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

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

The flower on the box of the Silhouette Stamping Starter Kit

I made the flower which features on the box. I didn't resize it - it came out larger than the largest acrylic block supplied with the kit. As mentioned it went off the edge of the stamp material as well, you can see the missing bit on the top right-hand corner. The stamp has some of the black ink left on it so you can see it. there is actually another stamp on the back of the block in the picture but it barely shows up. The flower stamp is in one piece but the one on the back is in many small bits so I didn't want to remove it just yet.

Monday, 18 January 2016

making a stamp with Silhouette's stamp material on my Silhouette Portrait machine

 I have a Silhouette Portrait cutting machine and the Silhouette Stamping Starter Kit.  I couldn't fine much info on what stamp pads work best with it, so I decided to try some out. Do not confuse this with the Silhouette Mint stamp making machine and its materials, I don't have one of those.
First a few words about the stamp material.  It is a sort soft flexible plasticy stuff, possibly silicone. Its a bit like the stuff silicone baby bottle teats used to be made of. It is a bit like the stuff clear acrylic stamps are made off, but it is much softer and not quite as clear.

Anyway, there is a tutorial on how to use it here at the Silhouette School blog, so I'm not going to present one here.  The comments are worth reading too.

 Silhouette recommend that cuts in the stamp material are 1/16 of an inch apart, that is about 1.5mm here in Australia. So much craft information is from the US that its hard to use metric for everything as I would like to.  This width means you can't do small writing or anything like that.

I decided to make the flower that's on the box of the Starter Kit first. The box  has a somewhat misleading picture on it, I mean the inked-up black flower on the grid on the left. The one to the right is a better indication of what the stamp is like.
I made the flower but there was some problem with alignment and one side of the flower was not cut. When I find out why I will post the information here.

I found the stamped image a bit disappointing, that led me to do some experiments and gave me something to blog about.