Saturday, 18 February 2017

The Medieval Rabbit Stamp and Misti arrives.

I scanned in one of the illustrations from a Dover book of Medieval Tile Designs and saved it as a JPEG file. The Silhouette software allows you to trace a JPEG  format picture and turn it into a cut file - there are some hints about tracing on the Silhouette School blog: and .
Well I played around with the trace settings and got what I wanted. All I had to do next was to set the design page and cut settings for the stamp material, load up the ol' mat and cut away.
 I carefully removed the cut out pieces and  arranged the stamp onto the larger of the stamp blocks that came with the stamp material starter set.  I saved all the inside bits and put them on another block, so I have one where you stamp the rabbit and one where the background is stamped and the rabbit is left uncoloured.

Misti to the rescue!

As before I had trouble getting a good stamped image. However I had heard of the Misti stamp tool by then, and decided to spend the money on it. There are bazillion videos showing you all the things you can do with a Misti on the  following forum -
Misti is just the thing for these stamps add it lets you stamp more than once with accurate alignment - you can just put more ink on and keep going until the image is what you want.
As the stamp material is thin the magnets can't really be used with it, you need to build up the base of the Misti to get the stamp to touch the paper or cardstock you wish to stamp onto. My one came with the "mouse pad"  - I recommend having that, it is a rectangle of foam with a wipe-clean top. I sticky-taped the paper to it to hold it very still. ( Why doesn't my spelling checker know that sticky-tape is a verb???). The stamp material being thin means you get a lot of stamp ink on the Misti or stamp block, unfortunately.

Tack n Peel
I then got some Tack n Peel, it is a sheet of soft plastic with reusable  adhesive on one side and permanent on the other. Most people put it on stamping blocks to get their rubber stamps to stick on them. I put it on one of my smaller stamp material stamps, permanent side on the stamp and used the tacky side to hold the stamp onto the Misti. So the stamp is thicker and the ink pad doesn't brush against the Misti when I ink the stamp.

Thursday, 10 March 2016

care of the Silhouette stamp blocks - don't make this mistake

I put a stamp on a stamp block that came with the Silhouette stamping starter kit - on the side with the white guide lines. When I cleaned the stamp and block with Isocol it started taking the Silhouette logo and lines off!! I pulled the stamp off and cleaned it separately and cleaned the rest of the block very carefully. Next time I will use the other side.
 Isocol, an alcohol antiseptic, makes a great stamp cleaner and is cheaper than buying special stamp cleaner in little bottles. It even cleans up STAZON.  And you can get it at supermarkets.

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

my opinions on how to use the Silhouette stamp material stamps and a small dig at Kaisercraft

Kaisercraft small block with handle
 the same one inked and pressed onto paper
Only a small dig at Kaisercraft. I have heaps of their paper and three sets of the alterable drawers plus a wooden album shaped like a train. All great stuff.

Anyway I have a set of stamp tools from them - three clear plastic blocks and a removable turquoise handle.  They seemed not to make a good stamped impression, so I put some ink on the small one and pressed it onto paper without a stamp attached - see the picture. The grid lines wouldn't show up if you had a stamp there, well not too much, but the white oval around the handle area and the white square in the middle are showing that the pressure is not distributed evenly over the stamp.

As to how to use the stamps, well I think the trick is to press down hard when stamping. Very hard. The usual advice is not to stamp too hard as you get a blurred image if your stamp has fine lines. Well with the Silhouette-machine produced stamps  there aren't any fine lines and the stamp surface is flat. I found holding the block on the corners, then putting my thumb in the middle seemed to get the best result. To get an even more solid impression, reinking the stamp and stamping it again over the top of the first image can work.

But what if I want fine lines I hear you ask. Well the Silhouette Portrait or Cameo can hold a pen - no need to mess around with stamps.  See

In the next post I will show how I made a stamp from a medieval tile design.

Monday, 22 February 2016

How not to treat your Silhouette stamp mat.

Today we have a lesson in how not to treat the stamp cutting mat.
I was concerned that the previous cuts had gone off the edge of the material sometimes. I got the "brilliant" idea to cut a piece of cardstock the same size as the stamp material and to cut that as a test before using the stamp material again. That is, with the stamp material design page setting but cardstock cut settings.

Well I did that and measured it up. My Silhouette Portrait machine cuts 7mm further to the left than it should. I can allow for that when laying out the cuts in future. Exactly why I don't know, maybe a software bug? I would be interested to here if others have the same problem...

But when I wanted to remove the card from the mat there was trouble, the card tore into layers instead of peeling off.  The mat adhesive was too strong. I worked at it for a while then decided I would have to replace the mat. Scraping too hard just removed the layer of adhesive from the mat.  My DH suggested soaking the paper off in warm water, as I was resigned to losing the mat anyway I tried it. My childhood stamp collecting experience came in useful here. Yes I am that old. Well the mess came off easily in warm water. And when the mat dried off it still worked!  Not perfectly, I think, because I had damaged the adhesive -  I cut a full sheet of flower shapes and one petal didn't cut right.  Also a couple of small bits of material came off during cutting, they seem to have fouled the blade because half of the flower they came out of wasn't cut. Looks like I will get that replacement mat. In the meantime I will try increasing the cut depth a teensy bit.

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Silhouette Stamp Material and Candles

I trid a technique from a magazine, where you build up layers of UTEE (Ultra-Thick Embossing Enamel) and then stamp in it while it is hot.  The magazine suggested not using a clear stamp because it could melt.  Well the stamp material stamp worked fine, and didn't melt, I stamped so deeply it came off the block and I had to peel it out of the UTEE. The effect was a bit disappointing and won't  show up in a photo very well.
I think the stamp material is pretty heat resistant so I decided to try it out with molten candle wax. Now if you search the internet for stamping or embossing on candles, you get info on how to attach bits of stamped tissue paper onto candles. Who knows what chemicals are in the smoke if it burns down to the paper?
What I did was to melt a flat piece of candle with my craft heat gun and press the stamp into it. The stamp again came off the block but was easily peeled off. I got a deep impression as the wax came up through the holes in the design. So you can get a customised design on a candle without adding anything that might affect its safety. You can do this with bought stamps of course but it might be hard to clean any wax out of the indentations.
My next step will be to try attaching the stamp onto the inside of a metal candle mould and make a candle in the mould. If the stamp pieces come off the mould as the candle shrinks, it would work, I think.  The stamp material stamp will curve so I think it could be used in the inside of a soft drink can.  Its possible to cut open the can mould to get the candle out, especially if you use a thin cheap one.

more samples of Silhouette Stamp Material stamps with various stamp pads available in Australia

Brilliance stamped with an acrylic stamp
I also tried some other things.  Firstly Tsukineko Archival Brilliance Pigment Ink in the colourway Lightning Black This is a very attractive dark coloured ink with gold mica particles. Though I think of lightning as silver coloured more than gold...
Brilliance Pigment Ink stamped with the Stamp Material
Anyway it does not coat the stamp, but spread out fairly well when stamped on paper. As you see it isn't that great with the purchased clear stamp either.  Next I have an embossed sample, done with a Ranger Emboss IT Clear embossing ink pad and purple metallic  Zing! embossing powder purchased from Spotlight.  The Zing seems much less fine than embossing powder I have used in then past. I did not use an antistatic mat and my heat gun is not that great, it seems to blow pretty strongly.

Embossed with Zing
The yellow sample is  Fluid Chalk Ink Pad  Made in Taiwan from a Riot Art And Crafts shop. It stamps pretty well with the Silhouette material but it left a kind of faint halo around it on the paper, as though some oil from the stamp ink spread into the paper.  The same happened with a gray rubber stamp. I will try to get a better quality chalk ink.
Update: I got a different colour of the same ink and it didn't have that problem.
Riot Art and Craft Chalk Ink

Last we have  Tsukineko  Water Soluble Pigment Ink in Serenade.  I bought this years ago but it still works. By years ago I mean at least ten years, possibly many, many more.
old but still working Tsukineko Serenade

Friday, 22 January 2016

tests of Silhouette stamp material stamps with various stamp pads

wounded stamp
black ink from Starter Kit
I tested some small stamps with various stamp ink pads I had around.  When I cleaned them they tended to slide off the block. I haven't lost any yet but its something to be aware of. The stamps are about 3cm across and they came from the centres of a few flower cut files from the Silhouette Store.To the left is one that was affected by the alignment problem, I stopped the machine and moved the material. On the impression you can just see the tear. They are stamped onto ordinary printer paper using the supplied blocks or similar ones. You also see a normal clear stamp for comparison, chosen because the reindeer body is a reasonably sized flat inked area. The Ranger Tim Hotz Distress ink is, well, distressed all right. The ink was in spots on the stamp but spread into the paper a bit. The Sharpie, as you see, did not spread into the paper. I suppose it could be measles on a get well card! The Versacolor pigment cube didn't come out too badly.
*** Update - the Sharpie was a bad idea - the stamp kept some red colour which then came off on my embossing ink pad.

brand new Versacolor cube
red Sharpie marker
Distress ink pine