Sunday, January 7, 2018

Why We Need to Condition Some Photopolymer Stamps

So I'll show you the POST-conditioning card first, since many of you don't scroll down, and I don't want anyone to think I'd post the PRE-conditioning card as my card for the's that bad. For directions on conditioning stamps, please scroll to the bottom.

So here's what conditioned stamps look like when stamped.

Aren't they pretty? Perfect images! Those inks are a combination of Hero Arts and Archival dye inks, and the colors look so pretty and autumnal.

BTW, this is a birthday card for a male relative with a fall birthday. I've actually finished all the birthday cards for my family for 2018. Yay, me!

So for those of you new to stamping or perhaps not familiar with photopolymer stamps, there's a highly annoying fact about them. The manufacturing process often leaves a residue on them that repels ink, causing it to bead up on the stamp and gives a very, very icky impression, especially on solid, block-style stamps like these leaves. In fact, the impressions will look like this:

At first, I thought, "Well, perhaps this card will just look distressed and perhaps more masculine."

But if you have to use "perhaps" twice in one sentence, the odds are against you. It just looks poorly stamped.

Other than the green leaf and the veins on the pumpkin pie leaf, I left all colors the same on my "good" version of the card. The green on the original was too dark, so I lightened it up for the final card. And the terra cotta veins didn't provide enough contrast with the pumpkin so I switched to coffee.

I'm making a substandard card worked to my advantage here because it allowed me to fix the colors. So yay, again!

Now, this set (Leave It Be) from Papertrey is lovely, with a coordinating die set. The dies aren't open dies, so I cut first, then stamped. I prefer open dies, which can be stamped first, then cut. But whatever. The final card made my CAS-lovin' heart go pitter patter. And I know I'll be making more cards for fall with this set.

How to Condition Photopolymer Stamps

To remove the residue from photopolymer stamps, follow these simple steps.

1. Take a white eraser and rub the stamps as hard as you can.

2. Wipe the stamps on a damp cloth to brush off as much of the eraser residue as you can.

3. Clean the stamps with a good stamp cleaner, like Hero Arts ultra clean. That will remove everything.

4. Ink and stamp happy!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Papertrey Leave It Be, Birthday Basics
ink: Hero Arts butter bar, soft apricot, just rust, forever green; Archival coffee, sienna, fern green; Papertrey terra cotta tile
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: coordinating dies, glue, dimensionals


  1. Love the colours and card. You can also get around this problem by inking up with Versamark then your ink colour

  2. And what a difference conditioning made to these stamps - fab design and colours


  3. Thank you, Susan, for this tip. What I've done, and I'm not sure it's the best, is to mount a photopolymer stamp on a clear block and then rub the dickens out of it on a piece of thin cardboard that I use as a desk protector. My concern is that cardboard might be too hard on the stamp since it's made from wood as is paper. I don't seem to notice any damage to the stamp.

  4. Had to laugh at your first comment about people not scrolling down! Really? I always read to the end...your comments are usually humorous and insightful and you do have an interesting outlook on things! So why don't some scroll down....they're missing out! On the polymer issue, it has driven me nuts over the years. I've erased, sanded and versamarked, usualy with ok results. However, I got out some of my older real rubber stamps the other days and was blown away at the quality of the results. Totally had forgotten how beautifully the results are. Now if they'd only work easily in my MISTI.....

  5. Great card and a great tip! I usually brush all rubber stamps with a toothbrush to remove little pieces of rubber and backing, so why now add this technique to my arsenal as I strive for the perfect impression with polymer stamps, Jo x

  6. Love your perky card and thanks as usual for the wonderful detailed instructions and meditation.

  7. I'm a good girl and always scroll down. Your comment did make me grin. A fab card and great advice x

  8. I find that some stamps need more conditioning than others. And that can really drive me crazy. Congratulations of being ahead of the game with birthday cards. I haven't yet started my January ones. I really should follow your example and make them all. Thanks for motivating me. Happy New Year!

  9. Thank you for featuring this great stamp set. Love your layout of the leaves. I've been needing some inspiration for this particular stamp and die set.


Thank you so much for taking time to comment!