lesson 9

UNFOLD 101

THE TECHNIQUE IS: 

STAMPING

 

Like collage and painting, stamping is another avenue to creating interesting layers on your journal pages. Don't worry about if you're doing it "right"...just get in there and try things out. Experiment and explore the different effects you can come up with when you combine something textured with paint or ink. 

BACKGROUNDS

PATTERN, VISUAL TEXTURE, INTEREST, INFORMATION, HIDING, COVERING

Creating backgrounds with stamps is super fun. You can take any kind of stamps at all to do this. Some stamps are background stamps and are patterns designed to be used as visual texture (you can think of them as visual white noise). Try stamping them all over a page, then painting a bit over them, then stamping them some more. Some stamps are images. You can repeat an image over and over on a page and create a background layer that way. Try stamping an image upside down and rightside up to create your pattern. Or leave a blank spot in a page covered with an image. That adds interest. Some stamps are letters. (I, admittedly am a bit obsessed with alphabet stamps and have waaaaay too many to choose from. Not that that's a bad thing!) Anyways, you can use letter stamps to create a background too, the same as you would with an image stamp. Just stamp away. Remember, there are NO rules! 

HERE ARE SOME OPTIONS:

Stamp with found objects/surfaces: Use bubble wrap, scrunched up paper towels, old sweaters, corrugated cardboard, things from the hardware store, kitchen utensils, body parts, etc. Use your imagination and share it with us in the Flickr discussion board!

Foam stamps + Paint: You can find foam stamps at thrift stores, art supply stores, online, and home decor stores as well. Foam stamps are great to use with paint. The paint likes to cling to them and makes great impressions. To apply paint to a foam stamp, spread paint out on a palette and with a foam brush, brush an even coat over the stamp. Avoid thick, wet, and/or gloppy paint (this will make for messy impressions). If the paint is overly thick, just stamp it off on a file folder first before applying to your page. To clean foam stamps used with paint: drop in water, scrub with a toothbrush, blot dry and you're done! NOTE: I don't recommend using foam stamps with ink pads because they are sponges and suck up the ink. It's a pain to clean them off. That being said, they certainly can be used with ink, just be aware of the clean up issue.

Rubber stamps + Ink pads: The thing about rubber stamps is that you can get much finer imagery. The depth of detail is greater with rubber than foam. I prefer permanent ink pads because the ink will not wipe off when I use anything wet on it or near it, such as Mod Podge or paint. As you collect stamps, shop the sales, garage sales, and ask your friends. Many folks have collected rubber stamps and don't use them any more! Look for images that resonate with you and make good metaphors for journaling. In general, I avoid "cutesy" but that's a personal choice. Cleaning rubber stamps: I go over cleaning rubber stamps in the following video, but here are two more tips: 1. Make sure you clean your rubber stamps if you use them with more than one color of ink pad in a sitting. 2. Also, make sure you page is dry (paint or mod podge) before stamping with ink pads because the paint can get onto the pads and ruin them.

HERE ARE SOME EXAMPLES OF WAYS I'VE STAMPED ON MY PAGES TO CREATE BACKGROUNDS. CLICKING ON A PICTURE WILL ENLARGE IT. FEEL FREE TO ASK QUESTIONS ABOUT THEM IN OUR FACEBOOK GROUP.

Toilet paper rolls are easy to come by and make great circle stamps.

I used a rubber stamp that looks like frayed fabric to create this texture on a painted page.

A mixture of bubble wrap and corrugated cardboard created this background.

Layering of a swirly background stamp and a flower image stamp created this.

Bubble wraps (large and small) and foam stamps layered together to make this page.

Repeated butterfly stamps create a background pattern that led to journaling.

And here's a special bonus quick tutorial on making and using a foam block stamp!

IMAGERY

Stamps definitely lend themselves to adding imagery to your pages. I have a large collection of stamps that I've made myself and that I've bought that call out to be used with regularity on my pages. Some of my favorite images are feathers, wings, eyes, and keys. What are some of your favorite symbols? Look for them in stamps when you start collecting.

HERE ARE SOME EXAMPLES OF WAYS I'VE STAMPED ON MY PAGES TO ADD SYMBOLISM. CLICKING ON A PICTURE WILL ENLARGE IT. FEEL FREE TO ASK QUESTIONS ABOUT THEM IN OUR FACEBOOK GROUP.

I stamped with a set of butterfly stamps using first a blue ink pad and then green. I purposely offset the images to make them look slightly out of focus.

I used my feather stamp in two ways on this page: directly on the page and also on a piece of old book page which I then tore out and glued onto the page.

I created a compass rose stamp to use on this gratitude map page. I drew the shape on a sticky back Foamie sheet, cut it out and adhered it to a small block of wood.

I love to use my feather stamp that I created out of Speedball Speedy Carve. It's fairly large but works well with both paint and ink pads. And it's easy to clean.

Here I used large moth stamps to create wings for my "fairies." First I stamped them on paper. Then I colored them and cut them out and put them behind the "girls."

Look closely to see how I used skeleton bones/skull stamps with angel wings stamps. They are very faint, and lend an eerie quality to this page about death.)

Sometimes it's just fun to play with images on your pages!

The ginko leaf stamp and the crow stamp make interesting companions on this page already covered with the frayed fabric background stamp. Stamping images off the page creates a more dynamic composition. Same with uneven numbers (3 crows on one side, 2 on the other). 

LETTERS AND WORDS

I love using letters and words in my journal pages as both information (telling the story) and imagery or pattern. You will find more of my pages taken over by stamped words than images. 

HERE ARE SOME EXAMPLES OF WAYS I'VE STAMPED ON MY PAGES WITH WORDS. CLICKING ON A PICTURE WILL ENLARGE IT. FEEL FREE TO ASK QUESTIONS ABOUT THEM IN OUR FACEBOOK GROUP.

I used a mixed font foam alphabet + paint to create this statement across a whole page. I stamped particularly important words in two colors to help them pop out visually.

Here I used dry stamps on wet paint to remove the paint, thus the word "revelation" actually reveals the paint below the topmost layer.

Using a homemade YES stamp to create a background layer was fun. Should I use a handmade NO stamp on the facing page?

Using a very large stamp alphabet means the words don't always fit across the page. That's okay with me. I just continue on the next line. That helps it to feel more like a "wallpaper" of words rather than a title.

I stamped the words sideways on this page, adding to the geometry of the layout. Look for the image on the righthand side (a tushie) to understand more fully.

Very large capital letters turn the background of this page into both title and pattern. Following the shape of the image helps create an interesting composition.