Mar 242011

This is all about making clean stamped images in some sort of medium. There were a couple attempts to stamp into modeling clay and while you can get really clear impressions, you still have to go in after and add colour and paint doesn’t adhere well to fired clay. We tried laying the texture paste down and letting it surface dry and then stamping into it but that was too unpredictable. Finally we came up with layering the modeling paste directly onto the stamp and then peeling it off when it dried. We also tried building layers of modeling paste but one good layer works the best and is actually the fastest. It is an easy clean up, just wash your stamps as usual and let them dry. Arylic stamps clean up easier than rubber though so if you’re just wanting to try it out, use an acrylic stamp.  I’m using one from Marah Johnson’s Unity Art and Soul set.

Lay your stamp on a plastic bag or something flexible that will allow it to stick to it.

Ink your stamp in the desired colour(s) and let the ink dry. If the ink is not dry, your finished image will not be crisp. You only need to leave it for a few seconds

Next, with your favourite tool – pallete knife, popsicle stick, index finger, spread a thick coat of paste over the stamp. The paste has the consistency of cake frosting so it will spread very easily. You want to lay enough down so that you don’t see any of the stamp. Try to make the layer as evenly as possible so it dries evenly. If you are using an acrylic stamp, feel free to let the paste spread over onto the packaging, you can trim the excess away after.

This is where you have to eyeball, too much and it will take much longer to dry, too little and the finished image may have gaps in it. The layer will actually shrink as the moisture leaves and the paste hardens, so if it isn’t thick enough, it could tear when you take it off the stamp. Leave the paste under a fan or in a well ventilated area to harden, I’ve found that heat has very little impact in speeding up the drying process. After a few hours, it should be surface set where you can touch it. A rule of thumb is that if it feels cold, it’s not set yet. To help speed up drying, when the image is surface dry, run your nail under the edge of it to release it slightly. This will provide a space for the moisture still in the paste to escape.

When you’re ready to release the stamp, just slowly peel the stamp back. If you’re seeing that the paste is not completely dry as you’re peeling it back, press the image back on the stamp and leave it for another hour or so.

Once it’s off at set, use Tonic scissors to trim away the gnarly edges. The dried paste is actually quite flexible and can be painted over or stamped again.  If you adhering it to a porous surface like paper or material, acrylic paint is actually the best adhesive since the paint will bond to the paste.

Have fun!  There will be lots more examples of this next week in other projects.

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