When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say, "I used everything you gave me, Lord." I am a believer that God created each one of us with a unique talent, therefore, use it well to serve Him.

Friday, February 18, 2011

How I Store my Clear Stamps

To some, clear stamps are a big No, No but I love them! I actually prefer them better than rubberstamps. For one, they are much less expensive, less maintenance and they stamp more accurately than rubberstamps. Some people think that clear stamps doesn't give you a crisp and clean image. I totally disagree with them. If you buy high grade clear stamps like Flourishes, Close to My Heart you will get the same outcome as rubberstamps without paying an arm and a leg.

Below you will see pictures of how I store my clear stamps:
This Ikea bookcase is solely dedicated for my stamps.
 I used regular 4-inch binder and different plastic protector sheets for my clear stamps. I arranged them according to different categories.  I used this kind of filing system too with my sticker embellishment.
 The 4-inch binders can go as high as $10 a piece.  If you will use this kind of storage solution for your stamps, I suggest you go check first the thrift store for these binders. If there is an Ollie's near you, you can get a set of 2 4-inch binder for $10.
 I dressed up these binders using Designer Cardstock.  With this kind of storage system and labeling, I really don't need to have an inventory/directory of what stamps I have. 
 See how I took those stamps off their packaging?  I then mounted them in a white cardstock, labeled it with brand and description.
 I'm really happy with this kind of storage.  I have several kinds of protector sheets that has different numbers of pockets and I got them at eBay. 
 This basket is full of my Peachy Keen Stamps, Craft Lounge, My Pink Stamper, Scrappy Moms, Creative Time and Whimsy Stamps.  These stamps are well used and sits right next to me.  I used these mostly for the different challenges entries that I'm making.
Piece of advice:  If you want a clear and crisp image using clear stamps, you need to condition them.  Here's a suggestion on how to do it:
1.) I used Tim Holtz Sanding Block.  I like the fine sand paper that comes with this sanding block.  Why is it necessary to condition the stamp?  It is because you need to eliminate the outer shiny layer in the stamp.  Sanding it will make the stamp a little bit rougher but it will not affect the image.  It will rather help the stamp to grab the ink better.  After sanding it, wipe or wash off the residue then stamp it several times on a piece of scrap paper for a much better clean image.
2.) If you are not comfortable using sanding blocks, Adhesive Eraser is an alternative option.  It will take a little bit longer to get rid of the thin and shiny layer in the stamps but it should work too.  Again, you need to stamp it several times until you come up with a clear and crisp stamp image.

To note:
 - It is a misconception that you cannot use Staz-On on clear stamps. You can use Staz-On but make sure NEVER to use Staz-On Solvent Ink Stamp Cleaner.  It is the solvent in the stamp cleaner that can actually damage your stamps.  Stewart Superior Ultra Clean Stamp Cleaner is that I used for cleaning my clear stamps.
- Make sure to clean your stamps right after you use them.  It is a must especially when you use pigment and chalk inkpads.  If left uncleaned it could cause crack on your stamps.  As an added note, don't worry or throw your clear stamps it ended up having discoloration, it wont affect the image or the stamps.

- If you decided to unmount your clear stamps, please make sure not to get rid of the the plastic cling that goes with it. Please keep them.  If you unmount your stamps and you happen to use a non-archival sheets, acetate or even those transparency to mount them, it can cause damage to your stamps. 

Hope that helps!

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