I'm launching a new educational series called Stamping 101. OKay, I know, it's not very original. But it is descriptive: Periodically I will write short articles about the basics of rubber stamping and how to use the tools that are available to us. The first one was the use of Stamping Wheels, which you can see by clicking here. I'll keep 'em coming, and you'll be able to find them all by selecting the "Stamping 101" category.
So, what's today's lesson? The use of a stamp positioner, which Stampin' Up! calls the Stamp-a-ma-jig. It's a simple and indispensable tool for placing images exactly where you want them to be. WIth traditional rubber stamps, both the rubber and the wood mount get in the way of seeing exactly where the image will land on your artwork. And if you mount your own stamps, as with Stampin' Up!, no matter how hard you try, it is really difficult to assure that the rubber is perfectly aligned with the index (the picture) on the other side of the wood mount. The Stamp-a-ma-jig gets around these issues and allows you to place your images exactly where you want them.
The Stamp-a-ma-jig a simple two piece tool: a plastic handle positioner, and an "image sheet" of translucent plastic. See the picture below. (I put a black cutting mat behind the tools to try to get them to photograph a little better.)
The first step is to place the image sheet in the corner of the black postioner.
Ink up your stamp and place it in the same corner of the black positioner, stamping the image on the plastic sheet.
Now, take the plastic sheet and place it over the artwork. Since you can see through the plastic, you can see exactly where the new stamped image is going to land. Play with it until the image is exactly where you want it.
Holding the sheet and your artwork steady, place the black positioner handle on the same corner of the image sheet that you originally used to stamp the image.
Hold the black handle in place, and remove the image sheet. Be careful that you don't move the artwork underneath! If you do, then take a few seconds to repeat the last two steps. Re-ink your stamp, place it in the corner of the black positioner, and stamp your image with confidence!
Voila! A perfectly placed image!
You can repeat with the steps with the same image on the image sheet (if, for example, you are making lots of holiday cards). Or you can easily wipe the image off the image sheet, and be ready for the next placement.
Once you've used the Stamp-a-ma-jig a couple of times, you'll find it quick and easy. I've come to rely on mine in all kinds of situations. Two-step stamping is an obvious one, where you want to precisely line up the two images for the best results. But I also find it helpful to stamp words and sentiments, assuring that the straight lines of the words are parallel with the edges of your card or other pieces in the artwork. And it's really helpful when you are using masking, and want to carefully place each subsequent image.
Things to remember:
Make sure the image sheet is tucked squarely into the corner of the black positioner. Otherwise, you are losing the advantage of the rigid corner, which is what lines everything up.
Similarly, make sure your stamp is tucked into the corner of the black positioner, when stamping on both the image sheet and on your artwork.
If you are adding 3-D embellishments to your art, you want to think about the order of application. Some embellishments can get in the way of the black positioner, and you lose your advantage. Use the positioner before applying embellishements whenever possible.
The ink will not dry quickly on the image sheet. So be careful when handling it so you don't smudge your image and get ink on your fingers that can ruin your artwork.
The Stamp-a-ma-jig retails for $11.95 with Stampin' Up!. It's a great investment. Keep it handy at your stamping' station, and you'll find yourself reaching for it over and over and over and over again!!