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Old 09-22-2010, 05:43 PM   #1  
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Default Am I ever gonna love my clear stamps?

Am I? Am I? Do you?

I have purchased so many clear stamps and sets and they are all so pretty! Try as I might, I never get good images unless I use craft ink - which I DO NOT like to use (I'm a smudger) and only own in black and white AND don't want to invest in more because I already own all the 'regular' SU ink pads + many more.

I've been thinking about unmounting my rubber stamps but am afraid that I will end up having image issues with those too.

Is it the surface of the clear stamps - the lack of padding - just me being a crumudgity smudger and not being patient enough? OH SIGH!
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Old 09-22-2010, 05:52 PM   #2  
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I never have had any good luck with clear stamps either. The image is never clear no matter what tricks one tries. I have used the traditional red rubber unmounted and still get great images. Good luck to you. I feel your frustration.
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Old 09-22-2010, 06:09 PM   #3  
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No, I agree. I have ALL KINDS of clear ones, too... the cheapos from Michael's, PaperTrey, Inkadinkadoo, Hero Arts, etc. I really like my Hero Arts ones, not sure why. The others? It's hit and miss. What I find the hardest to deal with on acrylic stamps are any that have letters/words. I was just using some PTI bday stamps and no matter what I did, the first letter would be darker than all the rest. Plus, it can be hard to get them as straight as I want them, too, even with a lined block. I end up messing with it and adjusting it, but that takes a lot of time, and I get annoyed.

So no, you're not alone.
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Old 09-22-2010, 06:18 PM   #4  
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I understand your dilemma. I started as a SU only person. Used to be a demo so I only used rubber wood mounted stamps for years. After letting my demo-ship expire; I began to explore the world of clear stamps.

They were right there in the stores!! So pretty....ready to take home and stamp with right away, no trimming, and no waiting for the order to arrive!! Yipee!!

But...NO. Like you I only had SU ink. All the dye type and only two in the craft. But even the craft ink didn't work very well on these clear stamps. Frustration. Then a few hours spent out here reading through old threads to see how to make these stamps give me clear images!!

First, not all clear stamps are created equal. The cheaper the stamp the more likely to give you a little trouble. Good quality clear stamps come from places like PaperTrey Ink. But then there is the waiting for the order again! The ones you can get at big box places like Hobby Lobby or Michael's by Stampendous are pretty good too.

Stamping with clear stamps requires an adjustment in PRESSURE. With wood mounted rubber you can usually just go to town and push down hard. Not so with clear. Use a lighter touch.

Try putting a piece of fun foam or two under your paper. I haven't had to do that since I stamp on top of a pad of paper but I see that mentioned a lot out here as way to get better images.

YOU WILL NEED DIFFERENT INK. I know, that's a drag. And an expense!! There are some folks out here who are able to get good images with clear stamps and their SU ink but I've seen many more posts from people who say SU ink just doesn't cut it on clear stamps. Especially the dye based ink. It just beads up on clear stamps.

Chalk inks will work very well. If you want to stamp a line art image and color in with markers or pencils and watercolor the Memento Tuxedo Black works really well. Do not use Staz-on ink unless you want to stain the clear stamps. And Staz-on absolutely should not be used with alcohol markers like Copics.

Lastly, you may see a lot of posts about "conditioning" your clear stamps. The suggestions run from using erasers to sandpaper. As well as stamping over and over with your ink of choice on scrap paper until the ink finally "takes" and gives a good image. The quality clear stamps say their stamps do not need conditioning and you could ruin them by using any kind of sandpaper so you'll have to decide how you want to go on that one.

So....use less pressure. Try stamping with some foam or a magazine or pad of paper under your paper. Different ink. Chalk inks work well. And I believe all the Memento Inks would work well ( besides the black ) I just haven't had the chance to try any others yet.

If you want to find all the old threads out here about this topic search the Forum with words like Best Ink for Clear Stamps, Crisp Image with Clear Stamps, Acrylic Stamps etc....you should find quite a few threads that will discuss the things I mentioned but more in depth.

Good Luck! Don't give up!
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Old 09-22-2010, 06:27 PM   #5  
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There was a thread about this recently. It had some of the same tips as above. Namely:
• Use a lighter hand when stamping.
• Use VersaFine or Memento ink for a good clean image.
• Prime your stamp by stamping on scrap, cleaning, and repeating those steps a few time.
• Stick a mouse pad, magazine, or piece of foam under your stamp.

All clear stamps are not created equal. Some (like Technique Tuesday, Crafty Secrets, The Cat's Pajamas, Paper Trey) are better than those that are super cheap at Michael's.

Don't give up. Good impressions are possible.
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Old 09-22-2010, 07:00 PM   #6  
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Thank you everyone! It is nice to know I'm not the only one with so many pretty stamps that I'm just not using. I am going to get some "fun foam" and practice using that. Oh, but the idea of getting more stamp pads when I just invested in all the new SU colors is a drag! I'm so into the color coordinated inks and papers- markers - pastels - crayons - pencils... and have been since SU started. It is going to be hard for me to move to something else. Guess I'll start with a basic black and go from there.

Thanks again!
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Old 09-22-2010, 07:25 PM   #7  
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I know if I am having trouble getting an image from a clear stamp the first thing I resort to is cleaning it and then loading it with versamark and then the ink I want to use and then stamping it with both inks on. The "stickyness" of the versamark seems to help with some inks. Just a thought to try.
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Old 09-22-2010, 07:28 PM   #8  
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I never had much luck with clear stamps- any of them! A shame because there are some great images out there!
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Old 09-22-2010, 07:48 PM   #9  
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My favorite clear stamps are Close To My Heart and their ink works excellent - I have also used my SU ink with them and they haven't given me any problems...BUT I do tend to buy cheaper sets and for those I have found Chalk ink and Versamark black are EXCELLENT! I buy what I like and not always by brand......but for me, this is my system and it works for me.
Good Luck!!
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Old 09-22-2010, 07:58 PM   #10  
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I have only SU! inks and I have never had a problem with clear stamps.
1. Ink stamp as usual then stamp and rub a bit on scrap cardstock; like an erasing motion. This conditions the stamp and ink will not bead up. Do this once for every new stamp, then it's good to go forever.
2. Wood mounted rubber stamps have a built-in foam cushion to help give a great image. Use your clear stamps on a padded stamping mat or use a piece of thin foam under your cardstock.
3. Don't give up -- you will get lovely images from good quality clear stamps and all the lovely colors of SU! ink (classic or craft) if you follow those two steps.
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Old 09-22-2010, 08:28 PM   #11  
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I've found not all clear stamps are alike. There seem to be better ones and worse ones. The ones I hate the ink seems to bead up on them and they don't give a good image. Others work great. I've stopped buying them.

I have however started unmounting my rubber stamps. I do like the ability to see the shape through the clear block to stamp right were I want it. And I love the space savings.

I would unmount one set only. Work w/it for a while then decide if it is the clear stamps you hate or if it is the use of an acrylic block that you don't like.
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Old 09-22-2010, 10:50 PM   #12  
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Quote:

Originally Posted by demodarlaView Post
Am I? Am I? Do you?

I have purchased so many clear stamps and sets and they are all so pretty! Try as I might, I never get good images unless I use craft ink - which I DO NOT like to use (I'm a smudger) and only own in black and white AND don't want to invest in more because I already own all the 'regular' SU ink pads + many more.

I've been thinking about unmounting my rubber stamps but am afraid that I will end up having image issues with those too.

Is it the surface of the clear stamps - the lack of padding - just me being a crumudgity smudger and not being patient enough? OH SIGH!
It is true that not all clear stamps are made of high quality photopolymer; some are made of silicone, and others of vinyl. The best clear stamps I've worked with are made of high grade photopolymer.

But, ya' know, it's totally OK if you don't love clear stamps. And, it's totally OK if you never do. My favorite and most preferred format will always be ruby red, on a beautiful hardwood maple mount. What can I say? I'm old school.

I still buy the occasional clear stamp, if I'm particularly smitten with the imagery, altho I have to admit I don't use them nearly as much as I do my WMs. Ultimately, for me, nothing is as convenient as a WM, and I seem to have the best control of the quality of my impressions when I use WMs. I simply like them mo'h bettah.

There's a format out there that works for each of us, and it's OK to prefer one over another/any other. It's a subjective thing. Like in music. Or cuisine. Or art.

It's all good.
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Old 09-22-2010, 11:53 PM   #13  
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When I started stamping it was all unmounteds and clear stamps for me, and mostly pigment inks. A bit of experimenting led me to discover the versaility of dye inks. It really suited my 'style'. The search for the best dye inks, that were easily accessable for me, lead me to SU!, which in turn lead me to wood mounted rubber, which I much prefer over all others.

I've seen some lovely clear stamps lately too, but if I can't use the ink I prefer to use, then I just pass it up. There is some lovely stuff done with clear stamps but I just stamp in a different way, and they just wouldn't fit me. IYKWIM
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Old 09-23-2010, 12:02 AM   #14  
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You may eventually!

When I started stamping I could just not get into clear stamps and at one point I actually think I threw their box across the room in frustration lol.

BUT in the past 6 months I have really gone to town in buying the clear stamps (mainly cause a friend of mine started stamping and needed a lot at once so didnt want to pay the expense of woods plus she had no storage space). So I got some clear mounts too.

And now I dont particularly like the WM's! I prefer the CM as it means I can see what im stamping and make it go EXACTLY where I want it to be.

One piece of advise Ill offer you with CM's tho is be gentle. The more pressure you put on to the stamp the more smudges you end up with but trust me practice makes perfect
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Old 09-23-2010, 02:15 AM   #15  
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Yep, i'm in the practice makes perfect. I use Versacolor ink pads, the little once inch ones and I find them perfect for clear stamps. The secret to the clear stamps is not too much pressure, because the clear stuff they are made of is softish and doesn't need foam back or underneath. If you are using a stamping mat that is probably the problem with the smudging. Try using just a sheet of paper under your stamping area on a solid surface (desk, table etc.) you will find this will improve the stamping so much more.

If you are using stazon inks, be sure and use Versamark first before applying the ink. This will keep the stamps clean.

If you have SU stamp pads, then you have to get a good surface of ink onto the stamp (I find SU inks a bit dry) and then onto your stamping surface. This takes more practice than with other inks, as they can bead off and cause bubble type smudging. I find this very frustrating. Or leave it dry for a few seconds then blow on it and then stamp.

HTH, JMHO
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Old 09-23-2010, 02:37 AM   #16  
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Ditto for me. If you absolutely can't invest in new ink (and I don't blame you if you already have all SU) buy a Versamark pad and tap the stamp in that before inking with your SU pad. This works very well for clear stamps and any dye based ink.
Quote:

Originally Posted by RiverIsisView Post
I know if I am having trouble getting an image from a clear stamp the first thing I resort to is cleaning it and then loading it with versamark and then the ink I want to use and then stamping it with both inks on. The "stickyness" of the versamark seems to help with some inks. Just a thought to try.
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Old 09-23-2010, 02:50 AM   #17  
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Quote:

Originally Posted by demodarlaView Post
Thank you everyone! It is nice to know I'm not the only one with so many pretty stamps that I'm just not using. I am going to get some "fun foam" and practice using that. Oh, but the idea of getting more stamp pads when I just invested in all the new SU colors is a drag! I'm so into the color coordinated inks and papers- markers - pastels - crayons - pencils... and have been since SU started. It is going to be hard for me to move to something else. Guess I'll start with a basic black and go from there.

Thanks again!
Try the pallette hybrid ink pads. They work well.(from papertrey ink). As far as buying more than one brand of ink pads.. I have all the SU,
but I have the distress ink pads, adirondack pads, pallette, some memento, etc. There are so many colors and types so I tend to buy to fill gaps.
And I am not a clear stamp user...prefer rubber and am switching all of mine to unmounted now that SU has offered clear mount and has awesome blocks! I have some clear sets, maybe I will give them a go again...

Last edited by NYstamper; 09-23-2010 at 02:53 AM.. Reason: Spelling and add something.
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Old 09-23-2010, 03:28 AM   #18  
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Quote:

Originally Posted by KatarinaMView Post
Ditto for me. If you absolutely can't invest in new ink (and I don't blame you if you already have all SU) buy a Versamark pad and tap the stamp in that before inking with your SU pad. This works very well for clear stamps and any dye based ink.
I'm going to try this!
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Old 09-23-2010, 04:28 AM   #19  
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Tim Holtz posted on his blog awhile back to stamp your clear stamps with Archival Ink and let it dry on it (which will leave your stamp outline black), and inks will not bead up on them anymore. I have not done it myself, but I can see where it would work. If you have a lot of surface on your stamp, it could make it difficult to see through your stamp. Could save you from buying more ink though.
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Old 09-23-2010, 04:53 AM   #20  
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If you are using high quality stamps, you "should" have no problem getting a clear image.

Sometimes it is just the way we individually stamp. I cannot get a clear image using transparencies regardless of the type of stamp or ink. I just can't. I guess I'm too jittery!

Since so many folks get good results with transparencies, I think it is me, not the medium.

the same "might" be true with those who don't get good clear images with clear stamps. I find them so easy and I use a lot of different kinds of ink.

So go figure.

the good thing is there are soooo many fabulous designs in clear, wood and everything in between!
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Old 09-23-2010, 06:04 AM   #21  
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I have only a few clear stamps. Even some cheapos from the Michael's that were a dollar. They seem to work good with my SU classic ink. I don't use them a lot and never expect much from them because I've read they don't ink up well with SU ink.

For some reason I haven't had any trouble.
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Old 09-23-2010, 06:10 AM   #22  
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Ladies - Ya'll ROCK! I thought I'd go out today and get some foam to stamp on then I saw the suggestions for using versamark on the stamps before inking them with my SU inks - hugs and kisses to you all - it works great! I tried it with one of my most notoriously difficult sayings and a tiny little cupcake and they came out clear as can be. (I also used a gentler hand than I do with my WM stamps - so thanks for those suggestions too!) Maybe now I can fall in love with my clear stamps. I'm sure gonna spend some time with them today.

Now one question - does the versamark on the clear stamp before I press it on the stamp pads muck up the stamp pads? Will I - can I - clean the SU stamp pads?

Once again, Ya'll ROCK! THANKS!
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Old 09-23-2010, 06:45 AM   #23  
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Quote:

Originally Posted by demodarlaView Post
Ladies - Ya'll ROCK! I thought I'd go out today and get some foam to stamp on then I saw the suggestions for using versamark on the stamps before inking them with my SU inks - hugs and kisses to you all - it works great! I tried it with one of my most notoriously difficult sayings and a tiny little cupcake and they came out clear as can be. (I also used a gentler hand than I do with my WM stamps - so thanks for those suggestions too!) Maybe now I can fall in love with my clear stamps. I'm sure gonna spend some time with them today.

Now one question - does the versamark on the clear stamp before I press it on the stamp pads muck up the stamp pads? Will I - can I - clean the SU stamp pads?

Once again, Ya'll ROCK! THANKS!
I haven't had any issues with any of my inkpads from doing this. Technically the versamark helps grab the ink so it shouldn't be touching any ink left on the pad. That made sense in my head. LOL.

My biggest thing is I forget to clean the colored ink off my stamp and put in my versamark to stamp another image but it hasn't caused me any issues - honestly I just now have dirty versamark pad for this and a clean in case I need to do some watermark type work - so far that baby is still wrapped but you never know when the creative urge might hit to do that technique!
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Old 09-23-2010, 07:23 AM   #24  
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I haven't tried the Versamark trick before but I do have an extra mouse pad around just for stamping on when using my acrylic stamps. I agree that quality makes a huge difference. I have also been using Memento Ink with my clear stamps and it works really well! There is so really great advice in this thread!
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Old 09-23-2010, 09:30 AM   #25  
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I love all stamps including the clear ones....I use the Colorbox Fluid Chalk Inks with them and make lovely cards with even the cheap $1.00 stamps. The more stamps the better in my book...lol
blessings.
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Old 09-23-2010, 11:19 AM   #26  
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I'm so glad I popped back into this thread. I like the idea of the Tim Holtz suggestion with the Archival black ink. I hadn't heard of that before. I may have to give it a try!

I tried the Versamark trick when first using my clear stamps but it didn't work as well as I hoped it would. I WAS trying to ink up a stamp with a LOT of solid surface though. I am pretty picky about my solid images. If it's supposed to be "solid" I want it SOLID darn it!! And that's hard to achieve even with rubber stamps. So maybe I didn't give the versamark trick a fair shake.

As for somehow harming your SU dye ink pads using this trick you can relax. I asked that question of a very talented stamper by the name of Michelle Zindorf. She does this A LOT in order to be able to heat emboss an image in the color she wants. Avoids having to invest in a lot of different colors of craft ink that way. She assures me she's been doing this "versamark first then onto the dye ink pad" trick for years and her ink pads show no ill effects. Michelle is a member out here and posts fabulous cards into her gallery as well as maintains her own blog. Here's the link: http://zindorf.blogs.splitcoaststampers.com/

If you click into some old tutorials you will soon find one where she uses this trick.
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Old 09-23-2010, 11:47 AM   #27  
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I'm glad you got it to work for you.

I've had great success with the Vivid! Dye inks. they are juicier than other dye inks but not like craft inks either. Until I invested in those I didn't really care for clear stamps either.

Anyhow sounds like you found a solution already but thought I'd throw that out there anyhow.
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Old 09-23-2010, 11:50 AM   #28  
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I was just about to toss all my so pretty when I bought them, but soon hated, clear stamps. Will be sure to try a couple of these techniques to see if they ease my pain. Thanks ladies!!!
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Old 09-23-2010, 12:15 PM   #29  
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Originally Posted by demodarlaView Post
Am I? Am I? Do you?

I have purchased so many clear stamps and sets and they are all so pretty! Try as I might, I never get good images unless I use craft ink - which I DO NOT like to use (I'm a smudger) and only own in black and white AND don't want to invest in more because I already own all the 'regular' SU ink pads + many more.

I've been thinking about unmounting my rubber stamps but am afraid that I will end up having image issues with those too.

Is it the surface of the clear stamps - the lack of padding - just me being a crumudgity smudger and not being patient enough? OH SIGH!

The only thing that works for me is sanding them a bit with my sanding block.

Works every time
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Old 09-23-2010, 01:00 PM   #30  
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I think I got lucky with my clear stamps!! They work right out of the package for me - just peel and stick and I'm ready!! I use 99% SU! ink, and never have a problem with it beading. I have found, though, that a lighter touch is key, and stamping on a foam pad helps.

Darla - I'm so HAPPY that you got your clear stamps to finally work!! You will love them
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Old 09-23-2010, 01:40 PM   #31  
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thread hijack

Another Darla!!!!!!!!!!

/thread hijack
You are the second Darla I've "run into" today. We are taking over the world!
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Old 09-23-2010, 01:53 PM   #32  
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I tried the Versamark trick when first using my clear stamps but it didn't work as well as I hoped it would. I WAS trying to ink up a stamp with a LOT of solid surface though. I am pretty picky about my solid images. If it's supposed to be "solid" I want it SOLID darn it!! And that's hard to achieve even with rubber stamps. So maybe I didn't give the versamark trick a fair shake.
Solid stamps have always been tricky for me. Until I tried using chalk inks like Colorbox Fluid Chalk and VersaMagic. Although they sometimes blur fine details, nothing has worked better for clear or rubber solid stamps. I also found that leaving my stamp on the paper for a few seconds before pulling it away helps, even with dye ink. When you resist the urge to pull it up right away, your paper gets a chance to absorb more of the ink of the stamp surface.

Those chalk inks also seem to perform well on the inexpensive clear stamps that can't seem to hold dye inks. And I love that I can get them in tiny inexpensive Dew Drops and Cats Eyes that won't break the bank.
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Old 09-23-2010, 01:59 PM   #33  
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clear stamps need to be "seasoned" before they stamp well.

to do this:

ink them up with any ink, and stamp off onto scrap paper til all ink is gone
repeat several times.

after a few times you should notice that you get abetter image when stamping...

dont give up, there are some great ones on the market
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Old 09-23-2010, 03:59 PM   #34  
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I didn't read through all of the posts, so forgive me if this has been mentioned, but you may have more luck if you gently rub your clear stamps the first time with a pencil eraser. Clean them, then use them. It tends to take the production film off of them. Mine work great after that....
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Old 09-23-2010, 04:37 PM   #35  
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subbing...so I can remember this when I stamp on Saturday. I have the same problem...beautiful clear stamps that look ugly when I use them. I like the red rubber...cling mount or wooden...they just always give me a nicer image
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Old 09-24-2010, 01:28 AM   #36  
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I absolutely love my clear stamps, love my red rubber as well, but my clear ones are my go to ones. I use an old nail sander from the beauty supply store to gently "rough" up the surface and I get a good image every time. The sander is a well used one, so if you would use one, ruin it a llitte so it is no so harsh on the stamp. I do it all the time, and love my images.
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Old 09-24-2010, 01:47 AM   #37  
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I press too hard and was given this great tip to stop me doing it.

Just the biggest block you have, even for small stamps.

Place your image in the centre, then add the tiny detail stamps to the four corners.

Ink your image and make sure the four tiny ones are still clean.

Now print, they stop you pressing too hard.

I also have a lock and lock lid that doubles as a block.. it has a raised edge round the rim, this works too.
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Old 09-24-2010, 06:15 AM   #38  
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I had great luck with verve clear stamps using same ink as I use on rubber stamps. I was so pleased with the image. I have tried some studio G $1 stamps from Micheal's but have not had good images. I think I will try the SU clear stamps the next time I order stamps.
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Old 09-24-2010, 07:21 AM   #39  
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I love clear stamps and have never had a problem with SU ink. I agree that a lighter hand is needed. I must say that I used the SU blocks the other night for the first time and they are far superior to any that I currently own. May have to get some of those!

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Old 09-25-2010, 11:18 PM   #40  
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Originally Posted by CynamomView Post
Plus, it can be hard to get them as straight as I want them, too, even with a lined block. I end up messing with it and adjusting it, but that takes a lot of time, and I get annoyed.
To easily get a clear stamp on your block straight, just lay it stamp-side down on your desk, then press the acrylic block over it to mount it. This way the stamp will maintain its proper shape.

Aside from choosing stamps that are made of high quality photopolymer, the trick to clear stamping is definitely pressure. Delicate lines and sentiments need a light touch on a firm surface. Larger, solid stamps need more pressure, longer time touching the paper (hold the stamp there for a few seconds before lifting it off the paper) and a softer surface like a foam mat or cushion.

I use mostly dye based inks (SU! and Ranger Distress ink) on my clear stamping projects and rarely have any problems. A few of the pastel colors sometimes need a little VersaMark, but other than that it's smooth sailing.
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