Handstamping: A Tutorial

Hello there, New New Blog readers! I'm Kerry - a new contributor here. My Etsy shop is K. Batty Design & Stationery (or kbatty.etsy.com) & it's filled with personalized stationery, custom invitations, greeting cards & a few other paper products coming soon. Many of the items in my shop are hand stamped so I thought I'd kick off with that - a little tutorial on hand stamping with a simple one-stamp greeting card. Heeeeeeere we go...

Supplies: a CLEAN rubber or polymer stamp, a CLEAN ink pad (not something your toddler has been playing with - you know how they are with the paints...), something to stamp on – for this tutorial, as I said, we’re hand-stamping a card, but you could easily personalize notepads, notebooks, gift tags, address labels…you get what I'm saying. You can purchase any of these things at your local craft or stationery store.

Step 1: Prepare your surface – any flat surface will do. Make sure it’s clean - let’s not get the jelly from your morning toast on your project. I like to stamp on my cutting mat..

Step 2: Placement - Decide a head of time where you’re going to place your design. Line up your clean stamp on your paper until you get a design/placement that you like.

Step 3: Ink up! Lightly dab your stamp around the pad. Check your edges for over inking (places where the ink pools in your design or on the stamping block, like that spot on the right side of my stamp. Oops!).

Step 4: Stamp! Use even pressure on the stamp, particularly in the center if it’s a large stamp like this one. Avoid “mashing” the stamp on the paper – the design will look fuzzy & bloated. Oh! This is why I like using my cutting mat. I use the grid to help line up my stamp on the paper.

Step 5: Let it dry! As you stamp, carefully move your pieces aside to dry. Some colors will dry quickly; others take a while, particularly the metallic inks so be patient. Don't smudge it! Also, some surfaces/papers will absorb ink faster than others. Just leave your project on your work surface while you go on to the next step…

Step 6: Clean up! Cover your ink pads first to help keep them from drying out, ensuring a long life for your stamp pad. Wash your stamps & leave them to dry. Usually, I just wash my stamps with water, especially if I get to the sink as soon as I’ve stamped, but it depends on the ink you’re using. Some of it can be a little stubborn, especially if you have been stamping a lot of pieces.

Ta-da! You have a greeting card (or any other paper-product you can dream up)! All you need is an envelope, which can also be stamped if you want. It’s relatively easy & quick but takes some preparation & practice to do it consistently. If you’re a newbie, definitely practice your impression & alignment on a scrap piece before you move to your stamp surface.

Questions or comments? Leave them here & please do report back on what you create! Happy Stamping!

Artist Spotlight: Laura Carollo of Gracenotes Papers

Laura Carollo is in the business of making the act of saying "thank you" extra special with her beautiful line of notecards and other papergoods thoughtfully named Gracenotes Papers. Find out a little more about Laura and her line as {NewNew} blogger Alicia from Lingua Nigra shines the spotlight on her and Gracenotes Papers.
Check out Laura's Etsy profile
1. Alicia: What brought you to New York and keeps you here?
Laura: Design and art brought me to New York and it’s been keeping me here ever since. After graduating college in Washington, D.C. with a degree in Graphic Design, New York was calling! I knew it was the only place to go because of overwhelming number of creative people, museums, design agencies, and artists. Creative energy is all around in this city—I can’t get enough of it!
Bee Mine Valentine
2. Alicia: What started your love of type and paper?
Laura: From a young age, I loved to color and draw--to create crafts or dream up cards or projects. But once I realized all the different papers available and the beautiful things I could do with them, I was hooked! I really honed that passion in a college typography class that was exciting and so motivating (to a type nerd like me). The professor’s love for typography was easily transferred and I became slightly obsessed with letterforms and the beautiful shapes they create.
Set of 8 Polka Dot Note Cards
3. Alicia: Do you see yourself doing anything other than paper goods? Would you ever branch out?
Laura: I’ve been taking small steps to expand my offerings. I just started working on a line of cut paper wall art.  I’ve occasionally done non-paper projects when they’ve presented themselves. But mostly, my passion is in paper and until I feel I’ve exhausted this area, and Gracenotes Papers is a well-known brand I’ll continue working to perfect it.
Say thank you with style
4. Alicia: What is the nicest thing a customer has said or done to you?
Laura: My customers are wonderful! They always take the time to thank me or to express how much they enjoyed working together, it’s hard to choose just one comment. I think one of the kindest acts is their repeat business and referrals. I feel great when I see the email or convo from a familiar name and know that they enjoyed their last order enough to return or send a friend to my shop, and I'm always excited they have another happy event to celebrate!
Express your gratitude with elegance
5. Alicia: Can you give any advice to beginning paper people?
Laura: My best advice is perfect your own style. Make it shine through your work and everything you do, and people will be attracted to that. There are a lot of people working in this medium, but it will be your style and personality that helps you build your client base and really succeed. It's not easy, but doing what you love everyday is incredibly rewarding!
Say I love you over and over again
Alicia: Thank you so much Laura for sharing your lovely work and wisdom with us!