Even though the basic use of rubber stamps couldn't be simpler, here are a few tips for making a "good impression".
Choosing Your Stamps
First is the mounting. Wood or acrylic-mounted stamps are usually of very good quality and ideal for applying even pressure to stamped designs. However, Foam-mounted stamps are also of generally high quality, yet significantly less expensive than their wood-mounted counterparts. Unmounted stamps - meaning the sale of the etched rubber design itself, with no hard or foam backing - are used with separate temporary mounting "systems", or with hard backing made by the purchaser. This is the least expensive form in which rubber stamps are sold, but because of the value, this form is very popular among many rubber stamp artists.
A second consideration is the quality of the stamp molding - the depth and precision with which the design has been pressed into the rubber. Look for a high degree of definition between the design surface and the base of the rubber. In cases where the difference between the highest and lowest surfaces of the stamp design in not as defined, the stamp may tend to make impressions that will look muddied and in some cases unintelligible. Sharp, clean design edges and crisp, incised line quality are hallmarks of a stamp that will lend itself well to ordinary stamping and better quality embossing.A third and very important aspect to remember when choosing a mounted rubber stamp is how well the stamp is trimmed and set onto its mount. Well mounted stamps will usually have the base mount, a layer of foam, and then the top rubber layer bearing the design. The layers of rubber and foam should be trimmed to within an eighth of an inch of the stamp design. Trimming should be smooth with no gouges or cuts across the surface of the stamp and no intrusion into the design itself. These things can happen in lower quality stamps.
Types of Ink and Inkpads
The main difference between these ink types is the drying speed, and it is this difference which determines which is used for embossing because ink must remain damp long enough for embossing powders to get a good grip on the stamped design. Water-based inks are quick-drying and come in a wide range of colors. Pigment inks have a thickness that slows the drying time and is therefore the right ink for embossing projects. Embossing inks vary in color but also include clear or lightly tinted inks that provide a non-colored base for opaque powders that will not affect the appearance of the finished, melted or "embossed" resin.
Inking the Stamp
TIPS TO REMEMBER!:
If there are "open" portions of your stamps design - an area where the design has no lines or solid fill - then it's important not to apply pressure over that area. This can leave smudges.
It is also important not to rock the stamp and cause the trimmed edges to get ink on the paper. This can lead to that "rubber stamped" look, which is desirable in some instances, but not as a rule.