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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Changing Wood Mounted Stamps to Clear Mount

Many of you know that I’ve been changing my wood mounted stamps to clear mount. Whether you prefer wood mounted or clear mount stamps is a personal decision. For me, it’s a space issue. Moving to clear mount lets me organize my stamps in a smaller space.

Several of you have asked for a tutorial on converting wood mounted stamps to clear mount. To get a rubber stamp to stick to a block you have two choices. Either make the block stick to the stamp or make your stamps stick to the block. After trying different ways, here are my favorite methods for each choice. 

1. Put something sticky on the block so it will hold your stamps. This is the most cost effective method if you have a lot of unmounted stamps. You only have to convert a few clear blocks instead of changing all of your stamps. My favorite clear sticky product is Tack-n-Peel. Over time, your sticky blocks gather lint and don’t stick as well. With Tack-n-Peel, you can rinse the block in water, let it air dry and your block is sticky again. Please e-mail me if you would like to know where to find this product in our local area.

This is what I originally did with many of my stamps. I put Tack-n-Peel on several clear blocks. I never removed the paper from the back of the stamps. When I need to use the stamp, I place it on the clear block and it sticks to the Tack-n-Peel. When I’m finished, I clean the stamp while it is still attached to the clear block. Then I remove the stamp and put it back in its case.

2. Put something on your stamps that will help them stick to your blocks. There are many different ways to make your stamps sticky. When you use adhesives, they also gather lint over time and don’t stick as well. That is why I use cling vinyl to stick my stamps to my blocks without using adhesive. It’s what I use for my current stamps. Because Stampin’ Up! stamps are already mounted to foam, I use Papilio inkjet clear static cling film.

When using cling vinyl, you can also add the image on the back of the stamp. To do this, you need to reverse the image. There are two ways to do this. One is low tech, uses tissue paper and doesn’t require being computer-savvy. For the second method, you’ll need a software program where you can reverse images before you print.

Using Tissue Paper
Buy plain white tissue paper that you can find in the gift wrap section at your craft store. Stamp the image on the tissue paper and let it dry thoroughly. Rough cut the image out of the tissue paper. Turn it upside down and adhere it to the back of your stamp. You’ll be able to see your image through the tissue paper. Add the cling vinyl and trim to fit. I used Tombow mono multi liquid glue to adhere the vinyl. You can also use it for the tissue paper if the back of your stamp isn’t already sticky.

In this picture, the thanks image was stamped on tissue paper using the low tech method. The butterfly image was printed on the cling vinyl. 

Printing on Cling Vinyl
While this method takes more time, it’s my favorite. The image is printed on the vinyl before you mount it on your stamps.

The first thing you need is a digital version of the stamped images. To get these images, I usually scan the label. For the rest of this process, make sure that your images stay at 100%, so they will be the same size as your stamp.

You’ll need a software program to flip your images so the printing is backwards. You need to flip your images because you are printing on the side of the vinyl that touches the foam. After you attach the vinyl, you’ll see the image correctly. To flip your image in Photoshop Elements, go to Image>Rotate>Flip Horizontal or Vertical. You may also choose to increase the contrast of the image so that the black is really black.  

Here is the label for Dream Gardens after the image is flipped. Notice that the word "dream" and the Stampin' Up! copyright is reversed.

After reversing your images, insert them in a Word document to print. You can fit as many images as you can on one page before printing. Follow the printing instructions that come with the Papilio sheets.

After the ink is dry, rough cut the images out of the vinyl. Attach to the back of the stamp and trim to fit.


How do you take your stamps off of wood blocks?
Usually you can carefully peel them off. Putting them in your microwave for a few seconds will heat the glue so that they are easier to remove. In my microwave, 3 seconds on high works well.

I no longer have my label, how can I get a digital image to print on the vinyl?
If you no longer have your labels, here are some options.

1. Peel the labels off of your wood mount stamps. I’ve been able to peel these off without putting the stamp in the microwave. Attach the labels to paper or a transparency and scan.

2. Stamp the images on paper and scan.

3. Depending on how old your stamps are, you may be able to find digital versions of the stamps on My Digital Studio or in Stampin’ Up!’s online catalog. You will need to make sure that the images are at 100% as sometimes these digital images have been re-sized. With images that are not 100%, I’ve been able to enlarge them in Word so that they work.

How do you store your unmounted stamps?
I put my smaller sets into empty CD cases. You will have to remove the holder for the CD. For the larger ones, I use the DVD-type storage cases that Stampin’ Up! sells. With regular DVD cases, there isn’t a way to remove the part that holds the DVD. 

How do you label your CD cases?
I print an insert with the name of the stamp set on card stock. I then add the label and insert to the CD case. Be sure to buy the standard CD cases and not the slim ones.

How do you label your DVD cases?
I loved the way that Stampin’ Up! designed their inserts and copied their format. I set it up to print two inserts on one piece of 8 1/2 x 11 copy paper. I reduced the digital stamp images and added them to the insert. On the front of the case, I add the label, a digital image or a piece of paper with the stamped images.

For background stamps, I use the label that comes with the stamp. It fits in the DVD case perfectly.

What is Static Cling Vinyl?
Static cling vinyl is a special formulation of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) to which a large amount of plasticizer (a liquid) has been added. This highly plasticized formulation is exceptionally pliable. The vinyl is specially treated to give it a smooth finish. When the vinyl film is applied to a clean, smooth, glossy surface, it adheres firmly without the need for an adhesive. A good quality static cling vinyl is worth the extra expense.

If I can give you any more information about changing your wood mounted stamps to clear mount, please post your comment here.  Please contact me if you would like to buy the Stampin' Up! storage cases, Papilio Cling Vinyl or Tack-n-Peel.  

Have fun changing your wood mounted stamps to clear mount.  It gets easier after you have finished changing one or two stamps.
Visit my online store to get your supplies for this project.  Remember that when you purchase $25 or more in product, you are eligible for my Rewards Program.

Creatively yours,

Sharon Cheng
Richland Hills, TX
My Online Store


Unknown said...

I love how you made the DVD inserts. Would you be willing to share the file or explain how you created it?

Marla said...

Great tutorial, Sharon! Thank you!

Joni said...

Awesome tutorial. Love the step by step instructions!

Mounted Stamp said...

Amazing post i love it. Thanks for sharing important post with us.