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Ask the Artist


Our Artist in Residence, Dina Kowal, answers your questions


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  • October 14, 2020
    Q: skmrg asks: "How should I be cleaning my photopolymer and my rubber (background) stamps? Would the method depend on the type of ink being used?"

    A: I just swipe mine with an old dry rag! In general you'll want to use the solvent that is the base of your ink. Dye inks are water-based, and you can clean them with a damp rag or shammy cloth or even a baby wipe. There is a Stazon cleaner that is formulated for use with solvent inks on rubber - it's not recommended for photopolymer, because of a chemical reaction that will eventually break down the material. There are specialty stamp cleaners you can buy - I don't use one, but you can find some member recommendations HERE! Be sure to wipe the cleaner away with something that doesn't shed lint, since that fuzz will stick to your stamps.


    October 7, 2020
    Q: Linda wants to know: "What do I do with the teeny tiny stamps that a lot of sets come with? I tend to make larger cards (half fold, 6" x 6" etc.) and those tiny stamps look lost."

    A: I've been using them most lately for wreath stamping - we have a fun tutorial HERE that shows several ways to create this fun effect! I might also put a few small stamps together on an acrylic block to create a random 'swoosh' of small images across a card or around a focal image. I've also found that many of my paper crafting supplies cross over into working with polymer clay - smaller accent stamps are great for pressing into beads and buttons, or adding texture to a clay slab!


    September 30, 2020
    Q: Poppy wants to know: "How do you make 'metal' look embellishments from paper?"

    A: You can cover chipboard with foil tape and die cut it for metallic embellishments. You can also use chrome spray paints (Krylon has some nice ones) on paper or other materials. There are wax-based metallic rubs that are fun to use - Inka Gold is the product that I have. A black base with metallic highlights makes a nice antiqued look. you can also use metallic embossing powders on die cut foam tape for some cute faux hardware!
    Check out these tutorials for more ideas:
    Faux Metal Figures
    Faux Metal
    Faux Tin Tiles
    Faux Hardware Embellishments


    September 23, 2020
    Q: Kimbra wants to know: "I am having trouble finding a product to hold my dies in place that doesn't tear my paper. I have tried everything I have seen on various videos: micropore tape, painters tape, washi, Post-it.... I am really frustrated. After running it thru the machine it pretty much always tears my paper when I pull it off, and I am being very, very careful."

    A: When I did the Four Way Card tutorial I had to tape the die onto one piece of cardstock and then use it as a template (die in card) for the remaining 3 panels - after 4 passes through the machine, washi tape was like part of the paper, and there was no way to remove it without tearing. The second time I used a Post-it note, and was able to remove it gently without tearing. Lydia recommends 3M Post-it Tape, which I assume has a similar tack. I found the magnetic plate to be a really good investment too, and that lessens the need for tape.


    September 16, 2020
    Q: GeorgiaBabydoll asks: "I don't know how to get my card to upload to a specific tutorial gallery. I uploaded it to my gallery. What do I need to do differently?"

    A: For next time, when you upload to the gallery, there are some dropdown options at the top - the tutorials are under Technique Spotlight in the first dropdown, and then the name of the tutorial in the second dropdown. For the card you've uploaded, you can go into your edit screen (bottom right corner under your Card Details, then you'll see the option to change the category. Scroll down until you see Technique Spotlight, and then the tutorials will be listed below that. (Thank you for doing that! You can always just upload to your member gallery, but it's neat to see all the tutorial examples together, and it's great for inspiration!)


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