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Old 03-09-2017, 05:19 AM   #1
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Default Why do some clear stamps stamp crisp while others do not?

And how do I make them stamp crisp? It's not all clear stamps but certain ones just show up fuzzy.

Do I need to condition them or something to stamp better?
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Old 03-09-2017, 06:57 AM   #2
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Lots of people will chime in, it's a common question.

Yes, you can condition a clear stamp by rubbing it with an eraser. That sometimes helps. Often I find it's just a matter of use - a stamp will stamp better the more I use it. It's like it conditions itself.

Then there is this: there are clear stamps and there are clear stamps, not all being created equal. There are different grades of photpolymer. And then there are acrylic clears, which are a whole other animal.

Also - clear stamps with lots of solid surface are the hardest stamps to get a good image from. If you over-ink in an effort to get a good image and then press down hard, your ink will bleed out a bit around the edges.

If it's all the stamps in a set, then that's the nature of those stamps. If it's only one, you might have a defective stamp and should contant the manufacturer.

Others will chime in no doubt. Like I said, it's a common issue so you should get many suggestions.

Just curious - whose stamps are they (brand). Are they new? Is it every stamp in the set? Is it a stamp with lots of solid surface to ink?
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Old 03-09-2017, 07:12 AM   #3
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In addition to what Rachelrose said, I've also found that some clear stamps require a lighter touch than rubber stamps.
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Old 03-09-2017, 07:23 AM   #4
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Its a brand new set from Impression Obsession and out of the whole set, its just one sentiment. I didn't ink up the other sentiments to find out besides one other one and it stamped fine but the letters were bigger in that one. I will have to play with it today and see what happens. I was pressing really hard so maybe i need to just gently stamp.

Thanks.
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Old 03-09-2017, 07:39 AM   #5
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Everything Rachelrose said and Scrapjanny. Plus the stamps you are having problems with you might need to put a different surface under the paper you are stamping on to get a better image. I stamp with a large pad of grid paper under my card. Some people use a magazine, or a piece of foam like a mouse pad. What is underneath the paper you are stamping on can effect the image and so some of your stamps might need a different surface.

Also, I'm wondering do you always stamp on the same paper? If like a lot of us, you have multiple brands and weights of white paper for example; are you sure it's the stamp that is a problem or is that the day you used a paper that isn't so great?
This might sound silly but this is from personal experience! Even within the Stampin'Up line I (finally) figured out I could not get as clean an image on their Naturals White as I did on their Ultrasmooth White.
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Old 03-09-2017, 08:02 AM   #6
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Yes, Mary is right, paper can affect things. If it's a small sentiment, you are definitely going to have to use a lighter touch. And don't overink. And a coated cardstock will produce a crisper image.

I usually stamp on a foam pad, but sometimes a sentiment can't be stamped well on something with too much give or it smears. As others have said, experiment with the surface.

If it's really only the one stamp from the set, and you've given it a good try and still no results, contact the company. They will often send you a replacement.
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Old 03-09-2017, 08:16 AM   #7
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I'd add one other trick, especially for brand new stamps. Ink your stamp with Versamark, gently stamp off or blot off with a dry microfiber towel or onto your messy clothes. : )
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Old 03-09-2017, 09:10 AM   #8
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Okay, I apologize in advance for the wall of text I'm about to unleash, but I've been in your shoes and I understand the frustration. So, here's my comprehensive findings on the subject:

1- The stamp itself.
Stamp quality makes a big difference, and it goes beyond just the material. Clearest impressions come from stamps that hold onto the ink without beading up - so, high quality photopolymer and deeply-etched rubber (of any color) are a great choice. But sometimes the way the stamp is designed can play a big factor, too. Some stamps have thinner lines/strokes, which can make them look more crisp. Other stamps have thicker or even sketchy lines or unexpected bumps that might require a little more stamping care or a different way of stamping (ex. using a stamping pad or a tool like Misti).

Seasoning the stamp can be important. Some stamps come with a film on them left over from the manufacturing process. This film will repel or attract the ink, so the image stamps unevenly. But inking and stamping off the stamp a few times on some scratch paper generally fixes the issue.

2. The ink.
Similarly to the stamps, not all inks are created equal. Some inks will give you a mediocre result, no matter which stamp you use (ex. Distress inks). But while they're not perfect for stamping itself, they are fantastic for other techniques.

In general, dye inks soak into the paper, so they will give you a softer result. The color and the line crispness can change as the dye inks dry. Pigment inks sit on top of the paper, so they give a much crisper result. With them, what you see is what you get. But they do have the downside of not working with some coloring mediums. And because they sit on top of the paper, they are easier to smear or rub off. Hybrid and archival inks are in the middle - they tend to be a little more crisp than the dye inks, but they still soak into the paper and can work with coloring media.

In my experience (and backed up by many other crafters), the most crisp black ink is the Versafine Onyx Black ink. It's a pigment ink, but it's very fast drying and it doesn't have that chalky rub-off feeling. So, I would recommend using that ink to test (it comes in a regular-sized pad or in a mini-cube if you don't want to invest into a full pad).

3. The Paper.
Some cardstock is simply more absorbent than other. If you're stamping with a dye ink on an absorbent cardstock, it has a bigger chance to spread out and make your stamped image more fuzzy. Likewise, if the cardstock has a special coating on it, it could actually repel the ink, making it bead up and give you a messed up impression.

Some companies that offer matching cardstock and inks have said that the two were "formulated to be used together". I, personally, took this as saying that the only guaranteed consistent stamping results is when you use the two together. So far, this has been true for me.

In my experience, I've had the best and crispest stamping results on Neenah Solar White cardstock. This cardstock is good for ink-blending, too, as well as useful for quick coloring. I prefer to use a couple of other papers for coloring (marker paper for Copics, Bristol for pencils), but I like knowing that I can quick add some color to something stamped on Neenah Solar paper without ruining the marker tip. I ruined two markers on SU Whisper White before reading that the coating is bad for Copics.

4. The stamping process.
Sometimes in an effort to make sure I stamp something down correctly, I end up applying too much pressure on my acrylic block and that makes the image fuzzy. This is especially easy to do with a larger or more detailed stamps, as I want to make sure all the parts of it are stamped. It seems like there's a sweet spot where you apply just enough pressure to transfer everything, but not so much to squish the lines into spreading.

Here, it helps to have a material under the cardstock to help with the stamping (old magazines, the back of a mouse pad or some foam-like material). Alternatively, you can try a tool like the Misti or stamp-a-ma-jig to stamp the image perfectly.


You can test if it's the stamp or something else by a repeating experiment - use the same cardstock, ink and similarly-sized stamp to see if you get the same stamping result or a different one. Switching out different parts of the process will help you narrow down what might be making the stamping fuzzy.

Phew! Sorry for the long post! I get a bit excited to share all the info I've collected about stamping.
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Old 03-09-2017, 12:22 PM   #9
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Quote:

Originally Posted by CreativeCardseaView Post
Okay, I apologize in advance for the wall of text I'm about to unleash, but I've been in your shoes and I understand the frustration. So, here's my comprehensive findings on the subject:

1- The stamp itself.
Stamp quality makes a big difference, and it goes beyond just the material. Clearest impressions come from stamps that hold onto the ink without beading up - so, high quality photopolymer and deeply-etched rubber (of any color) are a great choice. But sometimes the way the stamp is designed can play a big factor, too. Some stamps have thinner lines/strokes, which can make them look more crisp. Other stamps have thicker or even sketchy lines or unexpected bumps that might require a little more stamping care or a different way of stamping (ex. using a stamping pad or a tool like Misti).

Seasoning the stamp can be important. Some stamps come with a film on them left over from the manufacturing process. This film will repel or attract the ink, so the image stamps unevenly. But inking and stamping off the stamp a few times on some scratch paper generally fixes the issue.

2. The ink.
Similarly to the stamps, not all inks are created equal. Some inks will give you a mediocre result, no matter which stamp you use (ex. Distress inks). But while they're not perfect for stamping itself, they are fantastic for other techniques.

In general, dye inks soak into the paper, so they will give you a softer result. The color and the line crispness can change as the dye inks dry. Pigment inks sit on top of the paper, so they give a much crisper result. With them, what you see is what you get. But they do have the downside of not working with some coloring mediums. And because they sit on top of the paper, they are easier to smear or rub off. Hybrid and archival inks are in the middle - they tend to be a little more crisp than the dye inks, but they still soak into the paper and can work with coloring media.

In my experience (and backed up by many other crafters), the most crisp black ink is the Versafine Onyx Black ink. It's a pigment ink, but it's very fast drying and it doesn't have that chalky rub-off feeling. So, I would recommend using that ink to test (it comes in a regular-sized pad or in a mini-cube if you don't want to invest into a full pad).

3. The Paper.
Some cardstock is simply more absorbent than other. If you're stamping with a dye ink on an absorbent cardstock, it has a bigger chance to spread out and make your stamped image more fuzzy. Likewise, if the cardstock has a special coating on it, it could actually repel the ink, making it bead up and give you a messed up impression.

Some companies that offer matching cardstock and inks have said that the two were "formulated to be used together". I, personally, took this as saying that the only guaranteed consistent stamping results is when you use the two together. So far, this has been true for me.

In my experience, I've had the best and crispest stamping results on Neenah Solar White cardstock. This cardstock is good for ink-blending, too, as well as useful for quick coloring. I prefer to use a couple of other papers for coloring (marker paper for Copics, Bristol for pencils), but I like knowing that I can quick add some color to something stamped on Neenah Solar paper without ruining the marker tip. I ruined two markers on SU Whisper White before reading that the coating is bad for Copics.

4. The stamping process.
Sometimes in an effort to make sure I stamp something down correctly, I end up applying too much pressure on my acrylic block and that makes the image fuzzy. This is especially easy to do with a larger or more detailed stamps, as I want to make sure all the parts of it are stamped. It seems like there's a sweet spot where you apply just enough pressure to transfer everything, but not so much to squish the lines into spreading.

Here, it helps to have a material under the cardstock to help with the stamping (old magazines, the back of a mouse pad or some foam-like material). Alternatively, you can try a tool like the Misti or stamp-a-ma-jig to stamp the image perfectly.


You can test if it's the stamp or something else by a repeating experiment - use the same cardstock, ink and similarly-sized stamp to see if you get the same stamping result or a different one. Switching out different parts of the process will help you narrow down what might be making the stamping fuzzy.

Phew! Sorry for the long post! I get a bit excited to share all the info I've collected about stamping.
THANK YOU THANK YOU for your wealth of information!! Definitely going to try a few things you suggested.
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Old 03-09-2017, 12:53 PM   #10
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Versafine is a really good suggestion. If you can't get a clean impression with Versafine Onyx, I would say something is wrong with your stamp.
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Old 03-09-2017, 02:05 PM   #11
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I'm also going to chip in with a vote for Versafine. Definitely one of the very best stamping inks out there. I'd then say that Archival comes in a close second, maybe tying with Memento for that place.
Also, as rachelrose said, not all clear stamps are created equal. As a bit of general advice,if you are seeing the stamps before buying, make sure they are a fairly firm consistency. If they are soft & squishy, personally I'd avoid them as it will be very hard to get a good impression from them.
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Old 03-09-2017, 02:08 PM   #12
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Ditto that Versafine thought. I use black the most, but bought other colors in minis and they're so rich and sentiment-worthy. (I actually bought them from a company in the UK, I think it was; both inks and shipping were surprisingly inexpensive to the U.S.)

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Old 03-09-2017, 06:44 PM   #13
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Quote:

Originally Posted by cheermomView Post
Its a brand new set from Impression Obsession and out of the whole set, its just one sentiment. I didn't ink up the other sentiments to find out besides one other one and it stamped fine but the letters were bigger in that one. I will have to play with it today and see what happens. I was pressing really hard so maybe i need to just gently stamp.

Thanks.
Can I ask what set it is?
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Old 03-10-2017, 06:14 AM   #14
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I stand corrected ... Its from a set by ART IMPRESSIONS. Called Oat Goat Set
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Old 03-10-2017, 08:09 AM   #15
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Quote:

Originally Posted by CreativeCardseaView Post
Okay, I apologize in advance for the wall of text I'm about to unleash, but I've been in your shoes and I understand the frustration. So, here's my comprehensive findings on the subject:
squish the lines into spreading.
What a great review. It's like an article in a magazine that I want to rip out and keep handy. Thank God (and computer pros) that copy and paste are an option
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