Stamps have changed a lot from those old wood mounted stamps in half dried out ink pads that usually come to mind when one mentions stamps. Of course the stamps I'm talking about today are a lot closer to these stamps than the current self-inking type that are used in most offices.
For the purpose of today's post, there are two types of stamps. Mounted and unmounted.
These are stamps that are ready to go. All you need to be able to use them, is an inkpad. The mounts can be made of wood or acrylic, but the stamp itself is connected to the mount - it's an all-in-one deal. Mounted stamps look 'normal' to people who don't stamp.
There are two types of unmounted stamps. Rubber stamps, and clear stamps.
Good quality clear stamps are made from photopolymer, although cheaper stamps could be made from an inferior substance which may not hold ink as well as it should.
Unmounted rubber stamps look just like the stamp portion of a wood mounted stamp, just without the wood!
Unmounted stamps are sometimes called cling stamps, because to be able to use them, you need an acrylic block. Blocks come in many different shapes and sizes, and for good reason!
A small stamp will fit and stamp better when on a small block, and likewise for big stamps with big blocks. A small stamp will work on a big block, but you may get shadowing. But more of that later.
A stamp on a block that isn't big enough will not give you a good impression. Your stamp needs to have even pressure all over in order to stamp correctly.
Inking and Shadowing
Shadowing occurs when your stamp is over inked and rocked.
I've seen it many times before, especially with new stampers. They over ink their stamps, resulting in shadowing. A stamp only needs to be tapped onto an inkpad (or vice versa) for it to be well inked, especially if your inkpad has sufficient ink. Keeping a reinker on hand will mean your inkpads will remain 'juicy'.
Another mistake stampers make is rocking their stamps when they're stamping. This is most common with small, sentiment stamps. It's best to go straight onto your project, apply even pressure, and then bring your stamp straight back up. This way, even if you do have ink on the other portions of your stamp, they shouldn't transfer to your project.
When inking your stamps, the general rule is that if the inkpad is bigger than the stamp, take the stamp to the inkpad, but if the stamp is bigger than the inkpad, take the inkpad to the stamp.