Saturday, August 16, 2008

Mounting Stamps

I have this info up on my site, but thought I would post it here as well...

Note: Many stampers who mount their own stamps recommend using Kai scissors to cut the rubber and cushion. Click here to reach the Kai scissors website. (We will also be carrying Kai scissors soon - just need to try out a couple of types before we make our selections.) You can also often find Kai scissors available on EBay.

Why buy unmounted stamps?
When you purchase uncut/unmounted rubber stamp sheets, you can cut and mount as you please, and pay much less per image than you would for pre-mounted stamps.

Why do you sell unmounted stamps?
Time and costs. As artists, we want to focus our time and energy on designing rubber stamp images. Offering large quantities of trimmed and mounted stamps would require the purchase of a scroll saw... and then the using of the scroll saw. Having a mounting block for every single stamp image also represents a larger investment for inventory, higher shipping costs for materials, and the need for much more storage space.

One of the companies that presses stamp sheets for us offers cling mounting and trimming services. That is how we are able to offer some of our stamps as cling mounted sets. We also carry a small stock of cling mounting cushion and acrylic mounting blocks for those customers who will be mounting their own stamps.

What are the options for mounting stamps?
There are a number of options...

Mounting to Wooden Blocks: Traditionally, stamps have been "permanently" mounted to maple wood block mounts using double-sided adhesive foam cushion between the back of the stamp rubber and the surface of the block. The blocks are often "indexed" (a full-size image of the stamp design is stamped, printed or applied with a sticker onto the top side of the maple block), so that when the stamp is being used the crafter can have an idea of where the stamped image will be placed. You can purchase wood blocks and standard adhesive mounting cushion through a number of online sources, as well as find how-to's. We do not carry supplies for mounting stamps on wood.

  • How to: - This site actually talks about carving your own stamps and mounting them permanently on wood, but you can use the tips for mounting purchased unmounted rubber stamps as well. If you scroll down to the text that is right below the illustration of a plane in a rectangle, there are some good tips about an adhesive that should be able to handle heat! (Remember to use good ventilation and possibly a mask when using spray adhesives!!!)
Cling Mounting: Over time, people have experimented with various other ways of mounting stamps. I remember purchasing adhesive-backed velcro to temporarily attach stamps to acrylic stamp blocks that also had velcro attached to them. One popular development has been cling mounting. The stamps are not permanently adhered to the mounting blocks. This allows crafters to have a small collection of mounting blocks that can be used repeatedly with any stamps that fit on them. Clear acrylic blocks have become the top choice, as they allow the crafter to see exactly where the stamp is being placed.

As mentioned above, some of our stamp sheets are available as cling mounted sets. The images are trimmed, mounted on cling cushion, and come adhered to laminated storage cards that can be hole-punched for binder storage. For those who would like to purchase unmounted stamp sets and trim and mount the stamps themselves, we offer cling mounting cushion and clear acrylic blocks in our Rubber Stamp Accessories section.
  • How to: Sunday International, the company that creates "EZ Mount", the brand of cling cushion that we carry, has the instructions for cling mounting stamp sheets on their site. Click on the image to see the full sized image on their site.

  • Sunday International has added an important note on their site: "It is not recommended that you store any of your EZMount Stamps on Acetate Sheets. Acetate is made with chemicals that will react with EZMount and any other cling cushion type product, making an almost permanent bond between it and the cling."

About the cling mount option
The cling mounting options saves money, resources, and storage space.

Cling mounting cushion has adhesive on one side and a vinyl static cling surface on the other that can adhere to acrylic blocks, laminated sheets, and many other glossy surfaces. Cling cushioned stamps can be mounted and remounted on blocks with no temporary adhesive to clean up. Even CD and cassette cases can be used as stamp mounts.

You save on the price of individually mounted stamps as well as on extra shipping costs due to the weight of the blocks used for individually mounted stamps. An assortment of sizes of acrylic blocks can be used as interchangeable mounts for many stamps. You can arrange an assortment of stamps together on one mount for a complete image/scene, and then separate them again afterwards. Clear acrylic blocks allow you to see through the block while stamping for more accuracy, so there is no need for indexing the mounting block.

Cling mounted stamps can be stored more compactly than wood mounted stamps - they can be stuck to laminated sheets and stored in a binder or even stuck to a fridge or file cabinet. If you find that your stamps are not adhering as well over time, try wiping the block and cling surfaces with a damp cloth. Dust can interfere with the adhesion. If you think you need a little more cleaning power, use warm water and a little soap to dampen the cloth.

Cling mounting for stamping velvet, clay, paper, etc.
Our cling mounted sets are mounted on 1/8 inch thick cling cushion. That is also the thickness of the cling cushion sheets that we sell separately.

  • Velvet: I recommend 1/8 inch thickness or thicker for cling cushioning if you will be using the stamps for embossing velvet. Having thicker cushioning behind the stamp raises the image farther off the surface beneath it, so that the dampened velvet is less likely to pick up impressions or shiny spots from the surface around the stamp. It isn't necessary to use a mounting block when embossing velvet. Having 1/8 inch thick trimmed cushion behind the stamp should be sufficient.
  • Clays: How you will be making impressions in the clay will determine whether you should use cushioning or mounting for the stamps. If you are laying the stamps face up on a surface and pressing the clay down onto them, then there should be no need for cushioning, unless you want to be sure that the stamp images are raised higher than any surface underneath them. If you plan to press stamp images into the clay from above or from the side, then you will probably want to go with cushion and a mounting block.
  • Paper and fabrics: Typically, paper and fabric are stamped by pressing a stamp down onto the stamping surface. In these cases, your stamp should be backed with cushion and on a mount. There are techniques - such as using a brayer - that involve the stamp image being placed face-up on a surface and the paper or fabric placed down onto them. In these cases, it is up to you to decide if you want the stamps backed with cushion or mounts.

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