Thursday, November 15, 2007

Tutorial: Unmounting Stamps

I love the beautiful designs of my wood mounted stamps. And I love the cute seasonal designs in the Michael's $1 stamp bin. But I DO NOT like the wooden blocks. They get in the way, are bulky to store, and make it difficult for me to stamp precise images. I have quite a few unmounted sets (mostly from Purple Onion Designs) and lots of acrylic sets, and I love how compactly they store and how easy they are to transport. I've kept them in a binder and it has been great. BUT I still have 400+ wood mounted stamps that take up an entire 6 foot bookshelf in my craft room. And you know, I love those stamps. But I don't reach for them nearly as often, so they sit and collect dust. And I forget they are there, hiding in plain view. So I am making a change. A big change. I am unmounting all of my wooden stamps and creating one storage solution for ALL of my rubber and acrylic stamps. It's gonna be good....

So while I'm in the midst of this ginormous project, I though I would give you guys a little tutorial on how to do the same, in case you want to be like me. =D I'm just now realizing how long this project is going to take me, so if you've only just begun to stamp then now is the time you should begin! I have 17 years of accumulated stamping paraphernalia that I need to deal with. But I'm doing it and it will be great. So here goes.... This is how it's done:

Step 1:

Separate the rubber image from the wood and foam portion of the stamp. Some stamps will separate cleanly. Others will leave a little foam on the rubber. Still others (as seems to be the case with the Stampin' Up! stamps I am working on) will leave the rubber sticky. Try to get as much of the foam and adhesive off the back of the stamp as possible, but don't kill yourself over it. The main goal is to get the back of the stamp as flat as possible so you get a clean image when you stamp. Be sure to trim the extra rubber off as closely to the image as possible so that you can see exactly where the image is when you stamp.

Wood blocks and foam mounts
(This is the pile I am going to get rid of. This is what I have been wasting my precious storage space on!! Ah... the freedom...)

Rubber Images
(This is what I am keeping. Seriously - I can't believe how many images are here taking up such a little bit of space!)

Step 2:

Apply a thin, even coat of Aleene's Tack It Over & Over (or other pressure sensitive temporary adhesive) to the back of each unmounted stamp. This is the same process you would use if you were preparing purchased unmounted stamps for use with an acrylic block. The adhesive doesn't have to cover every bit of the stamp, but it should be applied with even pressure so that you don't end up with one end higher than the other, or a center that won't stamp evenly.

(Tack It can be purchased at Joanns or Michaels, or anywhere else that Aleene's products are sold.)

Tack It applied
(Stamps here are set out to dry and you can see that the adhesive has already started to set on the first couple of stamps. Tack It sets clear.)

Step 3:

Let the Tack It dry/set over night. When it is ready to use, it will be clear. If you try to use the stamps before the Tack It has set, you will end up with a gross, sticky mess and will probably ruin your acrylic block and have to start the Tack It process over again for that stamp. Trust me. It's not fun.

Dried / Set Tack It
(You can see that the Tack It is clear now, instead of white. It dries kind of shiny and should stick to your finger if you push your finger onto it. If it doesn't, you may not have applied enough. Try it on the block to see if it sticks.)

Step 4:

Apply the stamp to an acrylic block and stamp away! Because the block is clear you should be able to see exactly where you're stamping. It makes for straight letters/words and easier placement.

Stamp mounted on acrylic block

Have fun!! I'll post another little tutorial on how to store these babies once I get the second phase of the project under way. First, though, I've got to get some more Tack It... I seem to have used all of mine up!


Angie said...

You are the smartest crafting person I know!

Jaime said...

Very helpful info! Thank you! I can't wait to see how you store them, too. Thanks for the tutorial. I might even do my wood-mounted stamps someday, too...

lauren said...

...YOU...are an organizational goddess! i do not think you have an "inner martha"...i think martha has an INNER ELIZABETH!!! :)

~Carla~ said...

I've unmounted all of mine too.. did this last year and haven't looked back!! Saves SO much room!!

Anonymous said...

SO PROUD OF YOU!! i unmounted most of my stamps about a year ago. i store them in CD cases and label the spines (regular cardstock run through my printer and then the strips trimmed from the cs are run through my xyron "X" to stick to the cd case). for my SU! stamps, i left the foam attached to the rubber. (did you know you can microwave your stamp - rubber side up - for 7 seconds and that should loosen the glue? if that's not long enough, do another 5 seconds at a time). and with the aleen's tack it over and over, i use one of those foam brushes to spread it on the rubber (it seems to make the ATIOAO last longer) - and it makes it easy to spread it evenly on the stamp). i kept my word stamps mounted (find them easier to use for card making events) and a few others (esp. background stamps). happy unmounting to you!!!! - tam

Amanda said...

Just found your blog and I love it and all your great and creative ideas!!! Thank you!