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Stamp carving

One of the lessons in Journal Petite is lesson 15 Stamped Surfaces. Some of that is stamping with random things and some of it is about making stamps. Lord knows I have made a lot of stamps, but while having a bit of a tidy up in from of the windows to make the circle curtain less blocked by piles of things, I unearthed my carving tools. And I had a pack or two of little erasers to play with as well!

Now, these were not great erasers. The resulting stamps were also not great.

Compared to one I carved a long time ago fro a Speedball block – a world of difference!

I do quite like the little scallop and the way it stacks. I just need a better eraser I think. And maybe a bigger one?

Other parts of the lesson are about making stamps out of things like fun foam (tick) and pencil erasers (tick) and cardboard. Hummmm. Never really done that. So I think I will have a bit of a play with that over the weekend and see if I make anything I like.

I have also worked a bit more on my page of RAGE.

So yeah, just a few lines, but every time I go back to it and add another thing, I am consumed with rage all over again. Ironic it is “Independence Day” when it feels nothing like that.


Should be a new Art Journal Journey prompt so maybe I can find something positive to work on. Or not…


More Nano tape play and a surprising result!

First, I gotta apologize for the lack of interesting photos with this whole Nano tape thing. It’s just hard to show and the photos aren’t exciting. But stick with me (see what I did there? LOL!) and I think it is worth it.

First, let’s wrap up the storage issues – Nano tape cling with a death grip to plastic packaging. But it holds and yet releases quite nicely when stored in or on plastic bags like sandwich bags. Leaving the Nano tape covered blocks on a baggie overnight and it still releases easily. So yeah, that’s my storage of choice.

I stored the two block I covered back to back in the baggie and it worked great. Still a little tricky to extract them from inside the bag cause it’s a tiny Snack-sized one, but it does release.

So two other ideas I wanted to play with. I thought MAYBE that you could stamp with the Nano tape, and you can, kinda, but it isn’t a super crisp image. I didn’t want to waste it so I was only playing with scraps from my block-coverage.

I also wondered if you could die-cut it. My idea was IF you could stamp and IF you could die cut, could you then die cut a STAMP to match said die? Yeah, nope. Didn’t snap a photo, but while yes you could die-cut a shape, if was stuck to paper (cause I knew the cover-film would not die cut with a traditional thin die) lots of the Nano tape squished out of the sides. It wasn’t pretty! I was curious, cause they sell about 2 inch wide Nano tape and that size seemed like it could offer up some interesting possibilities.

As I already had the tiny squares cut, I had a moment – was it possible that only a tiny square of Nano tape (rather than a fully covered mounting block) could work? I thought perhaps with a stamp mat it might, so I gave it a go.

It worked, kinda, but I smeared it by rocking the stamp. Not worth showing, but this very much is! I scattered the small squares on the block and used a stamp that I felt would be a bit of a challenge to stamp clearly:

Brace yourself. This really is a surprise!

Crikey. And here I wasted all that tape by covering the block! What I would say is this: you could easily try (on scrap paper, obviously) stamping with a single strip of Nano tape on a block and see if it works. If not, add more small squares in key areas (like for this stamp those pesky little pointy … feet? arms? whatever) and then peel off the tape and store it for re-use later.

I have to say I like the full-block coverage, as for maybe 85% of my stamps, the very small and medium size blocks I’ve covered will do the job. For any of the really LARGE stamps, I would use scraps or small pieces and def. use a stamping mat or something with a bit of give, like my cork tile pieces.

So one more experiment – I thought maybe I could mount the grey cling material to the Nano tape, cause I have a TON of the Tim Holtz stamps that nothing will bring back their stick. I wasn’t keen to have to coat the back of every one with Tack-It! so I had a go. Not a good idea. I know this is going to be nearly impossible to see, especially if you are on a phone, but yes, the grey stuff clings to the Nano tape. But when you are finally able to peel that sucker off, for me the Nano tape buckled and bulged.

To be fair, it was this exact buckle and bulge that made me carry on and test just the tiny squares – and I do believe a few squares might hold the grey clink stamps well enough to be able to stamp with them, but I have to put this aside for the moment and maybe have one last play later. If it works I’ll add it to my WOYWW post tomorrow.

I think there are potentially 100s of interesting uses for Nano Tape (not sponsored!) but this one seems like a universally useful for stampers one. What about using a tiny square or two to mount those lost-their-stick stamps in your storage system? Or sticking a ruler or a special pen to your desk? Temporarily mount some art to your wall? Hold your cranked knitting machine to the table so it doesn’t scoot about? I have to say I just love this stuff and I will keep a roll handy and reach for it often!

Woyww tomorrow!


Using Nano tape with unmounted stamps – or cling that have lost their stick

Nano tape is pretty cool stuff. I bought a pack of two rolls, one for the Hubster, cause I thought he might find some uses for it when mounting technology items in the car, and one for me cause I had an idea.

If you have read here for long you know I hate mounting unmounted stamps. But especially when requesting unavailable in the UK items to be shipped from the USA, unmounted stamps are a helluva lot cheaper to send. So I have a lot.

In the past I have used a hack that I loved (using the otherwise useless Creative Palette and Tack-It! Over and Over to create a mount.

And that does work well, but how many people actually have an old Creative Palette they can cut up and use? Probably not many.

Well, I had a play and Nano tape works just as well. I covered the mounting block with the tape then the stamps, both unmounted red rubber and clear cling that have lost their stick work perfectly well. Impossible in still images to demonstrate a non-cling cling stamp, but here goes…

My first instinct is with Nano tape you need to cover, pretty edge-to-edge, the mounting block. Obviously to get a good stamped impression you need uniform pressure, and I feared you won’t get that if you just added a strip of Nano tape in the middle of the block.

I figured using a small block to begin with, to work out the kinks, made sense. And it performed flawlessly!

The issues you can see with the paper (that black mark and the divots in the centre of the flower) are because it was a random scrap on my desk, not because of any stamping issues.

Now, there are a few things to note. I am testing to see if storing the Nano-tape coated block will work on a few things (a scrap of plastic packaging, a Ziplock/sandwich bag, one of the bags from the LFT test kits, even stuck to another block) and will report back. But as the tape is WASHABLE and REUSABLE it might matter less.

I feel like there is more experiment needed. I’m going to have a bash with a few things and see…Watch this space!

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Not sure what to make of this – Neuroart and Circle stamps?

I gathered up a bunch of my circle stamps to have a play with an idea that was buzzing about in my brain. I stamped some of them on a bit of cardstock

And then added the neurolines around and thru them

and added the rounded intersections as well as more stamped circles where they fit in

It’s an interesting process but feels slightly … out of control maybe? Not sure how I feel about the final piece

I had a play with another version, where I stamped and masked bits so the circles overlapped initially and I think I like that a bit better

I think the issue is you have to plan. With both if you just carry on willy nilly it all looks a bit of a mess. I think there is some merit in it, but I’ve yet to work out the best method. I’ll think on it a bit more. WOYWW tomorrow and I’m be at the hospital for my Rheumatology appointment today. Hopefully some good news for tomorrow…..

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A cautionary tale – and the beginnings of an Art Journal page

I think I mentioned I was feeling the pull of my art journal recently and over the weekend I decided to make a page. When I am in this place, a long time away and feeling out of practice, I do a warm up, using stuff hanging about on my desks. This time it was no different. Although, this is where the “cautionary tale” part comes in.

A wile ago I had bought some stuff from WISH. I got a set of stamps that I thought were cute. Some layered stamps with leaves on them and some useful card sentiments.

The while thing arrived quite crumpled but the stamps stamp just fine. So imagine my surprise to see what looked like a set of dies that would match! Except…they don’t.

This is, I’m sure, one of those cases of a knock-off. Sadly I am not super clued-in on the various brands, and I didn’t realize when I bought the stamps they were actually Alte New (Alte & New? I don’t even know that!) and should have been bought as a pair. So they aren’t horrible, I bet a lot of the miss-alignment is me having little experience with layered stamps or stamp+die sets. I wonder if the real Alte New version has registration marks or something to help you line stuff up correctly. Cause if they don’t I sure wouldn’t bother buying the stamps that fit!

So there you go. The page didn’t make a lot of progress as I fought to try to get the stamped image and the die to play nicely together. The germ of an idea was using my faux postage (and more on that another day) but I only got here:

before I had to move on to other household tasks, set up for the week to come. But before I go, one final stamp sadness. I have a stamp, one from my old job, where I was the classified documents librarian at a government contractor, that I used often in my art over the years. Sadly, it gave up the ghost, the rubber totally disintegrated and rubbed fell apart:

I think you can see how deteriorated the rubber is from the attempted stamping. Shame. It would have fit perfectly on the page I had in mind.


This and that – Saturday Play

Well I blew the idea that when my CK levels are high, my back is impervious to clenching up on me. I have been taking painkillers and lounging about since about Tuesday. Can’t tell from my posts because I had a few scheduled. Today I am able to do a bit, but not much as you will see from this post. Hopefully by tomorrow I will feel up to more.

I have been playing with some Lynne Perrella stamps and trying to work out what I want to do with them. The first play was comparing colouring with watercolours and with Copics.

Not a lot in it really, and both bleed outside the lines. Paints left, Copics right.

Then I tried stamping them on some Collage Collective paper. I had an idea but in the end I think I picked the wrong paper, because I think the cut-out words aren’t quite right.

I mean, they’re OK just not striking, or inspiring. I might finish them off, not sure yet. I want to play with stamping them on white card and colouring them then cutting them out. I’ll see how that works. I also wanted to show my version of the pressing device a lot of people use on stamping platforms to get good even pressure all over it. Mine is not as swish as some, no big doorknob or drawer pull on the top, just a simple block wth a furniture pad on it. But it cost me nothing, since I had both of those things hanging about.

Took me a total of 5 minutes to find the bits and assemble. And it works perfectly. I think the bit of the Grand Calibur embossing mat that I cut and stuck on my (cheap) stamp platform helps a LOT. I suspect sticky back fun foam would do similar.

That is a single pressing, not a double one. Not bad at all.

We’ll see what all of this play turns in to. Maybe nothing, maybe something. I’ll share if it’s something …


Stamping with Vaseline as a resist for Distress Oxides

So yeah, I actually did this on the same day as the Vaseline thru a stencil as a Distress Oxides resist post, but I really wanted to add my art journal page, and I had already edited the post on Thursday to add the PDF, so I decided to leave it and add this today. Pretty simple stuff really and as is so often the case, it really depends on stamp choice! You need glossy cardstock and a stamp that has both a good portion of stamped image areas as well as a good bit of areas that let the background show thru. Here are a couple that I know will work (left) and a couple I am not sure about but curious (right):

The first thing I did was make a sort of stamp pad from a piece of stiff, dense packing material. It has a nice bit of give to it but is still also quite firm, IYKWIM. You need a fairly thin coat of the Vaseline, not so much that you are getting a lot of sqidge into the open areas of the stamp.

I hope you can see I am getting a reasonable stamped image on the glossy cardstock and plenty of open areas:

Again, I used a bit of plastic packaging to tap on the water-activated Distress Oxide inks, in layers, drying between. As you can see, it has the typical oxidized (chalky) effect

I always like to buff off the Vaseline on half the piece in hope you can see the difference side-by-side (left buffed, right not)

And finally:

Really love it. Now I tried the not-sure stamps on the tracing paper – I missed out the stamping-only od the swirl, but you can see it mostly under the Distress Oxide ink here, and you can also see the tracing paper wanting to curl, hence the addition of the painter’s tape:

I think you can see how the top stamp was pretty useless – the bottom one is a bit more interesting. I love that one, but it isn’t very distinct for sure.

I have some ideas for using these but not done anything with them quite yet. I’m still refining the technique.

Oh, and it bears saying loudly:

WASH YOUR STAMPS. You are not going to get a good stamped impression ever again with a slick coat of Vaseline clinging to the rubber/silicone. Do it. Do it NOW.

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Trash Transformed – again

Yeah, I feel like I am finding so much trash to transform that 100 days of it might be do-able, but the problem is could it be 100 consecutive days? I’m not sure. This one is a good one I think, so worth sharing.

I got my set of Dina Wakely alphabet stamps and as I was popping them out of the surround, it occurred to me that the SURrOUND would make a fab stamp in its own right. Problem was many of the thin bars between the letter blocks were either too thin t support their own weight, with the cushion, or I was too impatient and ripped them. Be more careful and you MIGHT get the whole sheet, which had been my goal, and I failed at that.

I managed these two blocks and another set of four with a pretty ropy bottom edge. They stamp pretty well, although I was testing them on a mop-up sheet from art journal play and it was pretty rough and bumpy, with a variety of substances (paint, ink, gel medium, gesso) over it. But still…

So while they work really well just as blocks of colour, they work better with stamped letters inside – words as well but I’m focusing on the letters for now. I had a good rummage thru all my letter stamps, trying out anything that struck my fancy:

and while this font isn’t a perfect fit, the area below the letters could have a small word or a tiny image fit in there. This is an old Rusty Pickle stamp set from eons ago

Hands down my favourite is the Banana Frog Jeannie Shrimpton font in the large size.

Bev responded to my pleas for this font cause I loved it so and I still do. It is such a good fit for the blocks!

The K from above is actually a different BF stamp set, which also works OK – pretty sure it is Steelfish Outline, but like many of my BF stamps, the rubber is deteriorating and they have morphed into super-sticky, easily ripped items. Oddly enough, if you remember the last ripped letter, the one I ripped this time was ALSO an E! what are the odds….

Day 57. Can’t decide of 60 or 75 will feel like my next milestone…


Art journal page – and a ripped clear stamp repair

I broke out a new-ish set of stamps to play with and had a LOT of fun with them. I had used a bit of one of the collage collective sheets of a bunch of circles on one of my single pages, but only two of them (although I punched another one out, I never used it) and had the rest of the page left. I had a go at stamping over the circles with the foliage stamp and even with the gaps of white between they still worked out pretty well! Three columns of circles, three fronds.

Here is the page – I was having fun creating so I didn’t take photos. I really must remember to do that.

I also used a stamp by Effy Wild (the Wild and Free one) and an old set of Autumn Leaves stamps. Quite annoyed that the E clear stamp ripped as I was trying to peel it off the backing. Honestly, so many of my cling mount stamps have had issues – the sticky goes and cannot be revived, the silicone deteriorated and the stamp crumbles and rips…just very annoying. Yes, I know these are cheaper than proper red rubber stamps (both cling mounts and wood-mounts) but you still expect them to last for more than a few years! I managed to “repair” it by sticking a bit of the red-line tape on the back, the sticky side holding the rip together, the backing left on. You can see it here, I hope.

The important thing is it still clings

and because of the nature of the letters, with the grungy edges, it still stamps well, especially over a chaotic background like the collage collective, but well enough to use on plain card:

Good thing, too, as it’s one of the most used letters in the alphabet. Worth remembering as a repair tip. Not helpful for super intricate or detailed stamps, but works well for ones like this.

And lastly, my next 100 days page:

Seems like my handwriting is degrading again, but overall I think I am happier sticking to black and brown ink. Note I used those magnetic stamps from the other day as well. Woo hoo!

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A delivery! Sidetracked…

I’ll begin with my next 100 days page:

Like it. Maybe not LOVE it, but like it.

I ordered a few Dina things I had trouble finding (a couple of old stamp sets that I really wanted) and I had made a start on the other side of my single journal page, so when the delivery came I got totally sidetracked from my stamp re-org to finish that up.

I had started with some fairly standard stuff – white gesso and some tissue collage

and topped that with some texture paste and then various bits of colour – old Distress Stain and some of the LIDL acrylic spray in a teal. A little spatter, a little drippage and

I grabbed a sheet from the Collage Collective and punched a few circles

And then stamped, painted and cut out some different circles and cut a couple of that pebble die I am loving so much

It all came together like this!

Colour-wise it could not be more different to the companion page

but what ties them together is the use of circles and the text – one side says We all have a story to tell and the next page says Spilling my story. So while they are very much NOT a matched pair, they go better together than I thought they might.

Tomorrow is hubby’s birthday and all I will do is share my 100 days page. Likewise on Sunday, when I will take a day off for a while. My darling daughter starts in-person school on Monday and I am a little anxious about it. And because we will then have to keep our distance in the house (I’m still shielding till the 31st, or until a week after my 2nd dose of the vaccine) it is going to be a day full of Mom+Daughter time. What time I do have will be (hopefully) spent on my stamp re-org. I am determined to get that done before WOYWW.