Sunday, November 27, 2011

Stamping 101: Do You Season Your Stamps?


With so much emphasis on food the last several days, I thought I would take a moment to talk to you about "seasoning" or conditioning your stamps. No salt or pepper required, but I thought my photo would get the point across!  When I first started stamping and paper crafting, I did not know anything about preparing your stamps before you actually started using them. I did notice, however, that the first few times I used a brand new stamp, the image wasn't so great, but got better as time went along and I used the stamp more. I was conditioning the stamp on my own over time, but wouldn't you like to have a nice clean image from the very first stamp? Let me show you what I am talking about.


To the left is an image stamped with a new stamp before seasoning, and to the right, the same stamp after seasoning. The difference is particularly noticeable with solid images, such as this one. The un-seasoned stamp leaves a blotchy image. So, why is seasoning necessary? Brand new stamps have a film or residue on the rubber as a result of the manufacturing process. This prevents them from absorbing the ink optimally. Think of the absorbency of a new dishtowel, versus one you have washed and dried several times. 


How do you season your stamps? After a little research, I found that many people have different techniques, to the same end. So here are a few:
  1. Rub the stamp on your jeans
  2. Rub them with a rubber eraser
  3. Gently sand with a Stampin' Up! Sanding Block
  4. Gently sand with a nail buffer (not a nail file)
  5. Condition them with Stazon Cleaner
  6. Clean with Stampin' Scrub and Mist
What I have found works for me is #3, #5 and #6. First I sand with a sanding block, then I condition with Stazon Cleaner, then I clean them well with Stampin' Mist. Sounds like a lot of steps, but I assure that it only takes a few moments and the end result of a nice crisp image is well worth it. Remember, you only have to do this once, ever! Also, keep in mind that the quality of your stamped image also depends upon the quality of your card stock. I recommend Stampin' Up! Whisper White or Very Vanilla Card Stock for the best image.

I'm sure there are many more methods to condition your stamps but this is what I have come across. If you have a different technique, please leave a comment at the end of this post, I would love to hear your ideas! 

I hope you found this helpful! 

Sandy


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