All About IOD Stamps by Iron Orchid Designs
About IOD Stamps
While similar in function to stamps you used as a child -- IOD stamps are magical (no kidding!). They have the power to transform a piece of junk found on the side of the road to a show-stopping piece of home decor that you’ll have to convince your husband you didn’t spend your entire monthly budget on. For reals, they are that good.
And DIY home decor is just the tip of the creative iceberg. Iron Orchid Designs stamps can be used in food art and DIY lifestyle projects, like taking a boring pair of jeans and stamping a beautiful bohemian design down the pant leg.
HOW TO PREP IOD STAMPS
Did you just get your very first set of IOD stamps - beyond exciting, right?!? But before you can get your hands dirty, you need to condition your stamps. You only need to do this once and then your stamps will be set for life.
Start by removing the acrylic sheet attached to the stamping side of the design, while leaving the stamps attached to their backing sheet. Using a fine grit sand block scuff or rough up the stamping surface. Lightly sand in one direction and then rotate the craft stamp 90 degrees and sand lightly in a different direction.
This helps the mediums stay put, and not bead (which some types, like ceramics glazes, tend to do). It also will give a cleaner impression.
TO REMOVE THE BACKING OR NOT TO REMOVE THE BACKING
Some of our stamps work best if you pull the stamp off the backing and use a thin mount when stamping. Others work best if you leave the backing on and then there are some that we keep the backing on, but cut each stamp out separately. Let’s break down what you should do with which types of stamps.
Any letter or alpha stamp set such as Typesetting, Farmhand, Retro, and Swoosh: Remove the stamp from the backing when ready to use (this takes some force, but don’t worry, the stamps are strong). Arrange the stamps design side down on your project, then lay an acrylic thin mount on top. Press to adhere the stamps to the thin mount and then apply your medium. When you’re done using your letter stamps, clean them, and stick them to the backing for storage.
Any stamp that comes as a sheet such as Carrara Marble, Craquelure, Distressed, Chippy Paint, Kindest Regards, and Cubano: Leave the stamp in one piece on the backing and the backing will work as your mounting surface.
INDIVIDUAL STAMPS WITH MULTIPLE DESIGNS
The majority of our stamps fall into this category. Examples are Painterly Rose, Pavo, Fronds, and Crockery: Leave the stamps on the backing. Cut each design out separately making sure to round the edges of the backing when you cut. The backing will work as your mounting surface.
DIFFERENT MOUNTS FOR DIFFERENT SURFACES
IOD THIN MOUNT WITH GRID & CURVED GUIDELINES
This is recommended for surfaces that are perfectly flat, for example, if you are doing word art on a wood sign. Use the grid or curved lines as guides for the lettering layout and for centering your stamps on the project surface.
This is what we call it when you use a flexible piece of plastic, such as the backing sheet that came with the stamps, as a mounting device. This is great for irregular surfaces such as walls or furniture (surprisingly, many furniture surfaces that appear flat have dips- this method will conform nicely).
This is when you use the stamp without mounting it to anything. There are two common scenarios that call for no mount. When you’re stamping a very curved surface, such as on a flower pot or around the corner of a dresser.
When you need the stamps to have a little stretch for example, I stamped the front of my cowboy boots and was able to stretch the stamp and conform it cleanly to the surface even though the boot is very curved. When using the bare stamp make sure that your fingers don’t stick to it, this could cause the stamp to lift from the surface and create an unintentional smudge.
TOP TIPS FOR STAMPING
- Hover the stamp over your project surface to line up where you want to stamp before stamping.
- Once you're ready to stamp, COMMIT, and don’t shift. That means, once your stamp makes contact with the surface, keep it there otherwise you might unintentionally smudge or create a double image.
- Use one hand to hold the stamp, then use your other hand to run your fingers over all the details of the stamp - apply even pressure and ensure good contact.
- Lift the stamp straight up off the project surface when done stamping, again being careful not to shift.
- Wipe your stamp clean with wipes immediately after use to prevent the medium from drying on the stamp.
- Last, and most important: Practice makes perfect! Stamping isn’t hard, but it does take a little practice to get it just right - especially as you try new mediums and different surfaces to get it just right.
After you’ve gotten a feel for stamping (remember - “commit, don’t shift” and PRACTICE) and you’re ready to take it to the next level - learn how to mask.
The purpose of masking is to create visual layers on your project without disrupting or muddying the original stamped image. The mask covers and protects the stamped image so that no impression is made on top of it with overlapping stamps. This keeps your designs crisp and clear.
Masking creates the impression of a foreground and a background on your projects.
You can make your own masks by stamping a piece of paper with the stamp you want to use and then cutting it out along the edge of the design. Or you can use the pre-cut reusable plastic masks included with our 2020 stamps releases. You just need to separate each mask from the sheet by gently separating along the perforated lines.
Before masking, you want to make sure your initial stamped image is dry otherwise you will smudge it when you lay the mask down. Unsealed surfaces are porous and will have a relatively quick drying time. But if you’re stamping on a sealed surface, you’ll want to wait longer to allow for adequate drying before masking.
To mask, simply line up the mask with the stamped design, laying it on top to protect the image. Then you can continue stamping the next layer.
When planning a project that uses masking, you need to think in reverse order. This means stamping what you want to be in ‘front,’ or in the foreground, first. Background, or images that appear in the under layers, are stamped last when you mask.
Other advanced techniques that you can use with stamps are the Batik technique, wet-on-wet flooding, dip pens, and more. We show you how to do each one in detail in the following tutorial.