Friday, November 9, 2012

Getting in (Stamping) Gear!

I have missed my blog.  I have missed my art time.  My world has been a blur of school carnivals and Halloween and laundry.  All my good intentions vanished- like so many things around here!  But, I pushed aside the clutter, like an adventurer cutting aside the jungle, and found my work space.  It was still there!  All the paint spatters, dried Superglue, and neglected tools welcomed me back.  But what happens when dead paint brushes greet you?  You know, the ones that you assured yourself you would wash as soon as you put them down.  Instead you felt the need for just one more quick embellishment, one more stamped image, then the phone rang…  Now the bristles are a blue plastic mass.

Well, I can’t give you a NEW paint brush, but I can help you restore your paint encrusted bristles to working order.  Ready for this?  White vinegar.  Yep.  Pour some white vinegar in a glass and soak the bristles.  After the paint has softened and some of it has dropped out of the bristles, use your finger nails to clean the bristles.  Then wash the brush well in soapy water.  This has saved many a paint brush at my house.

After dropping my encrusted paintbrushes in vinegar, stashing all my beading supplies, scraping polymer clay off the floor, and vacuuming up all the tiny paper clippings  I finally had space (physical and emotional) to play.  Of course by this time it’s nearly bedtime, but I determined to “carry on”. 

Some time back while visiting my sister-in-law in Dallas I came across an intriguing new stamp toy.  Bright green gears and cogs promised to open new rubber stamping windows!  I couldn’t wait to begin.  Of course I opened it as soon as possible to run my fingers over the smooth plastic and turn the cling stamps over in my palms- but I had not actually made anything with the contraption.

So, with the mission to conquer the Stamping Gear (by Inkadinkado) I pulled up my rolling chair, spread out the pieces before me, and grabbed a supply of white typing paper.  I tried to find some stamped samples online in galleries, but there didn’t seem to be much out there.  So, I began to play with the tools.  I have learned a few things about the Gear which I will share with you.  There is so much potential here, and I hope Inkadinkado will exploit it.  Can you imagine a set of cling “gears and mechanisms” to go with the Stamping Gear?  And a new selection of sizes and smaller cling stamps could make the contraption more applicable for card making enthusiasts.  (Hint, hint Inkadinkado! )

Here are a few basic observations I made while playing.

*When making an image to go on a card, reach for one of the gear shaped pieces, the ring or oval, rather than the smaller cogs.  While the cogs look smaller, the diameter of the stamped image is much larger than what results from the interior of the gears.

*Use a fast drying ink to prevent smears and smudges.

*Use a juicy inkpad.  This technique uses a lot of ink!  Think about it, when stamping a closed pattern you will be stamping your image 32 times!

*The Gears and Cogs both have triangular shaped holes in them that make it easy to stay on pattern.  For example, when stamping at every second notch you can just proceed to the next triangle.  Or for stamping every fourth position skip one triangle.  You’ll see what I mean when you try it.

*When you intend to stamp along the outer edge of a cog or gear and are placing your stamp on the paddle, keep in mind the triangular notches that extend out from the gears and cogs.  Be sure to place your stamp far enough from the edge of the paddle so that the notch doesn’t interfere with stamping.

 *Try it out on typing paper first!   I have started my very own notebook filled with samples and notes about how I accomplished the look.  I will share a few pages with you.
Here I recorded the tools and patterns I used.  The two tone image shows the effect of off-setting the second stamp image.

Again showing the use of two colors.  I started with just the image on the right, then I repeated that and stamped inbetween each branch with the citronelle ink. I took notes of tools and patterns.

The last three images:  The first two show the difference between a completely closed pattern, meaning I stamped at every notch and an open pattern where I stamped at every fourth notch.  The last shows where I began recording the stamp placement and orientation on the paddle.

Well, duties call.  But throughout the next week I plan to keep experimenting with my Stamping Gear.  If you own a Stamping Gear I would love to see some of your creations and hear some of your tips.

Happy Weekend!-  Renee                                                             

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