I've expressed my difficulties with Papertrey's Framed set before. Getting a good impression was tough, and I ended up wasting a lot of cardstock trying to make it work. Grrr. I snooped around online looking for solutions, and one that came up repeatedly was using a giant gridded block. Well, my gridded block wasn't quite large enough, so I used a coupon and bought Martha Stewart's large block at Michael's.
This particular block comes with a detatched handle thingy. Not sure what it's supposed to be used for. It would not be good for stamping small stamps because you'd have a hard time seeing where to place it through the handle, and if it's supposed to be attached to the big block, well, I like my blocks simple. A handle will just get in the way.
Whatever. The giant gridded acrylic block is DA BOMB and is truly necessary for getting good impressions with the Framed stamps. If you buy the Framed set, definitely budget for a big grid block. I was getting good impressions about 50% of the time with my old, non-grid block. With the new grid block, I'm stamping about 90% good images. THAT is a number I can live with.
Mount the frame onto the gridded block as shown. Leave more lines at the top so you can align it properly over the card to stamp. Once the stamp is stuck, turn the block over and press the trapped air out from under the center flashing (the part of the stamp that doesn't stamp) to minimize ink transfer where you don't want it.
Ink the stamp. I use Memento inks in the dewdrop pads for better ink control. When I get ink on the flashing, I use my finger to wipe it off before stamping.
Holding the block above the cardstock, center the image so the grid is evenly spaced between the top and sides of the cardstock. Lower the grid to the paper as evenly as possible, press firmly straight down, and lift straight up from the cardstock.
Note: I always stamp clear stamps on a large stamping pad I bought at JoAnn's years ago. I get much better impressions when using this pad. Also, I use a post-it note to hold the card closed. PTI's cardstock doesn't want to lie flat on the fold, and with it sticking up, you'll get smudges. Mark's Finest Snow Storm heavy cardstock does a better job of lying flat when scored and folded and the crease burnished.
And that's it! Getting the right tool to stamp this big frame has made all the difference. Here are a few finished cards I made to give you a feel for the set.
First, use the rectangle frame on a portrait-oriented card with the sentiment sticking out. The strong vertical of the flowers and frame is balanced nicely by the strong horizontal sentiment. The flower is from StampinUp's Stem Silhouettes and the sentiment is from PTI's Signature Greetings.
Here's the same idea with the square frame on a landscape-oriented card. The flower silhouettes are from Clear and Simple Stamps, and the sentiment is from PTI's Signature Greetings.
Next, I stayed entirely in the frame with a simple winter scene. The trees are from PTI's Masculine Motifs, the bird is from Through the Trees, and the sentiment is from Faux Ribbon.
And finally, my favorite card I've made with this set. The butterflies (Martha Stewart punches) are punched from light blue vellum, the branch is from PTI's Out on a Limb, and the sentiment is from Clear and Simple Stamps limited edition Thank You set. The bling is olive from Hero Arts. Don't be afraid to stray outside the box just like my wandering little butterfly!