Now that you have the basic materials, my next suggestion would be to acquire stamps. I started off with the wooden ones – since I already was familiar with those ones! They are just like the ones your teachers would stamp on your papers in school. They come in all sizes and designs, perfect to use on backgrounds for your layout or to add to embellishments or tags.
But what about those clear stamps? Until recently, I stayed away from them because I wasn’t really sure what to do with them. Did they really just stick to the clear block? Wouldn’t I have to replace them often? I decided to give them a try and I realize that I love them just as much (if not more!) than the wooden stamps.
First, they are very simple to use. You just peel them right off the clear plastic sheet and stick them on to a clear plastic block. I have found that if you are trying to use stamps to write a title to your page, clear stamps are much easier to use. Since the stamp is adhered to the clear block, you can see exactly where the stamp will be on the page. And if you need to continue a design (for a border for example), you can tell where you left off, unlike when you use a wooden stamp.
Clear stamps are just as easy to clean as wooden ones (I use water in my Mini Mister – a small spray bottle that you can travel with – and a paper towel to clean). They also give you more value for your money. Most often background stamps can cost up to $20 – and that’s just for one stamp. For around $17, you can get a variety of stamps with a similar theme in the clear stamps.
When I pick my stamps, I keep in mind stamps that are going to be more versatile. Background (or larger) stamps are good for that because they are often a pattern. Just because the stamp is huge, doesn’t mean that the space you are stamping it onto has to be. If you have a certain theme that you know you are going to scrapbook about a lot (like vacations to the beach or Disney, birthday parties or weddings), try finding stamp sets. They are often more cost efficient because you get a couple of stamps in a pack and you will use them more often. I do have holiday ones that I can use season after season. Stamps that are swirls or a design are good choices because you can use them on many different layouts.
But what kind of ink do I use? I have recently found Distress Inks by Ranger and I love them for many different projects. When I stamp, I do use them. I have found that they tend to leave a smudged look if you don’t push the stamp straight down and pull the stamp up. Sometimes I rock my stamps or press to hard and it makes the ink bleed a little outside of the lines. I don’t mind that look, but just be aware if you want a clean look. Otherwise, I use the cheap inks that were at ACMoore. They are $1 a pad, so I have a bunch of colors.
If you are tired of just using black ink for the outline of you stamp and then coloring the image in, there are markers that are designed to use like ink pads on stamps. Because they stay wet longer, they are perfect for intricate stamps or stamps where you want to do lots of color. They are on the expensive side – I only buy them when I have a 50% off coupon at ACMoore or Michael’s! They have a thin tip for coloring in little spaces and a larger, brush-like tip to ink your stamps or color a larger area.
If you already use the wooden stamps, I’d suggest giving the clear ones a chance. It took me awhile to come around to the idea, but I am glad that I did. There are so many options for stamps. Have fun!