Saturday, March 10, 2012

How To Use An Unmounted Rubber Stamp On Fabric

How To Use Unmounted Rubber Stamps On Fabric

For years I have wanted to use a "handmade by" stamp on all my craft projects and not be limited by sew on labels.  I recently had my artwork made into deep etch rubber stamp sets that have clothing sizes and designs for stamping fabric or other craft mediums with a "handmade by" tag.   I chose to go with the unmounted rubber stamp sheets so that they could be more versatile and easier to convert to the crafter's needs.   I am also lazy and it took me a long time to get around to mounting the stamps onto wooden handles.   So in case anyone out there is like me and has unmounted stamps they want to use immediately, I wrote a quick and easy tutorial on how to use unmounted stamps on fabric. 

I would like to note that I am not a stamping expert and I cannot guarantee excellent results by using this tutorial.  This is for those who own unmounted rubber stamps and have not had the opportunity to mount them but want to start using them right away. Mounting your stamps does help regulate your results and it is much easier to use.  But you don't have to have them mounted in order to use them.

Let's get started.

Step 1 - Place cut out rubber stamp design gently onto ink pad. Softly press down on all areas of the stamp design. Then grasp the sides of the stamp with a straight upward movement and remove from the ink pad.  Check to make sure the ink has covered the outline of the stamp.  Then, still holding the sides of the stamp, lay it down gently onto the fabric and area you want stamped. Try not to drop, bounce or rock the stamp back and forth.

Step 3  -  Take the lid of your stamp pad and turn it so the edges are facing up.  Center it over the stamp and press down evenly on the lid .  Do not rock it back and forth or press too hard.  Make sure it's a nice even press.  

Step 4 -  Lift the lid off of the stamp and then gently grasp the sides of the stamp and raise it straight up and off of the fabric.

A medium weave cotton fabric stamped with pigment ink.

  Let the ink dry for at least 8 to 10 hours.  The ink then needs to be heat set in order to stay on the garment and not be washed out the first time it's laundered.  If you are not happy with the stamp placement then you can wash the garment right after stamping to remove the ink.  Heat set the ink by placing a piece of smooth fabric like a pillowcase over the stamped area and then iron over the fabric and stamped area.  Use the hottest setting on your iron and no steam.  Move the iron slowly over the area for at least 2 to 3 minutes for a good set.  Wait a day or longer before washing the garment.   Pigment ink or an ink specifically for fabric can be used on smooth, tight weave fabric.  The ink will take longer to fade if used on a synthetic material verses cotton or all natural fibers.  If the fabric is rough or fuzzy, the stamp will not be as sharp and clean looking.  If you are stamping on wood, ceramics or glass, you will need to use permanent or an brand of ink like Fabrico (VersaCraft) that is recommended for that type of surface.

It's that easy to get started with your unmounted stamps.  When you are ready to add mounts to your stamps, there are many resources on the Internet for either wood or acrylic block mounts.  Wooden mounts are usually attached permanently where acrylic blocks can be used with a type of adhesive mounting foam that sticks to the acrylic with static cling, allowing the stamp to be removable.  Until then, you can still stamp your handmade creations with ease.

Have fun stamping!

To view Night Owl's Menagerie's orginal art handmade stamps:


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