I was never interested in the rubber stamping world. I was very happy with all the variety my acrylic world offered, however, I was coerced into trying to use stamps with ink, but did so with a really bad attitude. The ink wasn't stable, it ran, it bled, it messed up my project... Then I discovered there are many kinds of ink which respond differently. Ugh, I was not ready to tackle another medium. Do you have those moments when a light bulb goes off? Well, I'm sure if I can not claim ownership, but it dawned on me that because I am so comfortable with paint, I know all the characteristics, I understand the dry time, why not try using paint with the stamps?! I was told by stamping experts that paint will gum up the stamps and the images will not be crisp and clean. Well...I figured that did not apply to me! After much experimenting, I found an almost fail-safe way to stamp with paint. I will admit that using paint may require more maintenance, but I LOVED the results! I could stamp an intricate swirl (one that would take hours to perfect) in just seconds. I almost felt like I was cheating. The stamps are gorgeous and the possibilities are endless. I was so excited, that I could hardly sleep. I have been using stamps now for over two years and am still amazed at what a difference they can make. A plain background can become a total show stopper, add designs to anything, Santa's robe, a vase, breath-taking snowflakes, and words...ah yes...words are the best. If I asked how many people like to paint words, I know the raised hands would be few (me included)! [caption id="attachment_660" align="alignleft" width="194"] Specialty Sponges[/caption] Let me share my tips for perfect stamping. First are the tools, I use the Specialty Sponge set of two to apply the paint. These sponges are dense, sturdy, cover large areas quickly and keep your fingers...well...a little less messy. [caption id="attachment_661" align="alignleft" width="169"] Acrylic Handle[/caption] A clear acrylic handle is used as a base for the stamps. The stamps cling to the acrylic, can easily be re-positioned, I like the clear because I can see exactly where I am stamping. The biggest key is to use common sense. 1. Surface: Make sure the surface is smooth. If using an acrylic handle, make sure the surface is flat. 2. Handle: Attach selected stamp to the acrylic handle and lay flat, stamp side facing up. For curved contours, the handle can be omitted. 3. Apply Paint: Dampen appropriate size specialty sponge and squeeze in a paper towel to remove excess moisture. To load the sponge, squirt a small puddle of paint onto the palette. Lightly tap the sponge into the paint and keep tapping until the paint is dispersed evenly onto the bottom of the sponge. The texture of the sponge must be visible or there is too much paint on the sponge. 4. Stamp Image: Turn stamp over, position and gently press down. Too much pressure may smash the paint off the stamp. Lift stamp directly up, any wiggle will smear the image. Keys to remember, too much paint will result in a blurry image and not enough paint will make the image incomplete. Reload every time. 5. Cleanup: The stamps need to be cleaned immediately. I usually drop them in my water bucket to hang out until I am finished and ready to clean up. I lay the stamps in the bottom of my sink and use a soft scrubby brush to make them sparkling clean. I place them on a paper towel to dry. Clean both sides of the stamp and the acrylic handle. It makes sense if either has paint build up, they will have difficulty sticking to the handle. [caption id="attachment_662" align="alignleft" width="208"] Sapphire Cherish Family Tray[/caption] [caption id="attachment_663" align="alignleft" width="205"] Family, Food and Friends[/caption] [caption id="attachment_664" align="alignleft" width="200"] Carte Postale[/caption] [caption id="attachment_665" align="alignleft" width="157"] Sparkle Tree Santa[/caption] [caption id="attachment_666" align="alignleft" width="245"] Dare to Dabble Fruit[/caption] It won't take long to understand and grasp the art of stamping with paint. It can be fun and so very rewarding. Keep an open mind because once you master it, you will get so excited you will become giddy!! Oh, I do love my stamps, they really make me look good and I say that with a smile and a wink.