Making Do

This is by no means a "comprehensive" look at stamping or even "Making Do." For that there is no better place than A Monthly Rubber Stamp Club's listing.... TIPS and TECHNIQUES . It is assessable, easy to follow--possibly the most complete, up-to-date collection of samples, directions, hints and helps around. A virtual how-to "Stampers' Encyclopedia."

For a different approach, the transcripts of classes at Dueling Modems are fun to read, lead you to lots of graphics to help you "see" step-by-step and to just enjoy (vicariously) the camaraderie of the group. Join them for real, by checking their class schedule and instructions for reaching their chat rooms.

gg designs is not in the know-it-all business....but we are very fond of "Making Do With What You've Got" and finding "Work Arounds" when, in mid-project you find yourself out of something critical. We also like recovering "mistakes" though we are not sure there really are any. And--true confessions time--we LIKE doing projects "On the Cheap."

Any ideas you have for any of these categories will be well received, by stampers, customers and gg designs. We would appreciate your sharing you cherished tricks of the trade.

Do It Yourself Shadow Stamps and Two Step Sets

Something called "Shadow Stamps" and "Two Step" (stamping, not dancing)Sets are both very popular these days. We understand there are special "Shadow Stamp" inks (paler/thinner) but we believe dry stamps spritzed with water will yield a workable stamp pad, in a pinch. As will repeated stamping until a lighter image is produced.Color selection is important, too. Pick a lighter color than you plan to use for the detail image.

By now, everybody must have discovered gasket material from the hardware store. Inexpensive and readily available, it is particularly good to use because it is so familiar. You've no doubt bought similar sheets made to "reverse" your stamp image. Rubber gasket is virtually the same stuff! Geometric shapes are easy to cut...with scissors or knife, for shadow stamps. The shadow stamp portion of a "two step" stamp is almost as easy.

AND...Two Step stamps are quite similar to older newspaper color illustrations....long before the sophisticated printing processes that make full color printing routine. They are "color spots" which lay down a color to catch your eye and then print over it...without too much concern (success!) with tight, close, registration.

There are a couple of gg designs stamps that are just begging for stamp one of the two step process so we will play with those to demonstrate as we explore a couple of ways to make (y)our own.


Rubber gasket material is available in most hardware stores. Some stamp carvers prefer it to softer materials for its crisp lines and long time durability.

Stamp image onto gasket. Turn over and mount, using your favorite materials. Because I have it readily available, I use scrap pieces of carving block. I also use suction cups on the back, to make a temporary handle.

Note: A customer complained about the "straight" stem on the pear. So...just for you Elizabeth, we cut the stem off and added one freehand. The stem is so easy there is no need to make a new one....but when working on this project, the need for leaves became apparent. Look for leaves sometime soon!
And...while I was playing....
Using only the water color set, I painted the solid stamp with yellow and oranges. Then after stamping it, overstamped with the detail stamp which had the same colors applied to the raised surfaces. It's no world beater but it was fun!

Flexi-Cut (Dick Blick), Flexible Printing Plates (Nasco)
Design A Stamp (Nasco)

This is a material available inexpensively from Dick Blick and Nasco. It cuts easily with a scissors and has adhesive on the back. It is quite thin, so you may want to mount it on foam or use the red rubber cushion.

Another similar material, inexpensive and useful for making your own masks and for cutting out your own touches to add to you stamping is the "Make a Stamp" felt, designed for simple stamp cutout projects.

Stamp on slick side. Cut out and peel off backing.
Cut out shape
Mount (transparent mount is easiest.)
Stamp background then overprint with a darker red. Add color to stem with dark brown.

Cut from a place mat, this was inked with dye based inks. Pigment inks and block print colors would yield a smoother, more opaque coverage.

Steps shown below are the same as those already demonstrated. The shadow stamp for the peeled banana of course only uses half of the image.

Because the place mat was dark, the stamp was first printed on a piece of sticker paper. The paper was removed after the cutting.

Here the shadow stamp is mounted on the lid of a stamp pad box. (A favorite quick-mount!)

The shadow stamp and a test print.

Would LOVE to say I switched the color to make it easier to see. However, the truth is I accidentally grabbed the wrong reinker when refreshing my yellow pad!

MASKING a Two Color Stamp

The easiest way to use the star/segment stamps is to ink them with juicy markers--huff on them (Dee Gruenig's technique) and print. But you may also prefer to use a stamp pad (without the huffing). Instead of masking the stamped art work, (which requires more placement precision) simple stamps can be masked and inked.

1.Stamp image on heavy, coated paper.

Plastic page protectors, plastic quilt templates, coated card stock, any paper laminated to make waterproof will work. Uncoated paper can be used but will absorb the ink fairly quickly.

2. Cut image apart where color s meet.



3. Turn mask over before placing on stamp.


4. Using stamp pad, apply color to unmasked portion of image using a raised ink pad.

5. Cover portion just colored. Do not apply too much pressure to stamp or your finger pressure point will show. If using a stiff material for the mask, you may not even have to touch the stamp. Instead, hold the covering in place from the edge. Apply second color to stamp.

Stamp and repeat process.

Creasing the center line of each "arm" and folding in the opposite direction on the smaller line to form a "valley" will give added dimension to the completed star.

A "Make Do" Example

Linda Blackbird sent a card.....and you just have to see the envelope and the card. The epitome of making do but the idea is so effective you almost think that's what the stamps were designed for!

This envelope arrived in another clear envelope with the address written on a vellum the card would be ready for passing along to the next fortunate recipient.
Here is the card. Behind the flag design is a really nice Liberty Bell stamp by Ink-Links.
The "Stars & Stripes Forever" stamped on the back of the card (below) is also an Ink-Links image.
The images used to make the "flag" were a part of a gg designs Christmas set....folk angels.
Who would have thought a checkerboard pattern could work as a flag image?

Pale Pastel "Chalk Type" Color Applications

You probably won't see many projects using this technique shown in cyber galleries. The result is so pale, so subtle, it's much too much a challenge for most scanners.We received a LOVELY card from Leslie Wong, using a very pale green, peach and blue Fleur De Watchamacallit image (as opposed the the faithfully produced Fleur de Lys stamps "out there" in a number of places.) When we tried scanning it, the images disappeared.In a subsequent conversation with Linda Blackbird (who has tried every technique and product known to (wo)man and rubber-stamp enthusiastists everywhere, she quickly shared a "make do" for me to play with....since my stamping supplies are very limited. I DO have a Versamark pad. VERY FOND of it.... it's so subtle it's virtually a no fail stamp pad to to use.In any are her directions (compliments of Susan at Stamp It) ....and the results below.

Stamp your image using the Versamark pad. Then, taking chalks, scratch--with your fingernail--to create the amount of "chalk dust" you need. Sprinkle over the Versamark stamping. Rub the sprinklings around (over the image) with your finger, or a brush and then tap/wipe off the excess. Seal with a spray sealer. Anybody else use hair spray in a pinch?

The project hit it's first glitch! I have no fingernails! And the only chalk I had was Dollar Store variety for my granddaughter's chalk board. (Deliberately pale, in case she gets excessively creative about WHERE she's chalking : ) BUT...a work around for the work around worked! I scraped the chalk with the blade of a scissors and it worked fine.

This technique will be explored further later. You may want to use it in the spring...when light pastels are the order of the day (season)....but for now:....

Hmmm....wonder if cocoa or powdered instant coffee would work?