For anyone who hasn’t used IOD stamps before, they’re essentially what they sound like: A clear stamp - but it doesn’t stop there!
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. IOD 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.
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.
This specialty mount is in a class of its own. It’s a mount with a rigid edge for gripping but a flexible area for mounting your stamp. Then, when you stamp, it assists with applying even pressure on curved surfaces to give a clear impression.
Whichever mounting method you use, the backside of the stamps and the mount must be perfectly clean in order for the stamp to cling firmly to the surface. If you find that your stamp isn’t sticking to your mount, wash it in warm soapy water or, for a quick fix, you can wipe it clean with a baby wipe.
Paint works wonderfully with IOD Stamps. When using paint we recommend creating a small puddle to roll an IOD Brayer in. Make sure you get an even load and roll onto the design side of the mounted (or if using unmounted, proceed accordingly) stamp. This part takes a little practice to get the feel of the load so that it’s enough to give you the impression you want without being sloppy. Also keep in mind variables such as the surface you are stamping, the medium you are using, as well as the look you are trying to achieve.
IOD Décor Inks work best with IOD stamps, however most other craft inks will work as well (depending on the project surface). Ink gives finer detail and tends to be a little more translucent than paint.
Edible gel paste
Perfect for if you’re looking to personalize some cheap dishes or just love the look of embossed images.
Surfaces and Applications
Both painted and stained furniture can be stamped. In fact, this is one of the most common uses for our stamps. You can use ink or paint, but generally we like the look of paint for furniture.
When stamping fabric the load of medium should be generous in order to penetrate the fibers. This means make sure your ink pad or brayer is extra juicy with ink or paint when loading the stamp.
You’ll also want to spend a little extra time with the stamp pressed on the fabric surface to give the fibers time to absorb the medium.
The look will be different with different levels of fabric texture. For example, stamping a high thread count pillow will look different from stamping burlap. Décor Ink, chalk paint and other fabric suitable mediums work well.
The ideal material for permanent washables is 100 percent cotton. However, blends and some other natural fibers can sometimes work as well.
Do a small test to be sure. Allow your newly stamped fabric to dry/cure for a minimum of 24 hours, then heat set with an iron on high heat before washing.
Walls and Floors
Walls are a fabulous surface opportunity for stamping. Create all over patterns that are a level up from wallpaper, and completely custom, or use the IOD stamps to create an old world border. We love using paint for wall applications!
Using a soft gel paste, you can stamp royal icing and fondant to take your desserts from dull to delectable! This technique uses a brayer to apply the gel paste to the stamp.
You can use stamps to decorate pottery with glazes before firing or with embossing powder after. Or you can stamp wet clay to create beautiful impressions.
Caring for your stamps
We find that the easiest way to care for and clean stamps is to keep wet wipes nearby, and avoid letting the medium dry all the way on the stamp surface.
Then, when you have time, wash them with mild soap and warm water. For some mediums you may find that you need a stamp cleaner. Use one that is safe for clear stamps. After thoroughly cleaned, place them back on the clear backing for storage
DO NOT use your stamps in high heat applications. This means puh-lease do NOT put them in the dishwasher or leave them in a hot car otherwise they will be more like shrinky-dinks than stamps. (Yikes!)