Veni, Vidi, Ventus --
The randomly chaotic and crafty scribblings of a deranged, wannabe artist allowed too many colours in her Crayon box.

Surgeon General's Warning: Some content of "From Pooka's Crayon" may not be suitable for: work, blue-haired little old ladies, the politically-correct, rabid moonbats, uptight mothers, priests, chronic idiots, insurance claims agents, Democrats, children, small furry quadropeds from Alpha Centauri, or your sanity.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Weekender -- Getting More Out of Your Stamps

If you're anything like me, or have been playing around with crafting for a while, you've probably amassed a collection of stamps, whether they're wood mounted, unmounted, or acrylic.
We've all done the basic stamping: ink stamp from pad, stamp on paper. And we've done the embossing powder routines. And we've all pretty much played around with using markers to color individual portions of our stamps for greater variety.

But did you know that you can make your stamping look like you spent a few hours with watercolors and a paintbrush?

Me, I blame Tim Holtz for this particular Weekender. I saw him do this on the Carol Duvall show, and was immediately hooked. In fact, once the show was over (I DVR everything), I got up out of bed and marched to my crafting space to try it. And try it. And try it. I must have gone through at least three sheets of watercolor paper, stamping and playing with this technique.

I learned a few things through this process, so I figure I'll share them with you guys.


Watercolor paper, or heavy cardstock (textured is best, to really do up the watercolor look)
Stamps (bold designs, detailed stamps don't work well)
Dye, waterbased inks (dye markers work as well)
spray bottle (preferably a mist sprayer)
heat gun


-- You definitely want a bolder stamp design. Anything with a lot of detail will turn to a muddy blur. And choose thicker lines over thinner ones.
-- Wood mounts or acrylic stamps work equally well.
-- Some pigment inks DO actually work with this, but they must be very juicy, and you must spray and print -immediately-.
-- You can get several prints out of one inking -- just spray more water. Each subsequent stamping will be fainter, of course, allowing a nice fade effect.
-- Neatness does NOT count with this technique. The water spray will allow the ink to bleed to fill in any spaces you may miss on the stamp.
-- Color color color! Shading really helps the watercolor look.
-- Make sure when you spray the stamp that you hold it flat: tilting it will cause the ink to really run (though this look can work, too!).
-- You can actually use your watercolor paints on this as well. The pencils don't really work, but watercolors from a tube, or a reconstituted dry cake are perfect: just apply to the stamp with a brush.
-- For a really dramatic look, do your watercolor stamping, then stamp over it, same image, with a permanent ink.


1. You can either work on pre-cut sections of paper, or work on a big sheet and then cut/tear the images after stamping.

2. Ink up your stamp. While neatness doesn't count, this look works best if you avoid single, solid colors. After all, you're trying to approximate the look of watercolors. Shade to your heart's content -- but then, don't be afraid of trying a few bold solids. This technique is FUN, so play with it!

3. Holding your stamp flat and level, mist with your sprayer of water two to three times. Test your sprayer first to see how much water it puts out. You might only need two sprays, or even just one.

4. Carefully flip your stamp, and press it to your paper. Lift off carefully to avoid drips.

5. Immediately use your heat gun to dry it. You don't -have- to use a heat gun, but a fast dry keeps the colors stronger and on the surface, instead of them soaking into the paper. However, it MUST be dry before you stamp again, or you'll get running of the image that you don't want.

6. If desired, spray the stamp again, and restamp, changing position of the stamping. You should be able to get two to four stampings out of a single inking, each lighter than the last.

Make sure each stamping is dry before stamping again.

This technique creates images with a wonderful watercolor look, without all the time and effort. And for those like me with precious little drawing talent, makes it easy to get an image that actually looks like something!

Try tearing the edges of the stamped image to further soften the look.

A random field of small or large images makes nice background paper.

Watercolor stampings can be die cut to create great matching embellishments to coordinate with a larger stamping on a project.

Large images, when matted, are even worthy of framing. You don't have to tell anyone you didn't spend hours painting it!

1 comment:

Carrie said...

Sounds cool... is there a picture sample of what it looks like somewhere?? :)