There are lots of photopolymer stamps in the new Annual catalogue. These transparent stamps are ideal for precise image placement and make two-step stamping a breeze because you can see straight through them. However, you do need to take care of them and there are a few things you need to know to get the most out of your stamps.
Here are my Top 5 Tips to help you enjoy your photopolymer stamps:
1. Photopolymer stamps need to be stored in a cool place
Photopolymer stamps are essentially made with plastic. This is fantastic for a variety of reasons, including cost, size, weight, and stamping visibility. However, it’s vitally important to know and remember that photopolymer stamps MUST be stored in cool places. Because they are made with plastic, they are susceptible to distorting under extreme heat, such as in Queensland summers – where www.TheCreativeEclectic.com is located – so if you store your stamps on a shelf in the garage where the sun beats down on them all day – move them ASAP!
Make sure you store your photopolymer stamps in a cool place, out of direct sunlight and high heats in order to ensure that no warping, melting, or distortion takes place!
2. Photopolymer stamps stain easily – and That’s OK
Because of photopolymer’s transparent nature, the slightest alteration in color or opacity can stand out more than it does on red rubber stamps. However, do not fear. Staining is OK and expected with photopolymer (and acrylic) stamps. As long as you are regularly cleaning your stamps, you should not worry about some ink left behind – this is perfectly normal and will not alter your stamped images. You can reduce the staining by inking them with Versamark and rubbing it in before stamping. Did you know that some people deliberately stain their stamps with black inks when they first get them? GASP! My heart is aching at the thought of it. But if that works for you go right ahead!
3. Clean your photopolymer stamps with Simply Shammy
Cleaning photopolymer stamps is a common cause for concern in the stamping community. How do you clean photopolymer stamps? Which method works better? Though there are various methods that work best for various people, there is a tried and true method that nearly all stampers agree on – and that’s a good quality chamois or shammy. (Years ago I pinched my husband’s very expensive ArmorAl Synthetic car chamois – it worked perfectly but it was too big!)
Stampin’ Up! has just released the Simply Shammy – a reusable cleaning mat. You just add water then wipe the stamps on the shammy. It’s durable and thick and easily cleans the ink from narrow grooves. There is no alcohol or lint which are contained in some cleaners and baby wipes. The ink will over time stain the shammy but that won’t transfer to your stamp. Essentially, it’s a tool that not only cleans your stamps, but is also reusable – meaning one time purchase! No more wasting baby wipes and no more wasting your dollars!
Because photopolymer stamps are typically on the sticky-side (they need to be in order to cling to their acrylic blocks), baby wipes and paper towels often leave residue on stamps, causing your stamped images to either not be clean and consistent, or the ink to bead up on the stamp – something none of us want to see in our impressions! Save yourself the heartache now and impress your friends with not only a beautiful stamp impression, but squeaky-clean acrylic stamps.
4. You need acrylic blocks or a Stampartus for photopolymer stamps
Photopolymer stamps are awesome. Here’s my Top 5 Tips to help you get the best photopolymer stamping experience. www.TheCreativeEclectic.com #TCE #photopolymerstamps #toptips #TuesdayTips #acrylicstamps #tipstricktechniquesThis is the most important part of owning photopolymer stamps. These stamps are unmounted – meaning no wooden block for your hands to hold as you press the image onto your paper. Their unmounted constitution is desirable as it makes it possible to not only see exactly where you are stamping on your paper, but it also makes them more inexpensive to manufacture and ship, making them more affordable to you – the stamper! SCORE!
I recommend two ways to use photopolymer stamps. Firstly with an acrylic block. I recommend the Stampin’ Up! clear blocks (on page 206 of the 2018-2019 Annual Catalogue). They come in nine sizes, meaning hands of all shapes and sizes can stamp images of all shapes and sizes. Their edges are grooved, creating a block that is comfortable and easy to grip. You’ll find this important if you stamp frequently, as the grip will be easy and comfortable to hold time and time again. You can purchase them individually or as a bundle (and save 10%!).
A Stamping Revolution
Clear acrylic blocks, in general, are revolutionary to stamping, as you can literally see the paper through the acrylic block – meaning perfect placement every time. To use them, just peel your photopolymer stamp off the acetate sheet is came on, wash it with your simply shammy to remove any potential leftover chemicals or coatings from the manufacturing process, then dry and press onto your acrylic block. You can get your stamp (or multiple stamps) lined up exactly where you want it.
The second option I recommend for photopolymer stamping is the Stamparatus. This Stamp positioning tool is a must have if you are stamping multiple images or doing two-step or multi-step stamping. It is also great if you have difficulty holding a block or applying pressure to a stamp to get a clean crisp image. The Stamparatus works with clear-mount red rubber and photopolymer stamps. Since I invested in one of these, I use it way more than my acrylic blocks. It’s always on my desk. It allows you to re-stamp in exactly the same spot everything single time. So if you partially stamp an image you can easily fix it.
Perfectionists rejoice! It’s the stamping solution we’ve been waiting for!
5. Some inks can harm your photopolymer stamps
Lastly, it’s important to note that over time photopolymer stamps do not react well with StazOn solvent and alcohol based inks. The solvents in these type of inks can “dissolve” the photopolymer if used over a prolonged period without proper care in between. In this way photopolymer stamps are not as durable as red rubber stamps. Though there are so many other plus sides to using photopolymer stamps – they are less expensive, easier to store, and easier to be precise with, it is important to remember that they need to be treated a little differently than traditional red rubber stamps.
Avoid using StazOn inks when you use your photopolymer stamps (or protect your stamp with Versamark first) and save the StazOn for your rubber stamping escapades! If you must use StazOn and the StazOn cleaner make sure you clean your stamp thoroughly with the Stampin’ Scrub and Stampin’ Mist afterwards to condition your stamps.
6. Place a foam mat under your projects before you stamp
If you stamp with a photopolymer stamp onto a hard surface you may find that your image is not as clear as you would like. However, it you place Stampin’ Pierce Mat under your card stock before you stamp, you will find that your image is much crisper. The Stamparatus. comes with a foam mat to use with photopolymer stamps.
ANOTHER BONUS TIP
7. HELP! My photopolymer stamp has lost its stick!
Have you ever done heaps of embossing and found that your stamp seems to have gone “frosty white” and won’t stick to the block. Don’t despair. All it not lost. Your stamp is just really, really dirty. Grab a very gentle dish washing liquid, a soft toothbrush, paper towels and a bowl of warm water. Add some dish washing liquid to your toothbrush and gently brush your stamp clean. Make sure you clean both sides and get into the grooves. Rinse in warm water and set on the paper towels to dry. Then clean with your Stampin’ Scrub and Stampin’ Mist to condition them.
Give your acrylic blocks a good clean too! If they have sticky adhesive on them try wiping them with Purell hand sanitizer or some eucalyptus oil (you may need to let them sit overnight if using the eucalyptus option). I keep a good quality microfibre clearning cloth on hand to wipe over my blocks. You’ve spent all that time cleaning them so you don’t want fluff or lint on your blocks.
Hope you find these tips helpful. if you have a photopolymer stamping tips you’d like to share, make a comment below.