(Window: Frost (branches) & Jack Frost (elf) – Magenta, Stampington & Co.)
Another Take on a Jack Frost Window Card, Dealing With a Problem Stamp, Stamp Cleaners and Inkpads. Whew!
Jack Frost Window Card Take 2: Today I played around with another card using stamped branches to represent window frost. (See the January 22 post for my first version.)
I was picking up an inkpad and some fresh stamp cleaner in a local stamp store today and saw this “Cedar Branch” stamp from Magenta. I was weak. I bought it.
This time instead of masking the window and stamping inside, I stamped the window and the frost panes separately, cut them out and layered them onto the card. This let me more easily create a brown “wood” window frame and also let me play around with the frost placement. Last time, I simply stamped the frost in white pigment ink on navy cardstock. This time I stamped and embossed in white on a medium blue cardstock.
The text, as with the previous version, was computer generated, although I experimented with a different font and added a little stamped elf to represent Jack Frost. (What does Jack Frost look like? I envision him as elf-like.) I sponged white embossing ink along the edges of the card and embossed in white to soften the edges.
Dealing With a Problem Stamp: The reason that I went to get the inkpad and stamp cleaner today was because this window stamp has been driving me a bit nuts. It is a really simple stamp but it is actually fairly tricky to stamp because it has very fine straight lines. The stamp has a really bad tendency to pick up lint — more than the average stamp and I mean bits from EVERYWHERE. You think it is clean but you stamp it and the lines stamp with gritty little extra bits along them. Are they coming off the inkpad? Are they spontaneously coming into existence? I don’t know, but it drives me nuts. The cushion is also a little low in one corner so I need to be careful to press on all the edges or I wind up with a corner-less window. I usually have to stamp it a few times to get a clean stamping. But it is a handy stamp, so I’m willing to play with it to get it to work.
See what I mean? By pressing firmly, I got all the corners, but look at the little extra bits on the middle bar of the window. Actually several of the lines look gritty. Sigh.
This morning, I started playing around with the stamp, trying it with a variety of inkpads to see if that would make a difference. Ironically, the inkpad that created the nicest, most crisp print was an old Ancient Page inkpad in Chocolate. It stamped beautifully without a single extra bit of grit on the lines. All the other inkpads had the gritty lines. I think it is because Ancient Page pads have a very dense smooth pad rather than the felt textured pads that you see on a lot of other pads. It stamped beautifully every time. Unfortunately, I don’t think Clearsnap makes these anymore.
So I was thinking about it and realized that although it isn’t as densely detailed as a photo stamp, it is still a fine lined stamp and many people like VersaFine ink pads for crisp detail. BUT, of course, I didn’t have a VersaFine pad in the right color. So that lead me to the stamp store where I bought a black VersaFine inkpad today and tried it. I still like the Ancient Page version the best, but the VersaFine was better than any of the others and gave me a usable impression (bottom right.)
While I was at the store, I picked up some stamp cleaner as well because the Joy of Stamping cleaner I’ve been using hasn’t been making me happy lately. It hasn’t been getting all the ink off and it tends to leave residue in stamp crevices. (Note: To be fair, I have to say that I took it out of its dabber bottle and put it in a spray bottle so I’m using it a little differently than they designed it. I’ve also had this cleaner for a long time so maybe it is just past its prime?)
One type of cleaner that I really like is Grandma’s Secret Stamp Cleaner. I’ve sprayed some on a stamp, waited a few minutes and then wiped it off, to get off not only active ink, but stains that were years old. Now, as long as the ink isn’t active, a stained inkpad isn’t really a problem, but it does make it easier to know it is clean if you don’t have the stain to confuse things. But anyway, I ran out of this cleaner a while back and it can be hard to find, especially locally.
Yesterday in frustration, I tried a homemade stamp cleaner recipe I found online (1 cup distilled water, 2 tablespoons glycerine and 2 teaspoons cheap shampoo: Sauve.) It seems like a pretty tame recipe that doesn’t include alcohol or anything really harsh so I was willing to try it. This homemade cleaner actually cleaned my stamps a lot better than the Joy of Stamping I’ve been using lately, but I didn’t like the soapiness of the mixture and wondered if the soap would linger on the stamp.
So because I was going to pick up a new inkpad today, I figured I’d try a new cleaner as well. The local stores in my area (both stamp stores and craft stores) are very Ranger product dominated, so I picked up a bottle of their Cleansit All-Purpose Cleaner and their Clear Stamp Cleaner. It’s been a few years since I’ve tried Ranger’s cleaners. I haven’t tried the Clear Stamp Cleaner yet, but I liked the Cleansit All-Purpose Stamp Cleaner. It cleaned the inks off my stamps nicely, regardless of what type I was using and didn’t seem to leave residue in the crevices like I was getting with the Joy of Stamping and the homemade cleaner. They have the dabber tops and I really prefer the spray type because I think the dabber tops can migrate ink around, but I’ll go with it and see how I like it.
You might wonder if cleaning the window stamp with the fresh cleaner made a difference. The answer is not really. Any kind of cleaner I use on this stamp tends to wet the ink and the excess settles between the fine lines. To clean out between the lines, I run a cloth topped fingernail between the lines to clean out the excess ink (a scrubby pad doesn’t do it.) I have to do this with this stamp regardless of what cleaner I use. The problem doesn’t seem to have been the cleaner. It just stamps better with some inks than others.
One day soon, I plan to do some stamp surgery on this stamp and see if I can unmount it and try to fix the low corner issues it has. But that is an adventure for another day . . .