stamps are great tools, but they are not
quite like rubber stamps. Here are some
differences and tips for getting the best
image and longest life out of your clear
*It is important that you condition clear
stamps before your first use. Some people
suggest using a fine grit sand paper but
I find that using a standard pink eraser
to scuff the surface is the best way to
help your clear stamp hold ink. In their
new state, clear stamps to want to repel
ink and you can actually see it pooling
into little drops on the surface when you
ink them. I've shown an example to the left
to show the difference between an image
stamped with a rubber stamp, an image stamped
with a new polymer stamp and an image stamped
with a polymer stamp that had been conditioned
with a pink eraser.
Clear stamps are not designed
to last as long as rubber stamps. Rubber
stamps can last a life time if taken care
of. Polymer stamps tend to either get gooey
or harden as time goes on. This problem
is exacerbated by sunlight, indoor lighting,
oil based products, acetone and bleach.
Store your clear stamps in a light-free
container, such as a cardboard shoe box.
Even indoor light will discolor and eventually
harden your clear stamps. These stamps are
made of a light sensitive material because
they are developed using a light process.
Using and Cleaning
Solvent based inks, such as StazOn,
aren't the best choice to use with polymer
stamps. The ink is very hard to clean off
without their special cleaner. The StazOn
cleaner can damage your polymer stamp. Baby
wipes are a great method of cleaning polymer
stamps. You can also use mild soap and water
or alcohol. There are also cleaners, like
Stamp Cleaner, made specifically to
be gentle enough for use with polymer stamps.
polymer stamps are created using a developing
process rather than created by pressing
them into a mold, they can't be created
with as much detail as rubber stamps. You
won't notice much difference with bolder
or simple stamps but there can be a considerable
difference with highly detailed stamps.
If you click on the image to the right to
view the image in more
detail you'll see a very slight difference
in detail on the zigzag stitch stamp. The
X stitch stamp is virtually the same.
We've had to modify some
of our images when submitting the artwork
to make clear stamps. You can easily see
the difference in this high-detail floral
stamp. The small detail dots in the rubber
image couldn't be picked up by the photopolymer
process so we had to enlarge all the lines
on this stamp, make the stamp bolder and
darker than the original.
All of the samples on this
page were stamped using dye based Adirondack
ink. The difference between a conditioned
and unconditioned stamp would not be so
obvious with a pigment ink such as VersaColor
*Note: Some rubber stamps
also need conditioning when new. Fine grit
sand paper seems to work a little better
than the pink eraser method for rubber.
The stamps most likely to need to conditioning
when new, are shiny and have a release agent
left on them that needs to be sanded off.