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Clear Stamps And Scrapbooking: Clearly A Winning Combination 
by Christine Perry

The unique qualities of clear acrylic stamps make them a perfect choice for scrapbooking. Stamping on scrapbook pages has always been a challenge. Placing the stamp and avoiding excess ink are a few of the concerns that keep most scrapbookers from trying stamping techniques on their page layouts, but now with the availability of clear acrylic stamps, anyone can get fantastic results from stamps on their scrapbooking pages.

Clear acrylic stamps, also called polymer stamps, are different from traditional wood block or foam backed rubber stamps. They are more economical because they are not pre mounted. Clear stamps are naturally tacky and stick to an acrylic block. They are easily removed allowing you to reuse the block again and again. You simply purchase unmounted clear stamps from any manufacturer, and these work with any clear acrylic mount. Buy a larger mount first that can be used with both small and large stamps. These stamps are also much easier to store, and because they are acrylic, they are lightweight and easy to transport to scrapbooking crops or classes.

Using clear stamps with scrapbooking couldn t be easier. Choose from words, designs and image clear stamps, and peel and stick them to an acrylic block. Now you re ready to start stamping. Because the block and stamp are transparent, you can see exactly where you want to place the imprint. No more misaligned prints! You will have precise placement every time and no more guesswork or stamping mistakes.

Another unique feature of clear acrylic stamps is the ability to mix and match them. With wood and rubber stamps you have to realign your stamps to use more than one stamp together. It takes at least 2 stamping imprints to achieve the same results with one acrylic block. While you can use your clear art stamps individually, the ability to peel and stick to a large acrylic block makes it easy to stamp entire phrases or scenes with one stamp. Just choose your stamps and arrange them all on one clear mount. They can even be from different stamp manufacturers. It s even possible to cut portions of one stamp apart and arrange them in a different pattern for stamping or use only a part of the stamp. Clear art stamps offer much more versatility and functionality than rubber stamps.

Because new stamps tend to resist ink, many scrapbookers recommend conditioning your clear stamps before you use them the first time. Some use a fine grit sandpaper and others prefer a pink eraser. Simply, scuff the surface of a brand new stamp. This will help it to hold ink more effectively. After stamping with ink, clean it with mild soap and water or rubbing alcohol. Avoid oil based cleaners, acetone and bleach because these can damage and break down your stamp. Some scrapbookers have difficulty getting a crisp image from clear polymer stamps. To improve the quality of the ink impression, try using a cushioned surface under your scrapbooking paper. A soft mouse pad works well for this purpose. Using this cushioning effect may take a bit of practice, but the results will be worth it.

Be sure to store your clear stamps in a dark place away from sunlight or indoor lighting. Light can discolor and harden them prematurely. Some inks can stain them, but this won t affect their use. Because they are polymer based, one downside is that they do not last as long as rubber stamps will, but with proper care and storage, you will get years of scrapbooking with quality images from your clear stamps.

Author Resource: Christine Perry is an avid scrapbooker and has over 10 years of scrapbooking experience. Her favorite photography and scrapbooking subjects are her reluctant teenagers. She invites you to her website, http://www.intoscrapbooking.com for more scrapbooking ideas and tips.



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