Clear Stamps Info

What makes My Acrylix Clear Stamps from Close to My Heart so special?

Decorative stamping started more than two decades ago. Overtime stamps changed quite a bit until in 2004 Close to My Heart introduced the My Acrylix Clear Stamps to the market. High quality stamps which offer creative control and precision to any craft project you might think off. These new stamps are easy to store and most importantly clear. For the first time a stamp allows you to check on the ink application and the stamping placement. Not only are these stamps very durable, but also super lightweight and therefore easy to carry to any gathering, crop or crafting event. With proper use, care and storage, these stamps will ensure many years of stamping. 

How to remove stamps from the carrier sheet!

Your My Acrylix Clear Stamps come in an envelope that includes a carrier sheet with your clear stamps on it, a square foam cushion sheet and an information sheet on how to use and care for your stamps. Open the envelope and take everything out. The carrier sheet includes on one side the black print image of the clear stamp and on the other side the Acrylix stamp itself. The black image ensures you to find the right place to put your stamp back after using it and to make sure you don't forget one stamp on a block. When removing a stamp from the carrier sheet for the first time, make sure you gently start peel the stamp from the outer edges towards the middle. Do not pull quickly on it since this can cause tearing of the stamp. The new stamps are sometimes a little harder to get off for the first time, so be patient with them. In case two stamps are connected together, just take your Micro-Tip scissors and carefully snip them apart.

How to attach the stamps to an Acrylix block!

Once you peeled your stamp of the carrier sheet you will notice that one side of the stamp is sticky and smooth. This is the side you should attach to a clear Acrylix block. The stamp will stick right to the block. Make sure to get the right sized block. The block should be as big as the stamp itself. A bigger block makes it harder to work with and a smaller block will not stamp the whole image. Center the smooth, sticky side of the image you have picked on your Acrylix block and you are ready to go.

How to season your stamps and prepare them for stamping!

Before you can begin stamping on your project with a new stamp, it is important to “season” your stamps. New stamps, even so they are clean, still can contain some residue of the molds or oils. Seasoning will ensure that these residues are cleaned off before you use your stamp on your project. You only have to do this to brand new stamps. Take the block with the attached clear stamp and rub it on a light colored ink pad and stamp on scratch paper multiple times without re-inking the stamp. The image should get lighter and lighter. Once it is almost gone, ink the stamp up again and repeat those steps until you get a full, crisp image. Now your stamp is ready to be used and you won’t need to do the procedure with this stamp again. You can also use your eraser tool to clear the new stamp of any residue left behind during the molding process. 

How to ink up your new stamps!

To achieve great ink coverage of your stamp each time, first tap the stamp on the ink pad once or twice, twist the stamp a few times and finish with a few more taps. Just remember, “Tap-tap, twist-twist, tap-tap”. Look through your block. You will see the ink coverage. If you are missing some ink, tab it one more time on the ink pad. Don’t apply to much pressure onto the ink pad, since new pads often contain a lot of ink. Try carefully at the beginning and adjust pressure accordingly.

How to stamp with My Acrylix Clear Stamps!

For best results and a crisper image, place the square foam sheet that came with your stamp set under the paper you like to stamp on. The foam sheet acts like a cushion and is especially helpful with larger stamps and those with a more solid image. You can hold smaller block with one hand, for bigger blocks use both hands. Hold the block level over your paper and go straight down onto your paper. Gently and firmly press the stamp down and carefully lift the block straight up. Do not rock your stamp/ block otherwise you might smudge your image. If you haven’t work with stamps before, practice on some scrap paper until you feel comfortable. Due to the fact that the block and stamps are clear, you can place your image directly over an object or complementary image. If your image is not solid or crisp, check you ink coverage again, and make sure the foam pad is underneath the paper.

How to clean your new clear stamps and blocks!

Once you are finished with your project you should clean your stamps and blocks right away. Spray some My Acrylix Spritz Cleaner (1778) onto your stamp with the stamp still on the block. Rub your stamps and blocks along the brushes of the My Acrylix Stamp Scrubber (Z1782) to remove all ink residues and to dry the stamp at the same time. Carefully take the clear stamp of the block and place it back on the carrier sheet. Proper cleaning and storing will maintain their stickiness. You can use the Spritz Cleaner for all inks, except pigment-based (like white daisy or colonial white or the small ink pads from Close to My Heart) inks and permanent inks (like StazOn, Versa Mark…). If you have used pigment-based inks (these are usually thicker inks and take longer to dry) rinse the stamp including the block under warm water, before cleaning it on the Scrubber with the Spritz Cleaner. For the permanent ink use the special cleaner that comes with these inks. Since they are not water based and permanent, they need a special cleaner. Over time oils or dust can cause your stamps to lose their tackiness. This is normal and can be fixed quickly. Try to put your stamps in a strainer (so you won’t lose any in the drain) and rinse them with warm water. Be sure to never use soap or detergent, as this may harm your stamps over time. Let stamps air dry in the strainer and they should be stick again. Once they are dry, return them onto the carrier sheet and store them away.

How to store your stamps sets!

Always keep your stamps on the carrier sheet they come with. This will insure that they stay sticky and protected. Close to My Heart sends all stamp sets in these little pouches, which makes it easy to store them. You can also order a stamp organizer (My Acrylix Organizer, Z1038) which will make it even easy for you to store your stamps properly. Never store any of your stamps on a heating element, register or in a room that will get below freezing. This will destroy your stamps over time.

Why do my stamps discolor after I cleaned them?
This can happen and should not be a concern. Each ink uses different pigments and some have the tendency to stick to the clear stamps more than others. Even so you might have cleaned them right away, they might end up being black or pink/ red tinted. Don’t worry, these stamps will still work fine and the discoloration is only an aesthetic issue. Just make sure you clean them off all ink residues and they are fine to be used over and over again.

What is the difference between the new clear stamps and my old rubber stamps?

The main difference is that clear stamps are clear and therefore see through, while rubber stamps aren't. Rubber stamps usually take up more storage space than clear stamps and they come with the fitting block. I like both kinds, but the clear stamps have some advantages for me. I can place them exactly where I want them to go and I can use stamps that have a complementary stamp; For example the base of a pumpkin is one stamp and another detailed one goes on top. With the clear stamps not a problem, but the rubber stamps often misses the target or you need special tools to get the same result.

What are clear mounted stamps?

A competitor advertises with their new clear mounted stamps. They are rubber stamps, just mounted on a clear block. This makes storage a bit easier, but you still have the problem that you can’t see through the stamp and therefore can’t precisely place them on the project, otherwise they are rubber stamps without the wooden block.

Is it true that clear stamps don’t stamp as crisp as rubber stamps?

No, this is a myth. Close to My Heart clear stamps give you the same crisp and clear image as any rubber stamp would do. Certain store bought stamps are of poorer quality and therefore not as crisp, yes, but Close to My Heart stamps are different. Always use the foam cushion under your paper when you stamp and you will see no difference between rubber stamp and clear stamps from Close to My Heart.

Parts of my stamped image are missing, what do I do wrong?

First, make sure you seasoned the new stamp before you used it.
Second, make sure you apply ink evenly on your stamp and that the ink is still wet when you stamp on your paper. If your ink tends to dry quickly, breathe on the stamp before placing it on the paper.
Third, make sure 
you have a sturdy and even surface as your workplace and that your foam pad is located directly under the area you like to stamp on.
Fourth, make sure you firmly press the block straight and level on the paper. If you work with a bigger block, press lightly in the middle of the block to transfer the whole image onto the paper.

Why does my paper stick to the stamp when I lift it up?

This can happen, but most likely is is the kind of ink you use or the amount of pressure your have applied while stamping. Inks come in many varieties and serve many purposes, for example:
-StazOn ink has the tendency to be a little stick and therefore your paper can cling to the stamp.
-VersaMark inks or other "glue" type inks for embossing can have the same effect.
In these cases make sure to hold your paper down with one hand while lifting the stamp with the other. Inks that are more saturated/ thicker are also know to stick. Test on a piece of scrap paper before stamping your image, if your ink is a little "sticky". This way you know to hold on to your paper before lifting the stamp up.
The same applies to the problem when you are using too much pressure by pressing the stamp onto the paper. Again test on a scrap piece how much pressure is really needed to get a clear and crisp image from your stamp.