(How-to Picture from Colored Pencil Techniques eArticle.)
Do you remember when you first discovered stamping? Maybe someone gave you a stamped card and you were amazed that they made it themselves. Maybe you stumbled into a rubber stamp store and wondered what the wood blocks with pictures on them were all about. Maybe you saw a demo of heat embossing at the local craft store and thought it was magic. Or maybe you stumbled across a how-to in a blog or through a YouTube video online.
While there are still new stampers joining us, many of the people who are stamping these days have been stamping for quite a few years. And sometimes when you have been doing something for a while, you start to lose the excitement that got you started. There is just something so stimulating about learning something new. And stamping is a very flexible craft that can incorporate all kinds of mediums and can mesh with other art and craft techniques, so you can always be learning something new with stamping . . . unless you let yourself fall into a rut.
(How-to Picture from Doodling & Hand Lettering eArticle.)
There was a period in stamping’s popularity when many of us were in acquisition mode. Whatever the newest thing was, we bought it. Whatever the newest technique was, we tried it. It was definitely fun. But as the drawers and shelves and surfaces in our craft rooms began to bulge with all the stuff we bought over the years, most of us began to pull back. We started to question whether we really needed to buy every new gadget, every new inkpad and spray, and whether we really had to learn every technique and related craft. We started being pickier about what we bought. And we started cleaning out the back corners and giving things away or selling them on eBay.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Not every technique is going to appeal to every stamper. And we don’t all need every gadget, every stamp or every art medium. But if you let yourself drop out of learning mode, you are likely to find yourself in a rut and bored with the whole thing. And that is really a shame because stamping is a great activity. Spend an afternoon stamping and you come away feeling creatively refreshed.
But how do you keep things fresh and keep learning new things without blowing your budget and overflowing your storage shelves?
I think the key is to build on techniques and supplies you already have in your craft room. While moving into some craft areas can require a whole new financial outlay, others may require just a few more things to get started.
(How-to Picture from Metal & Faux Metal Stamping Techniques eArticle.)
Add On Techniques & Crafts: For example, you’ve already got stamps and related supplies that you use to create stamped cards. One way to branch out is to try a new surface – maybe explore stamping on metal or glass or polymer clay for example. Yes, you might need to purchase some different ink types to successfully stamp or color other surfaces, but many of the supplies and tools remain the same.
(Zig-zag Card from Specialty Card Folds eArticle)
Expand on What You Do: If you are a paper-only stamper, you might consider challenging yourself to learn some new in the way of card construction. Learn some different folds beyond the standard single fold 5 1/2″ x 4 1/4″ card. See how many pop-up techniques you can master. See how many types of movement cards you can create. Challenge yourself to explore different card sizes and shapes. Branch out from strictly greeting cards to include smaller formats like ATCs (Artist Trading Cards), gift tags and labels. Or go the other way with larger formats like framed pictures or stamped books.
(How-to Picture from Brayer Techniques for Stampers eArticle.)
Pull Things Off The Back Shelf: If you’ve been stamping for a while, you likely have a bunch of supplies and tools. Pull something out of a dark back corner of the stamp shelf and give it a try again. When is the last time you used that brayer you have in your crafting stash? You might think, “Ho, hum, I know how to use a brayer. I’d rather create backgrounds with my die-cut machine.” But pull it out anyway, try some different inks and some different techniques to create background papers you can then emboss or die-cut WITH that die-cut machine. Play around with other tools you’ve got: decorative paper punches and scissors, craft irons, masks and templates and stencils and different fasteners.
(How-to Picture from the Re-inker Techniques eArticle.)
Play With Art Mediums: Experiment with different art mediums. Do you always stamp with regular dye ink? When is the last time you tried stamping or coloring in with watercolor or acrylic paint? When is the last time you used powdered pigments? How about heat embossing or UTEE in a Melting Pot? Molds and polymer clay or paper clay? Are you still using those art sprays you bought a few years ago? Chalks? Colored Pencils? Pastels? Watercolor or Alcohol ink markers? Re-Inkers? Pull out something you haven’t used in a while and play!
(How-to Picture From Stamping With Paint eArticle.)
Seek Out More Online: It is so easy to just figure, “I know how to stamp. I don’t have anything new to learn.” And yes, if you’ve been stamping for a while, you may already know 98% of the techniques you’ll find about stamping online. But that remaining 2% can be really cool and can refresh your enthusiasm for stamping. Keep your eyes open for new techniques. Subscribe to favorite blogs or YouTube Channels that you know will inspire you. (Ask friends for suggestions.) Watch the websites of favorite stamp companies or ink manufacturers for new products or techniques. Don’t assume you know every possible technique; keep an open mind.
Discover Your Own Techniques: You don’t have to wait around for someone else to come up with a technique. If you spend time playing around with the stamps, tools and supplies you already have, you are likely to come up with unexpected surprises and discover new techniques of your own! Allow yourself to try. And allow yourself to fail. Not all experiments will succeed, but in the process, you will learn more about the art mediums and tools you have and how they work and how they don’t work. You’ll be a stronger stamper and artist for the exercise.
(Submit Artwork to the Upcoming Powdered Pigment Techniques eArticle)
Challenge Yourself: Look for opportunities to be part of stamping online. Participate in swaps, VSN eArticle Art Challenges and design groups. Post your work on Facebook. Start your own creative blog. Make stamped cards and gifts for other people. Create excuses to stamp. Carve out creative time for yourself.
This weekend, go to your craft room, pull out your stamps and play!
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