Using Clear Acrylic Stamps

Using clear Acrylic Stamps – care, cleaning, stamping, inks.
How to use clear acrylic stamps.
Inks to use with clear acrylic stamps.

I have been using clear stamps with dye inks but my images are not coming out crisp, parts of the image are missing.
Can you give me some tips on how to stamp better images?  
What ink should I use?

A few tidbits for those new to clear stamps.
Good things about clear stamps — they are inexpensive and economical, come in sets/themes, and phrases can be manipulated into shapes. 
You can see where you are stamping using a clear acrylic block (one with grids work super!)
They are also easier to store than wood mounted stamps.

Not all clear stamps are identically produced, the polymers vary. 
Cheaper stamps may have the ink of any type bead up.
They can yellow, get fragile, and rip or disintigrate over time.
Special care is required.

Concept of use: Apply the clear stamp to an acrylic mounting block, ink and stamp.

First thing you should do is clean the stamps before you use them with a little bit of mild soap like Ivory or Dawn diswashing liquid.
Next you can condition the stamp by rubbing gently with a pink pencil eraser or nail file/sandpaper (fine grit).
This should remove the coating the manufacturer leaves on the stamp die.  If it is not removed, you will experience the ink beading up, or parts of the image not printing.

Next the inks — dye inks don’t work as well with clear stamps, the ink may bead up. 
If you were using the Distressing inks, they will create a “distressed” look as you described on any image used.
Keep away from Staz-On as that will stain your stamps and the Staz-On cleaner product is stronger which can break down the stamps over use and time.

Try using pigment inks. Do not firmly press the stamp into the pigment ink pad. Pigment inks are wet, too much ink may blur the image.
Gently press the die onto the ink pad getting good coverage.
You can emboss with pigment inks.

Suggested inks to use successfully: Brilliance, Memento, Colorbox Pigment, Colorbox Chalk, VersaMagic, VersaFine, Papertrey, Hybrid inks

If you have to, put the stamp on the mounting block, and lay it die up.  Ink your stamp that way either by dabbing the ink pad or inking up a brayer and rolling it over the image to ink it.
Lay your paper over the image, and add a piece of chipboard or card stock then with even pressure,  brayer over the chipboard or card stock like a press.
Once you stamp your image, you can heat set the ink with a heat tool.

Whether you use a dye ink or pigment, make sure your pad is inked well enough and there are no dry spots on the pad to cause the image from printing a full crisp image.

The type and quality paper or card stock you use could also play into your problem so experiement.

The pressure is lighter when using the clear stamps than rubber.  There is no cushion between the die and mount.
Some people prefer to stamp on a hard surface (like glass) and others like a bit of cushion and place an old mousepad, fun foam, or magazine under the paper and stamp.
Some people like to sit and stamp while others like to stand.
Again, experiment to find what works best for you to apply the correct pressure to produce a good image.

Hot Tip — Practice stamping on scrap paper to get a feel for the inking and pressure you need to apply to get a good image.

Watch the video below for a few more ideas to get you started successfully.

Cleaning your clear stamps
They are wash and wear.  Use a mild soap and water. Allow to dry.
Stamp cleaners may be too strong to use.  They will wear down your stamps so that the image can no longer stamp (and gets worse as they break down over time/use.) — read cleaning instructions on the product and follow for best results.
If they loose their cling, just wipe the back with water to revive them.
Dye inks, although not recommended, will stain so consider the ink you use with the stamps.
If using baby wipes — make sure they do not contain aloe vera or alcohol which can damage the stamps.

Storing your clear stamps
Keep them away from heat and direct sunlight.
Keep the theme/sets together in the original storage containers.
Store them in clear DVD cases.  Rubbermaid makes a memory storage box which these will fit in fine.
Art Bins, Photo Boxes, SB boxes, baskets, work great also.

If you need more information — check out the website of the product to find more tips, tricks, and ideas.

A few companies that sell clear stamps:

7 Gypsies
Autumn Leaves/Stampology
Basic Gray
Hampton Arts
Hanna Stamps
Hero Arts
Impression Obsession
Inky Antics
Martha Stewart
My Sentiments Exactly
Penny Black
Studio G
Technique Tuesday
Wordsworth Art Stamps

Most craft stores sell a few companies but you can buy on line at Addicted to Rubberstamps (clear stamp link).


5 responses to “Using Clear Acrylic Stamps

  1. Melene

    Thank you!!! I have looked all over for a remedy for not getting an entire image to stamp. No other site had any such information. Love your site!!

  2. Rachel Curtis

    Hi there! I really liked your tutorial page about stamping. I have a question I’m not sure if you can help with or not. I’ve been using an ink (close to my heart brand) so not the cheap kind. It was printing fine, then i didn’t use it for about a week and then now when i tried, it prints with bubbles on the design and is blurry. its very frustrating. we had a very hot couple of days, would this affect the ink?

    • JML

      Hi Rachel, Thanks for stopping by. Humidity does affect the ink. Also, they type of paper you use could be the problem too. Hope that helps clear up your stamping issues.

      • Thanks for replying. I did discover after the weather cooled down a little my ink worked fine again and I hadn’t really consider paper but now you mention it, I did notice differences in the printing depending on what paper I used! Thank you, I thought for a bit it might have been something I was doing 😉

  3. Thanks for this – very useful! I started trying out stamping this morning, and experienced the ink beading up as you’ve described. I’ll try the sandpaper thing next – if not, time to get some better inks!

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