'Wickedly Perfect' Rubber Stamping

If you thought that using rubber stamps were just for kids, Kimberly Kennedy is here to prove you wrong. Rubber stamps are great for decorating note cards, tea towels, plates, and to embellish basic frames. And they are not expensive, which is another great reason to try stamping.

There are thousands of Internet sites devoted to this particular craft. It's truly amazing, the variety of stamps available, and as you become more proficient in this craft, you can even design your own.

There are basically three types of rubber stamps. The most common are those with wooden block backs and rubber images. Foam stamps with foam backs and patterns are also common. The newest trend in stamps is see-through rubber images placed on clear plastic blocks.

There are several types of stamp pads:

  • Water-based ink: Universal ink which is best on both flat and glossy papers and wood.

  • Fabric ink: Specialty water-based ink which is best on fabric. Finished image must be heat-set with an iron.

  • Solid surface permanent ink: Specialty water-based ink which is best on non-porous materials such as ceramic tiles, glass, metals, and porcelain. It also does well on stone.

  • Edible ink: Although not sold in ready inked pads, you can make your own by using gel food coloring like those used for decorating cakes and cookies. You can create your own pads by inking empty pads with a water-based FDA-approved food coloring.

  • Pigment ink: Dries slowly and is used mainly for embossing with powders. Unless you are planning on embossing your work, do not purchase this type of stamp pad.

    In addition to stamp pads, bottled acrylic paint can be used in stamping. It is applied to the decorative portion of the stamp using a small paintbrush. This technique is preferred when using foam stamps.

    To stamp any object with a wood or plastic mounted rubber stamp:

    1. Start with a clean stamp.
    2. Place the target on a flat and slightly padded stamping surface. If working on a table, place a magazine underneath for better results.
    3. Turn the wood-mounted rubber stamp onto its wood side with the rubber facing up.
    4. Take the opened stamp pad and lightly tap the rubber side of the stamp, covering it completely with ink. Make sure not to over-ink your stamp.
    5. Using a straight up and down motion, place the rubber stamp onto your desired surface. Once the stamp touches your surface, do not shift or rock the stamp from side to side because doing so may distort your image.
    6. Make certain to apply even pressure onto the back of your stamp by running the pads of your fingers all over the surface area of the wood.
    7. Lift the stamp straight up.
    8. Clean your stamp with stamp cleaner and a cleaning pad or paper towels. Do not rinse your stamps under running water because the excess water will break down the glue holding the rubber stamp to the wood block.
    Gift Ideas

    Stamping on plain foldover note cards is an inexpensive way to create a personalized gift. Make several cards and tie them with matching envelopes together with an attractive ribbon. For an extra personal touch, consider stamping the cards with a monogram using the initials of the recipient.

    Linen tea towels make great hostess or housewarming gifts. Use a fabric inkpad. Once the ink is dry, place a press cloth over your towel and run an iron, set on medium heat, over the image to set.

    Stamped picture frames are perfect for birthday gifts. Add a photograph of the recipient and yourself before wrapping it up.

    Instead of using paper plates at your next party, stamp inexpensive white plastic plates with edible ink. Let the ink dry overnight. When you wash them, the ink will be removed, and you can decorate the plates with a new stamp next time.

    Use edible ink and wafer paper, available online and at baking stores, to decorate cookies and cakes.
    • Chris Hawke

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