Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Making the Most of Your Stamping Plates

I'm going to begin this entry with an apology for the images that accompany it. I had visions of much better pictures being taken, or perhaps of video being taken. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. No, with the crud that's hit my house, I did well to manage to sleep, eat, and visit the restroom when I need to. Still, I managed to attempt to take some photos of what I do differently. In the process, I learned something.

You may be wondering what I learned. It's very simple- it is incredibly difficult to take pictures of your own hands when they're doing something that takes two hands to do. I know, it seems logical, but for some reason I was convinced I'd be able to take photos of my own hands placing the polish and applying it to my own fingertips. I know, I know... there's laughter for those of you who've tried anything like this.

But, pictures were taken, a diagram was made, and tonight, I share my process with you. Please be patient, and forgive my if my diagrams are slightly less awesome than I'd hoped for. So, let's get started, shall we?

Stamping- it's all the rage. Thankfully, my version doesn't use anything crazy. I do have a scraper that came with my set, but I don't like it. It scratches the plates like crazy and I just prefer using a plastic card. This one happens to be a benefits card from a grocery store.

If you  happen to use a card you plan to keep (like your driver's license), be sure to keep the paint away from the magnetic stripe. Nail polish and nail polish remover will eat the magnetic stripe right off your card!

So, what now? Gather your items together.  I find it helps to have a cotton round saturated with nail polish remover next to my plate, so that I can wipe the stamper on it and wipe the plate between stamps. Also, it helps to have a folded paper towel or something similar nearby to wipe off the card onto. Stamping is messy stuff!

Now, this is where things get a bit different. Instead of putting your polish onto the stamping plate, I dabbed a bit of polish onto my scraper card. Try and keep the polish a bit wider than the design you're going to use.  You don't need a huge amount of polish here, just a dollop.
See? This is my actual scraper card with the polish I was using on it. It's not a huge amount of polish, it's just a little blob that's a tiny bit wider than the image I want to use.

Now, putting it onto the image plate is important too. It we scrape this across at 90° angle, the polish isn't really going to get into the grooves of the design very well. I use somewhere around a 45° angle, so that the scraper can push the polish into the grooves as well as scraping away the extra. It takes practice, but you'll get the hang of it.

There- you can see the butterfly image has been flooded with polish, but the rest has been scraped away. All that remains is to pick it up with the stamper and apply it to your nail! As easy as that sounds, I must admit I need more practice. I stamp pretty well, but I'm not so good at lining up where the stamp should go. But hey, that should improve with practice, right?

You can look at the chart on the left to see the difference it's made in admittedly-newbie stamping. But the color richness in the Sally Hansen Teflon Tuff color is just astonishing to me. applying the color to the image plate left me with a very pale, weak stamp. Applying the color to the scraper gave me a rich, true-color stamp that was much prettier to look at.

You may try this and find it doesn't work for you. You may try it and find it's amazing. Whatever you do, if you do try it, please come comment and let me know how it worked for you? I would feel so wonderful if I found out I made someone's stamp application more satisfying!

Have a great day/night/afternoon/morning/whatever you're having when you read this!


  1. What a great idea! I trying this and will let you know my outcome. Thanks for sharing :)

  2. Thank you! I figure it's all the time I've spent doing things like homemade screen printing and that sort of thing. Whatever it was that prompted it, it certainly has made stamping more satisfying for me!

  3. this is definitely worth a try! thank you for the great tip, I learned something today! =D

  4. i am so gonna try this out! love your blog!


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