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Tag Archives | Neenah

10 Essential Tools for Rubber Stamping

Reported by Cassandra Darwin

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I have been stamping for more than 15 years and while I have seen techniques and trends come and go, there are a few basic tools that every stamper needs to have.  I’ll start the list with six “must haves” and work down to the “nice-to-have” tools.

Stamps: There are three basic kinds of stamps available today: wood mounted rubber stamps, cling rubber stamps, and clear stamps. It doesn’t matter what kind you have, but make sure that you have a good variety that includes sentiments and images that you will want to use more than once.

Ink: There are more types of ink than I have time to discuss, but I’ll stick with two basics – dye and pigment ink. I like to have both types on hand because they each serve their own purpose. Dye inks are great because they dry quickly and are pretty inexpensive – I prefer Tsukineko Memento dye inks. Pigment inks take longer to dry, but will stand the test of time if you are working on archival projects. I find that the pigment inks are usually a bit more crisp when working with detailed stamps – Versafine by Tsukineko is a great option.

Cardstock: I consider this a “tool” because it really does make a difference when you are selecting a type of cardstock to work with. Smooth vs. textured will make a big difference. And if you plan to use markers or watercolors with your stamps you need something with enough weight so it doesn’t start curling up (specialized watercolor paper works the best). I buy Neenah brand cardstock by the ream, and usually stick with the “Environment” line because they have the most recycled content in their stock. I also recommend having a good selection of patterned papers on hand. Layering the patterns with your stamped images really gives add the perfect amount of dimension to many projects.

Paper Trimmer: I have had the same two Fiskars trimmers for about 10 years and they are great. I actually prefer the rotary trimmer (orange) because the cuts don’t leave indents on the back side of the paper like the purple blade trimmer does. I started with a small 8″ trimmer and would not recommend getting one of those since so many of the great patterned papers that you will want to use are usually 12″.

Detail Scissors: I started with one pair of detail scissors and kept trying to find the perfect pair. I would say overall I use the nonstick Cutterbee Scissors the most (black and yellow). All the others are great but serve somewhat specialized purposes.

Adhesives: This is another category where I have become a collector. I think you could get away with two types though – a tape runner (or double-sided tape) and glue dots on the roll. The tape runner is my go-to for almost everything. I even use them to get in small places when I have detailed die cuts. The glue dots are extra sticky (great for buttons) and also give a hint of dimension if you don’t want to keep the dimensional foam dots on hand.

Markers: I have two types of markers in mind that should be on the “nice-to-have” list. Copic markers are awesome for shading and coloring stamped images. They are pricey and you have to have a few of each shade to get the best effect though. I am new to the Stampin’ Up! markers, but I am hooked on these as well. You can use them to color images which is great, but I like them to use as ink on stamps. You just use the marker to ink up the rubber stamp (as many colors as you like), huff on it a bit to moisten the ink, then stamp on your card stock.

Paper Punches or Die Cuts: Punches and die cuts add a lot of great shapes and cutouts to your projects, but they can quickly start to get expensive and take up space. So start with the basics – like a heart punch for Valentine’s cards or a label shape die that you can use over and over again.

Scor- Pal: I resisted getting one of these for a long time. I got along fine with just a bone folder, but once I had the Scor-Pal it changed everything. The score lines are so crisp and even, adding a professional finish. Right now I have my eye on the Martha Stewart score board, because it has more scoring lines at even intervals.

Heat Gun & Embossing Powders: I have had my trusty heat gun the entire time I’ve been stamping and it does a great job, albeit a noisy one. This tool is the only way you’re going to get good results with embossing powder on detailed images. And while I do not emboss most of my projects, there are just sometimes when you need that extra special touch. I also use the heat tool for speeding up drying time on distress inks, and to heat-set stamped images when I want to color them in with markers.

And a bonus essential for rubber stampers!

Embellishments: I guess these are more of a supply than a tool, but it’s the most fun thing on the list. You can use anything you have on hand to add to your rubber stamp projects. I like ribbons, buttons, twine, fabric scraps, die cut felt flowers, glitter, sparkle sprays, washi tapes…the sky is the limit here.

Let me know what you think. Do you already have the essentials?  Did I miss something on this list?

White Card Stock Comparison

Reported by Taylor Usry

There are so many options out there for white card stock! With the popularity of both clean and simple (CAS) cards, as well as detailed images that can be colored with markers or any other coloring medium, choosing the right white for your project can get tricky. Today I’m going to show you how different techniques work on several popular white card stocks – Neenah Solar White, Papertrey Ink Stamper’s Select, Stampin Up!’Stampin’ Ups Whisper White, Bazzill’s Prismatics Textured White, Mohawk‘s Color Copy 98 Bright White, and Georgia Pacific‘s White card stock.

Here is a quick overview of each card stock:

  • Neenah Solar White: 80# weight, acid-free, ultra-smooth finish; widely available in packs of 25, or by the ream, online
  • Papertrey Ink’s Stamper’s Select: 110# weight; only available in packs of 40 sheets through their website
  • Stampin’ Up’s Whisper White: 80# weight; only available in packs of 40 sheets through a demonstrator
  • Bazzill’s Prismatics Textured White: 70# weight, textured on one side and smooth on the other; available online
  • Mohawk’s Color Copy 98 Bright White: 100# weight, acid-free; available by the ream or large pack online
  • Georgia Pacific’s White: 110# weight; available in large packs online and in retail stores such as WalMart, Staples, etc

The Neenah, Mohawk, and Stampin’ Up card stocks have the smoothest, glossy-type finish. Papertrey ink is also incredibly smooth, but it isn’t quite as glossy. Bazzill’s Prismatics has one textured side (in a mottled, orange peel finish) and one flat side (but not smooth and glossy to the touch). Georgia Pacific’s card stock is just flat. In terms of weight, although Stampin’ Up’s card stock is 80#, it feels much flimsier than Neenah’s. And while the Georgia Pacific is purported to be 110#, it feels flimsy as well. I don’t particularly advocate using either the Stampin’ Up or the Georgia Pacific as a card base. All of the others are quite sturdy and thick.  

All of the card stocks work well when used with a paper punch (here, a Martha Stewart one). I did notice that the Georgia Pacific card stock did not punch as cleanly as the others did. Some edges needed filing or smoothing several times, both when using an edge punch and a standard shaped punch.

Next I cut each image out using a different Spellbinder’s Nestabilites die, and left the card stock plain inside each one to do some sponging using Tim Holtz ink.. The smooth finish on the Neenah, Mohawk, and Papertrey Ink card stock provided the best surface for the blended sponging effect. Stampin’ Up’s card stock also has a smooth surface, but I don’t think the ink blended as well. I like the way the sponging turned out on the textured card stock by Bazzill as well, but again it is not a smooth finish. It still blends well, though. The Georgia Pacific does an okay job – but just okay. I found that the ink didn’t want to blend as easily as with the others, so the changes in colors were more noticeable. As you can see, the Neenah card stock took the ink really well; it is the darkest of all. I sponged each piece exactly the same, to demonstrate the variations of the inks once they’d been applied.

On these I partially colored a variety of Stampendous images with Copics. All images were stamped in Memento Tuxedo Black ink and had fifteen minutes of drying time, but were not heat-set. Stampin’ Up’s Whisper White is not at all suitable for coloring with Copics – it doesn’t blend. Georgia Pacific’s card stock is mediocre – it blends alright, but occasionally you can see streaks, and the lines between colors can be harsh. Papertrey Ink, Mohawk (which is not pictured above, but you will see it in a minute – stick with me!) and Neenah’s card stocks have an excellent surface for Copic coloring, and all blend beautifully. The Bazzill Prismatics also colors gorgeously, but I noticed a bit more bleeding (that could be due to not heat-setting my ink, but I didn’t do that on purpose).  In my opinion, the Papertrey Ink is such a heavy weight that is sucks up lots of Copic ink, which then necessitates quicker refills.

Lastly, I stamped some solid images on each card stock (using acrylic stamps from Sweet ‘n Sassy Stamps and Tim Holtz ink), to see what kind of coverage I got. The only one I was underwhelmed with was the Georgia Pacific card stock. Bazzill’s Prismatics stamp better on the smooth side than the textured side; you can see the mottled look the textured side gives. The others all have a smooth finish and take ink very well. Drying time varies a bit with each card stock, but none took longer than five minutes. Again, the Neenah card stock had a darker color than all the other smooth card stocks.

On this sample, I colored that Stampendous image using Copics on the Mohawk card stock. The base and embossed layer are Papertrey Ink. All of the card stocks emboss equally as well. For me, the Papertrey Ink provides the strongest base. It is not flimsy at all, and you can add as many layers or heavy embellishments as you want.

I also ran a few sheets through my printer, to see how well they worked with digital images and papers. I have an HP inkjet printer. The Papertrey Ink card stock was too thick to consistently go through my printer – they had quite an argument. The Neenah, Mohawk, Georgia Pacific, Bazzill Prismatics, and Stampin’ Up all fed through just fine, and worked great for digi images. The smooth-finish card stocks (not the Georgia Pacific or Bazzill Prismatics) worked better for printing digital paper on (*tip: run it through twice, to create your own double-sided patterned paper!).

What card stock is your favorite for coloring on? Do you use it for rubber stamping, printing and coloring digital images, or scrapbooking? I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions!