Many “how to” books forget to add the section on how to achieve the perfect rubber stamped image. It seems such a basic step so it is easily forgotten. But for beginners that aren’t achieving the perfect image, some guidelines are always helpful.
The first step is to look carefully at your stamp. Is it brand new? Is it clean? Does it look dry or brittle? Does it have cracks anywhere?
If your stamp is new you will need to clean it before you use it. When the stamp is made unwanted things might attach and act as a barrier to your stamp. Use some cleaner and a cleaning pad. Next, ink it and check to see if the entire image is covered. You may need to do this a few times before the entire residue from the manufacturer is removed.
If your stamp looks dry or brittle you can try to clean it with a conditioner, but if it appears to have any cracks you will never get a clean image. You might chose to keep the stamp regardless and use it for a certain look; that is up to you.
Next, check the surface that you are planning to stamp on. You need a flat surface that will not “give” when you put pressure on it. Small stamps do not need as much pressure as large stamps, so a softer surface such as a card table might be acceptable for a small stamp.
Now you can ink your stamp. Some people will tap the ink pad with the stamp, but I prefer to turn my stamp upside down, and pat my ink pad to the image. This way I can make sure that the entire image is covered properly with ink.
Stamp straight down on the paper and resist the temptation to rock the stamp back and forth. If you rock there is a chance that the non-raised areas of the stamp will ink up your paper leaving a blurry look or unwanted marks. Large stamps may need a little more pressure around the middle of the stamp and around the edges. Now lift the stamp straight up away from the paper.
Remember, mistakes happen! If you are not happy with the image you can turn the paper over and try again. Or, you can use your mistake as an opportunity to get creative and enjoy the process. You can color with pens, pencils, or add an embellishment.
And last, but not least, always clean your stamps before putting them away!