Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Stamp-a-ma-jig - Stamp Positioning

Hidey-Ho Readers - in an effort to stop stuffing my face after work in front of HBO, I put this class together on using a simple stamp positioner.  It's called the Stamp-a-ma-jig and it retails for about $8.  You can buy extra plastic sheets for the thing separately, but it comes with everything you need to get started. This is what you get, minus the tape runner.  I stuck that in there so you could get an idea of how big the thing is. The plastic sheet has a sticker on the side you DON'T stamp on.

Ok - here is a look at the finished piece.  I'm using a couple of stamps from one of Unity Stamp Co's sets and a sentiment from Hero Arts in the next post when we get to the masking class.  The inks should be pigment ink.  I'm using Colorbox; terracotta and pink. 

First let's stamp the base image - the sign post.  This is a larger stamp, and it's important not smear ink into the hole where we'll add the word 'smile'.  To keep things even and clean, I like to use a brayer to load the stamp with ink.  You can use your ink pad, but just be sure to keep the edges clean. 

Not to get ahead of myself, but I doused the finished product in clear UTEE and melted it from behind with the heat gun. Another reason to use the brayer to load the stamp; it puts a nice, even, thick layer of ink on the page that UTEE loves to stick to. I find when using Ultra Thick Embossing Enamel (UTEE) it's best to heat the stuff from underneath. The larger particles tend to blow all over the place if heated from above.

Set the sign post image aside, once you have it stamped.  Now, lay the plastic sheet on your work surface.  The smooth side should be facing up.  Place the jig handle tight to the corner of the plastic sheet.  Ink your 'smile' stamp and carefully place the corner of the stamp into the 90 degree corner of the jig.  Lower the stamp so it prints on the plastic sheet.

Ok - we're almost there...take the plastic sheet and layer it over the sign post so 'smile' is in the center of the lower oval. 

Add the jig snug up against the corner of the plastic sheet, keeping 'smile' where you want it.  Move the jig together with the plastic sheet until you get it just right.

Once you are happy with the placement, keeping the jig in place with one hand, carefully remove the plastic sheet with the other.  Don't move your sign post image when you take away the plastic sheet.  If you do, it's no big deal, just repeat the above step and try again.  You should now have your stamped sign post image with the jig on your work surface.  Ink your 'smile' stamp and place it in the corner of the jig, lowering it down to stamp onto the sign post.

Remove the stamp and the jig and you should now have 'smile' right where you want it.  Ta da!  (Here's where you can get out the UTEE and dunk, gently shake off the excess, and melt from behind.)   

There are about a million different stamp positioners on the market today, but I find that none of them are as easy to use as this little gadget.  Here are some additional tips if you are stuggling at all with this.
  1. If you can't seem to pull the plastic sheet away without moving the base image, try using some repositionable tape to hold the base image to your work surface.  You can stick it down with post-it notes too.  They are designed for repositioning, but most people don't use them as tape.  I do. 
  2. Use pigment ink to start.  It wipes right off the pastic sheet so you can try again.  Chalk ink and Staz-On require you to remove it with special cleaners.  It's just something else to mess up the place and keep you from getting things figured out while you practice.
  3. Ahhh...Practice.  Yeah.  Good idea! 
  4. Note the plastic sheet has three corners (because of the sticker they place on it) that you can use for images.  You can put a different image on each corner and place them anywhere you want them.  If you buy extra plastic sheets, you get three in a pack.  Thats 9 more corners to play with!  Take off the silly sticker with some Un-Do and, bam!  That's extra corners!
That's it!  Shout out any questions you have.  I'll reply with comments on the blog so everyone can see.  - AMK

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