It Was All A Blur

June 25, 2009

Warning: This is a long post, but it may very well be worth your time and save your sanity.

So here's the story. Last night, I was gearing up to do my daily card (my self-imposed challenge) when I took out a couple stamp sets with really fine detail. Not a problem, I thought. That was one of the reasons I chose to go with Stampin' Up! in the first place - clear, crisp images despite the little details.

But when I got down to the stamping part, things didn't go as planned.

The images came out blotchy and the lines were unclear. I couldn't believe it. I just spent how much money on all these supplies and they weren't working the way I thought they would?

Okay, let's not panic here.

I remember reading/hearing from other demonstrators that blotchy images could be because they're new stamps and they need to be "conditioned" a little. Apparently there's a film of residue that gets left on the stamps when they're manufactured. So I stamped and stamped to make them less new and ended up with a page like this:

It didn't help. So I turned to my trusty pigment inks. I've always favoured the pigments inks. Well, I can't really say "always".. I mean, I just started stamping like a year ago so that doesn't give me a lot of history to go back on, but still. I feel like the pigment inks cover stamps so much better thank water-based inks but that's a whole other post. And the images turned out perfectly*.

But I didn't spend all my money on Craft ink pads! I bought all the Classic ink pads! I couldn't help it, I was really starting to panic here. I was ready to replace my whole collection.

Then I took a breath. And another one. And another one. I calmed myself down and tried to think rationally. I remembered a few techniques I had read about, got a few suggestions from my (very prompt) Upline, and finally called Demo Support this morning (and spoke with a very, very helpful lady named Marilyn).

In total, I got 4 suggestions and here's my ink-up line-up to show you how the techniques fared. (Hahaha, those Santas look like they could be saying "Pick me! Pick me!"

The first Santa just shows you what the original, untreated stamp produced.

Technique #1: Versamark
Instructions: Ink up the stamp with Versamark ink, lightly stamp it on a scrap paper and without washing it off, ink the stamp with your desired colour. The Versamark ink is supposed to help hold onto the ink better.

Verdict: I found it lightened the colour of the ink somehow but made the image a little less blotchy.

Technique #2: White Eraser
Instructions: Lightly rub a white eraser over the entire stamp to help get rid of the residue. You should be careful of leaving eraser bits on the stamp - this will affect your image.

Verdict: I found this to help a little bit. Looking at the picture again, now, it seems that the blotchiness came back but the super-inky spots aren't as dark.

Technique #3: Denim
Instructions: Gently rub your stamp on a piece of denim (i.e., a pair of jeans). Just make sure your stamp is thoroughly cleaned and maybe, don't try this on your favourite pair. I rubbed my stamp on the inside of my jeans just in case some ink came off (and it did).

Verdict: This one worked the best for me. The image came out much clearer and you can see the outlines of the detail much better.

Technique #4: Sanding Blocks
Instructions: Gently sand the surface of your stamps. Dawn does a video on this here. I didn't get to try this one out because I don't have the sanding blocks but according to her video, this method works out well too!

So there you have it!

Congratulations for reaching the end of this post. I bet you thought it was never going to end. I didn't think I'd make it either, but here we are! I hope this helped you.

*I should mention that I used non-SU! pigment inks for this. My one Craft inkpad was very clumpy which I later found out could be due to the ink separating and can easily be fixed by giving it a little squishing with the back of a spoon.

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