt this way and that under your lamp or light at your work table, as all the inked areas will be wet and shiny and any uninked areas will be very noticeable, looking dry and flat.  Then you can go back and add ink to those areas before stamping.  Check again! Finally, you can huff on the stamp to reactivate all the ink if there has been a large amount of time from when you started inking to make sure it is nice and moist all over when you are ready to stamp.

The Misti system was called to my attention by a couple StampTV friends yesterday (thank you!) for stamping large stamps like this one, and while I have not tried the product, I watched the video demonstration after their recommendation.  It is a substantial investment, but if you have tried all the "free" solutions, and practiced, and are still not happy with the results, this might be for you.  It looks like a very clever idea and there seem to be a lot of really satisfied customers.  That product could be especially useful if holding such a large block for a stamp like that is just not comfortable for someone, or for mass producing a large quantity of one design using the frame stamp (or any other stamps for that matter if you are particular about the placement.)

I welcome all of you to ask questions or share any advice that I have not already suggested that may be of use to someone else, or something you changed about your technique that has helped.  There's really no "right" or wrong way to do this if what works for you works!

I hope a little experimentation or possible small ramp up time does not discourage anyone from getting sets that include these frame stamps and this post only gives you confidence that it is just finding what process works best for you.  The versatility of these frames and what they can add to your projects, as well as the ease and time saved (and saved cardstock, to get a layered look in one layer!) once you get the hang of it, make taking that time in the beginning "to get to know each other" well worth the effort. :)

Thanks for reading!

*Honestly, I still use this "goofed" cardstock.  Stamp smaller images or sentiments in the open, usable areas and then cut or punch them out for other cards.  Thrifty, but make it work!


  1. Great videos and helpful hints and correction suggestions for stamping. Thank You!
    quilt 4 fun 2 at hot mail dot com

  2. I love your stamps - both rubber and clear. I'm one of the lucky ones with a Misti and it is a great tool. For Melanie's larger frames I really like using a Fiskars Stamp Press. I stamp on a mouse pad. The Stamp Press allows me to "hover" over the card stock and get it in the right place before pressing down. The mouse pad seem to have just the right cushion/firmness to stamp cleanly with rubber or clear stamps.

  3. Fantastic video tutorials! Thanks!

  4. Melanie, I put my Fabulous Frame on my Fiskar's Stamp Stage, and that's it' home for now.
    The stamp stage is big enough to accommodate the stamp, AND, it has "feet", and the stage itself is thin acrylic. Pressing down firmly while walking your fingers works every time! For me, it's the best thing. I have finger/hand issues, so.
    Just throwing out what works for me! Thanks.

  5. What is the Misti system? I googled it but didn't find any results. Inquiring minds want to know. :-)

  6. Can your oxide a link to videomormother info on the Misti system? Googling it just turns up an something about a space/astronomy system.

  7. Here it is, Karen!


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