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Old 05-16-2013, 07:52 AM   #1
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Question Photopolymer tips and tricks??

Now that the semester is over, I finally have had time to sit down and use my Mama Elephant photopolymer stamps. I am running into the issue of mottled, blotchy stamp impressions.

What inks do you use for photopolymer? I am having zero luck with the Hero Arts neon inks (though the slightly bumpy edges those give do have a nice aesthetic sometimes) as well as my Memento inkpads EXCEPT black tuxedo, which is good/great with these most of the time. Sometimes my dewdrops do alright, but tapping them gets ink off in places I don't want it.

Any tips/tricks/something I'm missing here?? I was told to condition the stamps with a white eraser, which I did and saw very little difference. I recently read to use a nail file and lightly sand in the same manner one does with rubber stamps. Is that right? Does anyone have any good techniques for using photopolymer??
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Old 05-16-2013, 09:17 AM   #2
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Clear stamps are my favorite over rubber, and I have lots of them.

I find they do best with pigment or chalk inks. Also, there is a different "touch" when using clear stamps. Just experiment with how hard you press down. They tend to "spread out" more than rubber stamps and will blur your image if you press too hard.

Also, don't pick the stamp up off the paper too quickly. The ink needs time to adhere to the paper.

I don't use a lot of colored inks, and prefer to stamp with Versafine Onyx and then color my images. I get good images with most of my clear stamps, and haven't had to sand them or condition them. You might want to "break in" new stamps by stamping off practice images on scrap paper before you do the real thing.

Good luck.
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Old 05-16-2013, 11:22 AM   #3
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The first thing I do with new polymer stamps is ink them up with Archival Jet Black ink. Yes, it stains them, but above and beyond that, it makes the stamp primed for ANY type of ink you may want to use. So if you don't mind clear stamps that aren't pristine any longer, this will work. I got this tip from Tim Holtz (not personally, mind you, but that is where I heard about it.)

You can also take a white eraser and rub the printing service. This removes some of the factory coating that often repels many dye inks.

One last method is to first stamp your clear stamp in versamark before your colored ink. If you do this, please remember that the image will take a little longer to dry.
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Old 05-17-2013, 08:17 AM   #4
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Thanks for the tips ladies! I've tried the versamark first thing, but even that seems to be mottled. Hmm. I tried using a nail file to lightly sand some of the stamps with lots of flat ink area and it's helping a bit. I wonder if I'm inking them too heavily or something...
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Old 05-17-2013, 10:45 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Ambelleina View Post
Thanks for the tips ladies! I've tried the versamark first thing, but even that seems to be mottled. Hmm. I tried using a nail file to lightly sand some of the stamps with lots of flat ink area and it's helping a bit. I wonder if I'm inking them too heavily or something...
I'd be most inclined to think it's something to do your inks. I truly have never had any problems with my clear stamps, both good brands, and "cheapies" when I used pigment or chalk inks. I've never sanded any of my clear stamps. In my mind, roughing up the surface would be counterproductive to producing a clear, non-mottled image, and cause the ink to adhere non-evenly.
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Old 05-17-2013, 12:34 PM   #6
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I'd be most inclined to think it's something to do your inks. I truly have never had any problems with my clear stamps, both good brands, and "cheapies" when I used pigment or chalk inks. I've never sanded any of my clear stamps. In my mind, roughing up the surface would be counterproductive to producing a clear, non-mottled image, and cause the ink to adhere non-evenly.

I've tried regular Memento in a variety of colors, the only color that really produces a good image is tuxedo black. However, the few chalk Dewdrops I've tried have done a little better. I think I may need to do as you do and move to only pigment/chalk inks for these. They're gorgeous--and not cheap--and I want to start using them more! Oh, well--off to Michael's for more chalk inks!
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Old 05-18-2013, 06:21 AM   #7
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I did a post on my blog HERE a while ago, where I compared various inks on clear polymer silhouette style images.
The Clearly Better pad, is (possibly) discontinued now. I know it has been by the place I bought it from, I'm not sure if that was just the retailer, or if its a manufacturer discontinue. Anyway, if you have a look you will see that the best image came from good old Versafine.
The stamps were not conditioned in any way, just used as is.
I have always found that to be he best ink for clear stamps. Hth.
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Old 05-19-2013, 02:37 AM   #8
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These are the only stamps I use. Haven't had any trouble since i started using the Versafine Onxy Black. Of course if you are going to use Copics you have to use Memento but it just doesn't stamp as black as the Versafine which you can use TomBows with or pencils instead of the Copics. .
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Old 05-22-2013, 01:51 AM   #9
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I find that versafine produces the best results with all clear stamps. however, they have a very limited range of colours, so if I want to use a dye inkpad, I rub over the entire surface of the stamp with a white eraser. this seems to leave a coating on the stamp which allows the ink to stick, as it were. (don't wash it off!)

however, no matter what you do you will find it impossible to get a great result with the distress inks. the image will always look 'distressed'.
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Old 05-22-2013, 04:43 AM   #10
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Before you commit to just pigment inks, I'd contact the seller/manufacturer and see if there are any inks or tips they recommend. I don't have any problems with what I have and use whatever inks I feel like. I know Stamps of Life now has their own line of pads for clear ink but also, some of the clear stamps are made overseas and aren't the same. Gina K also has a new line of pads that she says works well on the clear stamps. Good luck.
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Old 05-22-2013, 05:18 AM   #11
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I totally agree with Lynn from St Louis.......after staining them with permanent ink, they work sooooo much better!!!! I also like to use chalk ink with them and immediately clear emboss the image.
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Old 05-22-2013, 05:34 AM   #12
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Most of the time clear stamps will need to be conditioned.

These are the methods I've used to condition mine.
1. Lightly sand the stamp
2. Stamp the image a couple of times.

As for stamping with them. I would suggest using a foam sheet underneath the cardstock your stamping on. This helps to cushion the stamped image.

Sort of similar to how rubber stamps have the foam mounting under them.

As for inks that work best. I've tried a lot of inks and have found that the Close to my Heart inks work the best.

Good luck!
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Old 05-22-2013, 06:57 AM   #13
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I use mostly clear stamps. I always stamp them with embossing ink first then the color of choice. This is how I condition all my stamps. I also found you don't need to stamp real hard with clear stamps.
Versafine Onyx Black is my favorite black ink and it lasts forever. I have had the same ink pad for years. This ink will give you the blackest ink on paper.
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Old 05-22-2013, 07:37 AM   #14
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I, also, have had difficulty getting a good image with clear stamps. However, I found Versafine works really well!
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Old 05-22-2013, 09:40 AM   #15
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Ladies - The Stamps of Life with Stephanie Barnard does exclusively clear stamps and she has lots of video tutorials on how to use them. She recommends using a thick foam sheet under your stamping. I must admit that I didn't think much of the idea but have tried it lately and it really does work. I get a much cleaner impression using the foam then when not using it.
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Old 05-22-2013, 11:39 AM   #16
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For the people suggesting a foam sheet when stamping, do you think a piercing mat would work? That's foam, right?
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Old 05-22-2013, 02:26 PM   #17
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You want to make sure that whatever surface you use (piercing mat or $1 fun foam) is fresh and no holes or bends- smooth and even.

Instead of foam I use a spiral notebook, often used, and I love the ones with the gridded paper, esp. the ones that are ~ 1/2 inch thick. I open the notebook, fold over the back so it is the size of a single page, place the spirals away from me, and then put my cardstock on the top page and stamp. You can use the lines or grids for lining up your stamps too!

I stamp off every stamp before I start using it so I can check the impression, as different brands and inks will require a slightly different amount of pressure. I also glue on a notebook page (I am messy with that, it seems), try out my color combos with inks or Copics, etc. When it's just too much, I turn the page for a clean surface! Do make sure that any glue blobs are removed from the paper so you don't get bumps from them being underneath when stamping.

I have just started using MFT's inks and they are delightfully juicy ink pads! Since all they sell are clear stamps, the inks are designed to give good impressions with them, and they do, whether with MFT stamps or others. I am hoping that PTI is ironing out their ink problems, as I really liked them initially as well, and they worked very well with PTI's beautiful stamps, card stock and ribbon colors. I have found that some stamp brands, esp. inexpensive ones like acrylics made in China etc., did not give me a good impression no matter what I did.

Here is another thought- what paper are you using? I found that inexpensive paper from Hobby Lobby, Michael's, or Jo-Anns just did not give me the quality I wanted- the impression looked mooshy, bled, was uneven if a large solid surface, and/or details were not distinct. I switched to PTI's white cardstock and the difference is significant.

HTH
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Old 05-22-2013, 07:26 PM   #18
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you can also ink it with stazon ink, let it dry and then stamp. that seems to work well for me
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Old 05-26-2013, 01:26 PM   #19
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I was going to ask about paper too.. that may be the issue.

I'm partial to the Clearsnap Premium Dye inks or Fluid Chalk inks for any solid image (clear or rubber). The new foam pads from SU! are good too.

I've been using clear stamps since gosh... probably 2006 or 2007 and I've never conditioned a stamp.
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Old 05-26-2013, 02:05 PM   #20
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Quote:
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I was going to ask about paper too.. that may be the issue.

I'm partial to the Clearsnap Premium Dye inks or Fluid Chalk inks for any solid image (clear or rubber). The new foam pads from SU! are good too.

I've been using clear stamps since gosh... probably 2006 or 2007 and I've never conditioned a stamp.
I'm glad to hear you say you've never conditioned a clear stamp, Jeanne. I was beginning to feel like the odd man out. I've never done anything to mine, either, and for the most part I love how they stamp.

I stamp on pretty inexpensive cardstock that I get at Sam's in a big pack. It is 110 lb. weight and I like it a lot. I only use pigment or chalk inks with my clear stamps.
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Old 05-27-2013, 04:46 AM   #21
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I have never conditioned any of my stamps either. I use mostly Georgia Pacific card stock from Walmart and I do HAve a Good quality white package of paper from Marks Finest Papers a Heinrich Co. And one from Flourishes. These both work great and get awesome results with Copics.
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Old 05-28-2013, 06:44 PM   #22
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I haven't read all the answers here, but I have never had to condition my clear stamps, I think it is quite possible that you are just pressing down too hard. They don't need as much pressure in my opinion.
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