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Basic Stamping

There are several ways to ink a stamp. The manner that you choose will depend on the results that you want to obtain.

Stamp Pads

The first, and most popular way, is to use an ink pad. Ink pads come in a variety of colors and three basic types. The three types are dye based, pigment based and embossing. The difference between the types is discussed in "The Difference Between Inks". For now, let's discuss how to get a good, even impression.

First, when you get a new stamp, it is best to clean it with stamp cleaner. This will remove any dirt or residue that might be on the stamp.

Then, take the stamp pad of your choice and press it evenly onto the stamp (while most people hold the pad with the ink side up and press the stamp onto the pad, if you have a very small pad or a stamp that is larger than the pad, it's sometimes easier to hold the stamp image side up and press the pad to the stamp. Either way, the results will be the same).

Check the stamp to make sure that you have inked it evenly-sometimes it takes more than one try. To do a test, place the stamp down on a piece of scrap paper. Apply firm, even pressure to the entire stamp. Don't rock the stamp or move it-that will result in a blurred or smeared image. Lift the stamp off the paper in one even movement. This test will show you if the stamp is as evenly inked as you thought. If you need to re-ink because of an incomplete image, do another test before stamping your project. If the image was perfect the first time, re-ink the stamp and then stamp your project. You can usually get more than one clear, crisp image from a properly inked stamp.

Marking Pens

Another way to ink a stamp is to use water-based markers. These can be bought singly or in sets and come in a wide variety of colors. You must use water based markers because they are the only ones that stay wet long enough.

There are several reasons why you might choose a marker over an ink pad. Markers can be used to color different elements in a stamp in different colors (like red roses with green leaves). They can also allow you to eliminate certain elements. Let's say that you have a stamp that shows a basket full of flowers but you only want to use the basket part of the stamp. Just color the part of the stamp that you need and all other elements (in this case, the flowers) will be absent from the final image. Markers are also easier to store and cheaper than buying stamp pads in colors that you may only use once or twice..

In order to use a marker you must work quickly as they dry much faster than the ink in a pad. Color the raised portions of the stamp in whatever color you choose. It helps if you exhale directly onto the stamp right before you stamp your image. Then press the stamp to the project just as you would if you were using a stamp pad. You can do a test sample first but, if you do, remember that you it's best to totally re-ink the stamp before stamping your final image.

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