Thursday, August 25, 2011

Pet Sympathy and Tips on Stamping Solid Block Stamps

Some people are not pet people. When my husband's boss--a perfectly nice person in all other respects--found out we had to pay big bucks to get Daisy's knees fixed, he asked why we didn't just get another dog.

Like I said, some people are not pet people. This card is not for those people. In fact, it's for my aunt and uncle, two pet people if there ever were any, who recently had to put two elderly dogs to sleep within two weeks of each other.


For those of you who have followed my other blog for a while, you know how devastated we were when our golden retriever Hoover passed away from cancer last year. I remember how comforting it was to receive cards from so many of you, and even though I've sent pet sympathy cards before, this time I truly know how comforting and appreciated they can be.

These stamps are from a mini set from Papertrey Ink. That single paw print says it all, I think.

Stamping Solid Block Stamps

Several people have asked how I got such a good image of the silhouette stamps from Hero Arts' Greatest Gift set on yesterday's card. Here are some tips for getting good images with solid stamps.

1. Experiment when the stamps are new. Sometimes, clear and rubber stamps have a residue on their surface that makes even thicker inks like Memento bead on their surface. A simple white eraser can remove the residue and make the surface accept the ink better. Rub vigorously with the white eraser; then clean the stamp well. Rubber stamps generally will work nicely with any quality-brand ink after conditioning.

2. On the other hand, some inks just won't work well with clear stamps, no matter how you condition the stamp. Clear stamps work best with thicker inks: Brilliance, VersaColor, VersaMagic, VersaFine, Colorbox pigment, and SU craft ink all work well with clear stamps, although I don't like the blacks for any of those brands. (My favorite blacks are Palette noir and Memento tuxedo black. The Palette stains, though, which isn't a problem for me but some people don't like that. Lots of people like VersaFine black as well, but it has not become my go-to black.)

3. If you're having trouble with SU classic ink beading on stamps, ink the stamp in VersaMark ink (which is clear) and then SU ink. It works great!

4. If you stamp a block image in black ink, and it's blotchy, you can take a black marker and fill it in. I had to do that with the shepherds on the left of this card because I didn't condition the stamp before using it, and as that was the last thing I stamped on that scene, I was pretty miffed at myself for not having checked the stamp first. But I pulled out a black marker, filled in the blotches, and no one is the wiser.

Or no one was.

Until I just told the entire internet.

This filling-in tip hasn't worked with other colors, even when I have the matching brand marker. Not sure why, but for me the corrected image always looks doctored in any color other than black.

5. Don't underestimate the ickiness of a poorly inked pad. If you're not getting good results, the problem may very well be the pad. Pads can be over-inked or under-inked, either of which can cause problems. If a pad is over-inked, take a clean paper towel (Bounty is best because it doesn't leave lint) and blot the pad until it works well. If the pad is under-inked, either buy a reinker and add ink, or buy a new pad.

6. If you're still having issues, the problem may be the paper. Which leads me to harp on the fact that buying quality paper is critical if you want to make quality cards. The cheap stuff from Michael's or Hobby Lobby or JoAnn's is, well, cheap. There are LOTS of high-quality cardstocks out there, and if you want to know my preferences, I'll be adding my findings to my Favorite Products tab in the next week or two.

And that's all I know about stamping solid block images.

BTW, I thought I'd already posted my musings on paper on the Favorite Products tab, but apparently not. Where is my head? I've forgotten where I put it. Anyway, I did a search and found an old post from 2009 on cardstock that is out of date for my paper-use habits, which have evolved a bit since then. I have some to add to the list, so don't take that old post as the Cardstock Policy According to LateBlossom.

I don't have a Cardstock Policy unless is it to try what looks good, keep what does, and collect as much as possible before I die so I win.

I imagine a lot of you can relate.

Also, thank you all for your comments on my question about holiday stamps. It was a very interesting discussion!

Sorry this post is so long.

Shutting up now. 

stamps: Papertrey Ink
paper: PTI kraft and white, SU chocolate chip
ink: Memento 
accessories: dimensionals


  1. So sorry to hear about your aunt and uncle's's amazing how those furry critters worm their way into your heart.

    I had to LOL re: the black marker as I do that too! I even use a fine-line marker when some of the script doesn't stamp evenly sometimes. Great tips :)

  2. What a beautiful pet sympathy card. I'm a cat and a dog person, but we don't have animals because my hubby is allergic. I know what you mean about filling in with markers - that never works for me. I've had trouble with inks and some acrylic stamps. With some I can't get the eraser trick to work. I've found Memento inks work well. I will try using Versamark - never tried it before. And I'm looking forward to your posts about paper. I really need some good quality white for stamping and coloring. Thanks for all your lessons and instructions.

  3. OMG, you sound like me (not always a good thing, by the way.) I laughed out loud about the "buy all you can so you win when you die". Spoken like a true hoarder.

    I agree whole-heartedly that quality card stock is worth every penny. And I can't even fill in with the black marker - it always seems to show. I either re-stamp it or embellish the boo-boo to make it look like I meant to do that.

  4. Perfect card for the occasion. Agree with all of the above, I have taken to doing all of my solid stamping of clear stamps with SU inks on SU card, (I haven't tried X-press It yet), as the others go blotchy for me. Outlines aren't a problem. But I am going to try the Versamark trick, thanks for that.

  5. such a simple and perfect card! it will be appreciated!!

  6. Love that pet card, and I don't even have a pet. Thanks for all the ink tips, particularly #3. I've never tried that, never even heard of it, so I'll certainly be experimenting with that! I'm already a believer on the CS --- you can't get good results with inferior CS. It's worth it to get good stuff. But I'm trying not to collect so much (thanks for the huge laugh)!

  7. What a lovely card. I didn't think I needed pet stamps. . . but it appears I do! I do send pet sympathy cards, but I use other images; I'm thinking the paw print is perfect!
    Thanks for the discussion on stamping solid images and the qualities of different inks. I recently discovered Memento Tuxedo Black, and I'm thrilled (it solved most of my "black" problems). I'm looking forward to the discussion on paper.

  8. A beautiful card that I'm sure will bless your aunt and uncle. So sorry for their loss.
    Thank you too for all your recommendations on inking solid images and all the stuff that flowed from there. I'll have to try the tip for the SU stamps. I had noticed the beading, but just adapted around it, mostly by avoiding. But no longer. Thank you.

  9. Great post!!! Even though John and I do not have a pet, we love animals and I could not even begin to imagine getting rid of a pet and getting another just because my pet had to have some medical attention. Pets are family. Thank you so much for the tip about stamping on VersaMark first and then on a stamp pad - genius! I'll try that. Because sometimes even if I erase my stamps, they still bead up. It just happened yesterday on a card I'm putting on my blog today. I have done the "fill in the spot" thing with a black pen, too. Sometimes that works fine. Oh yeah, and I love your card.

  10. I feel for your aunt and uncle. How hard to lose two so quickly. I had to put one of my girl's down on the 5th of August - so it's still pretty raw for me. I too received some sympathy cards from blogging friends. Thought I'd show you the link:

    I enjoy your posts and read them everytime....I just don't 'visit' a ton. Thanks for inspiring me daily!!

  11. Lovely card even if it's for a sad occasion. As long as the memories bring some smiles too.
    And thanks for the tip about conditioning with an eraser!

  12. Indeed I am one of those 'not pet people'. I would never make a card like this but I'm sure they will love the words on your card.

  13. Thank you for the ink tutorial. Despite the fact that I live in Utah where a large number of manufacturer are located, we don't have many scrapbook stores, even fewer that carry stamps and none that offer technical classes with ink. Now, to print this post out to try out some of your advice. Provided I remembered you gave it, that I printed it out and where I put it.

  14. What a perfect pet sympathy card! My heart goes out to your aunt and uncle - how sad to lose both dogs within two weeks. The story of your husband's boss reminds me of a woman I used to work with who asked how much a surgery on my dog cost and when I told her, she said she'd have just had the dog put down. Luckily she didn't own a dog.

    Thanks for all the hints on using solid images - I often have trouble with them.

  15. We were looking at a job in another state and we were concerned about bringing our dog. The epresentative for the compnay asked "Can't you find someone to give her to?" Clearly not a pet person! And when she died, this card would have meant a lot!


  17. A perfect card for your aunt and uncle. And I second your observation that the right cardstock can make all the difference between a blotchy solid inking and a, well, solid one.

  18. Wholeheartedly agree with your tips Susan. Another couple of things that have helped me with solid images/new stamps especially new clear stamps is to ink up and stamp off onto scratch paper several times and that seems to stop beading on clear stamps. With solid images I find putting a wad of paper or foam under my cardstock also helps as does standing up to stamp to get more even pressure :)

    Love the card and I would be in flood of tears if I received one like that. We are very much pet people here and dreading the day when our old girl goes to sleep for the last time.


Thank you so much for taking time to comment!