Inspired by a post by the Createniks, I’ve embarked on my own stamp making adventure.
Like Scott and Angi, I was using rubberstamps.net to order custom, unmounted rubber stamps. They do a really nice job and I was pleased with the quality of the stamps. But I always thought it would be more efficient, and possibly cheaper, to make my own stamps.
The answer, I discovered, is the Teresa Collins Stampmaker Kit.Â This seems to be a re-branded Imagepac Stampmaker aimed at crafters and scrapbookers (pink and girly).
Imagepac Stampmaker KitÂ from Amazon.
I ordered mine from Home Shopping Network because they offered a discount and had the best price that I could find. Unfortunately, it looks like they are out of stock right now.
The kit is pretty simple. It comes with everything you need to make stamps right out of the box except for electricity, water, scissors and soap. The videos make it look pretty easy. And the process isn’t too complicated but getting just the right settings took a little trial and error.
Basically, you print out your design on one of the clear sheets and put it over the light sensitive gel pack. Put that into the light box and the light shines through the clear parts of the design and makes the gel hard. Then you wash off the gel that is still liquid because it wasn’t exposed to the light. There are a few more steps but that’s the basic idea.
Even though I didn’t see it mentioned in the instructions, the clear plastic guard that protects the light should not be in the stampmaker while making stamps. It wouldn’t seem like a problem but I wasted a couple gel packs because they didn’t get enough light. When I washed off the extra gel the whole design disappeared because it wasn’t solid enough!
The main problem that I had was that my cheap printer didn’t put enough ink on the clear sheet to block the light. So I ended up with stamps that have barely any depth. Too much light got through the black part of the design and solidified the part of the gel that was supposed to be the negative part of the stamp.
Instead of buying a new printer I decided to stack two of the same designs on top of each other to make the image darker. It did the trick. It was just a little tricky getting the images perfectly lined up.
The instructions said that overhead transparencies would not work. But when I stacked two of them together it seemed to work fine. So I guess I don’t have to buy their special/overpriced(?) transparency sheets? Now if I can find some cheaper gel packs I’ll be all set!
Even if I have to pay full price for the gel packs, it will be more cost effective than rubberstamps.net. The two closest sizes of stamps that they offer are about $15 and $20. I can buy a pack of 5 gel packs of similar size for $15-20. Plus I don’t have to wait to get my design approved, printed and shipped. I have a temporary supply of transparency sheets which should last me for a while since I can fit multiple stamp designs on each sheet.
I also like using these stamps because they are clear. The stamps from rubberstamps.net are solid red rubber. Having clear stamps should make it easier to get the stamp in the right spot! The other thing that I like is the depth of the stamp. Depending on the settings you can make the base/back of the stamp thicker or thinner so I can get a pretty good impression in the clay.
So, the stampmaker kit is definitely an investment but I think I’ll get enough use out of it to make it worthwhile. Special thanks to Scott and Angi for their blog and some email advice.
Perhaps in the future I’ll put together a step by step tutorial about making stamps for clay. Cross off another goal achieved in 2014!