Saturday, August 27, 2016

The Definition of Insanity, and Ink Issues Meet Crowd Sourcing

Y'all may have heard that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Well, by that definition, I'm bat-guano crazy. Why do I keep buying layering stamps? Seriously?!?!? This time, results were slightly more satisfying than in the past, but basically, I'm not teachable.

Here's my first card with Hero Arts Color Layers Seahorse set. There's so much to talk about here regarding product, but before we get off on my little whine-fest, please know that this layout was totally inspired by a card in the brand new Take Ten, page 27, by Shannon Slessman. Thank you, Shannon. Any and all failures of this card are mine alone. (But really, I love the idea and the layout!)

And before I get started, let me say that I know a MISTI would help with the layered stamping. I'm just not prepared to buy one for myself at this time. Perhaps for my birthday, along with a bunch of Ranger Archival ink. But we shall see.

The color layering of the seahorse and the other stamps in this set is somewhat easier than with other sets I've purchased, though as you can see from the close-up, it's not perfect. It is, however, good enough for government work. I practiced a lot before stamping this and found that stamping the middle layer first, then the light layer, and then the detail layer works best for me. The seahorse is also easier because it has an eye...which gives you a clear reference for the two darker layers.

The colors here are, from light to dark, Hero Arts tide pool, ocean, and deep ocean. Great combo!

Now, about deep ocean. This ink is from Hero's new hybrid ink line, and I'm not sold. The color is AWESOME, but the watercolor stripe above and below the focal-point panel was stamped with it, and as you can see, the image quality is appalling. It handled the details of the seahorse just fine, but on a large, solid block stamp, it's blotchy and uneven. And the stamp, from Papertrey's Watercolor Wonders, is a much used, well-seasoned stamp, so I doubt we can blame the stamp.

I have several colors of this hybrid ink (moss, green apple, tangerine, aquatic, and deep ocean), and they all do this. Very frustrating. So I got the idea today that it might be the paper. Papertrey white, which I use about 98% of the time. is porous and absorbent card stock. I tried to stamp deep ocean with the same stamp on Gina K's deluxe white, which is a coated card stock. The results were definitely better.

While not as even as one might hope, it's at least not blotchy and has good coverage of the paper. I imagine this hybrid ink would work great on coated paper with outline images or more finely detailed images. I need to put some time into exploring this. Any of you who've used the Hero Arts hybrids are encouraged to weigh in on this. Any and all help is very appreciated.

This points out one big issue with ink: individual results WILL vary. Ink performance depends on so many things...type of paper, amount of inking and pressure of stamping, humidity.

I'm going to do a post on some other inks that aren't working for me (trying to do a video post...not sure I'm cut out for video). Communication with manufacturers hasn't yielded any good ideas, so I'm going to throw it out there for you all. I KNOW I'm not the only person having problems with some of these inks, and I also know that there are people out there having good luck with them.

Perhaps we can bring these two groups together and troubleshoot the issues via this here blog o' mine.

This post has been a tad whiny, and I don't like that. There are much better things to whine about in the world...human trafficking, children going to bed hungry, war, genocide, racism...etc. Layered stamping, ink, and image quality rank pretty low on the list.

Speaking of which, my husband just told me that you can buy flamethrowers and napalm online. I'm filing this tidbit of knowledge under "Signs of the Coming Apocalypse."

So let's end on a happy note. Here's my haul of stamps from orders placed earlier this week. Because I love the smell of new photopolymer in the morning.

stamps: Hero Arts Color Layer Seahorse, Papertrey Watercolor Wonder
ink: Hero Arts
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: rhinestones


  1. Ok, my friend. Take a deep cleansing breath.
    And grab a glass of wine, too!
    This card is lovely, Susan. The sea horse layering is great, doesn't need to be "perfect" because it is art, and the slight variation gives a good organic feel. The ocean stamp seems the same, some variation makes it look organic and rather like a watercolor. The colors are great and the bling adds just a perfect extra special.
    As always, your cards are thoughtful, well planned and TERRIFIC!
    Thank you so much for sharing and inspiring me.

  2. Ahh the only thing to beat that smell is a bake dinner in the oven (right now). I am struggling with layer stamps so tend to try for a bit then put them aside and yes the ink layers can be so blotchy depending on paper used. Its all rather painful especially if you start your card and forget you shouldn't be using the one you got out. Or a bigger problem I am one pf those people who unpacks cuts and stores them all together so I dont knpw whats what when its time to use it.

  3. I made my own stamping tool with a cheap picture frame and it has revolutionised my day-to-day stamping, but as for the layered stamps, you still need to have a good idea of where to position them first - and, like you, I suck at it - I see everyone else doing it so easily and think it must just be me! I also have very varied results with different inks and haven't tried the hybrids yet, so am unable to help very much with those. I found that my best inks are the Versafine (but that range has a limited range of colours) and all pigment inks from any brand - the downside to those is they take ages to dry of course and are very opaque and sometimes you want translucent inks for effects. I LOVE your cards by-the-way, they are always inspiring! Have a wonderful Sunday! Hazel xx

  4. I love your card! The colors & layout are so eye-catching. And I'll say this as well, the layering stamps are not supposed to be perfect! While a MISTI is going to make lining up easier, it's going make lining them up perfect. I've had a very hard time letting go of my expectation of perfection when it comes to my "art". It's become much more important to just enjoy the process.

  5. I love the card and you did a great job stamping! You can make yourself a MISTI substitute for not quite as much here:
    Take a look, it is a viable option, especially for just front panels. ~chris

  6. The YouTube video, mentioned above is the BEST for making a substitute MISTI! I used it to make me one, and it opened up so many doors to layered stamps.....I kid you NOT! They had always been my nemesis, along with the blotchy ink.
    With the sub-Misti your can double stamp the solid images and they become a solid color......and layering becomes a snap.
    Now, I happen to really, really like your card, and blotch strips look more like water......(MHO) Your seahorse is fantastic.....don't be so hard on yourself

  7. As the others have mentioned, I believe the blotchiness (how's that for a word?) of the ocean is more realistic than if it were not blotchy. And I think the seahorse looks "mighty fine". Nice job!

  8. To me, doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results isn't the definition of "insanity"--it's the definition of "practicing."

    1. I'm so happy you agree! I've never understood why that definition gained so much currency.


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