Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Sympathy Cards and Troubleshooting Malfunctioning Stamps

Recently I needed several sympathy cards and had once again run out. As I've repeatedly stated here, my rule with sympathy cards is "the simpler, the better."

The color scheme was inspired by this pin of greys and blues.

I thought about adding a third butterfly, but visual triangles will not be forced, and besides, we can think of this as the "missing man" formation from aerial flyovers. BTW, those always break my Air-Force-loving heart.

Also, a reader recently asked me for advice with a solid stamp image that wasn't stamping well for her. This is a common problem, so I thought I'd share my advice to her here.

1.       Take a white eraser and rub the stamp pretty hard to remove residue from the manufacturing process. Then clean the stamp thoroughly and see if it takes ink better. This usually works.

2.      Switch the acrylic block mount. I have one acrylic block that seems to have a bit of a dip on one side, so if a solid stamp like a whale or elephant won’t stamp cleanly, I flip the block over to the other side, which seems flatter, or I use another acrylic block entirely. Minor variations in the surface of the block might not cause problems with outline stamps but can really mess up solid images!

3.       Look at the table surface you’re stamping on. Is it entirely flat? I use a large stamping mat (thick foam) I bought at JoAnn’s years ago to put under the paper, but you could use a firm mouse pad or phone book and get the same results.

4.       If you try all these things and the stamp still won’t work, it may be defective. Contact the manufacturer and explain the situation, all the things you’ve done to fix it, and see what they do. In my experience, companies generally do want to make it right.

So there you are. Step by step troubleshooting for solid stamps that won't give a good impression. I'll add that if you're having trouble stamping a large solid background stamp, standing on it is often the best way to get a good impression.

By the way, the reader's problem was with a Clearly Besotted stamp. She did contact the company, which sent her a replacement stamp. High five to Clearly Besotted!

stamps: Papertrey Beautiful Butterflies
ink: Memento Luxe espresso truffle, Hero Arts pool and soft granite
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: none


  1. Ohhhh! This is lovely. Perfect for its intended use

  2. A lovely card and sure to be uplifting to the recipient

    Thanks for reaffirming the above tips too .... though some company's are more churlish about replacing defective stamps, as a friend of mine found out recently. Neither she nor I will ever use that manufacturer again.


  3. I dearly love your card-making style, your wonderful wit, and all the knowledge you share with your readers. This is a lovely card. It conveys the sentiment so perfectly.
    Another suggestion for the difficult stamps is the MISTI. I've been stamping for many decades now and thought I'd never need this contraption. But it will change your life. I've had stamps I've considered tossing because I could never get a good impression. Now I can stamp perfectly with any stamp I own. (not affiliated, just a VERY happy customer.)

  4. Great advice as usual...I agree...sympathy cards should be very clean and simple.
    hugs mf.


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