Thursday, January 8, 2009

Coloring onto stamps, part 1 - Watercolor look

I know many stampers out there wonder if they can color directly onto their stamps with Copic Markers. Can you do it? will it work? will it ruin your stamp? My answer is, YES you can color directly onto your stamp, and here's how.

Coloring onto stamps with Copics, Fake Watercolor Look-
First of all, I want you to know that years ago, when we first heard that stampers were using Copic markers this is what we thought they were doing with them- coloring onto their stamps and stamping things. NOT stamping things then coloring them in. So I would color onto my stamps and then stamp with them to get some neat colored images. Then someone told me that this was bad for my stamps, so I stopped admitting that I did this, then someone else said it was OK on your stamps, so then everything was OK.

One of the challenges of working with Copics directly onto rubber is that the alcohol in the ink evaporates too quickly to color then stamp with. That ink is not going to be affected by water like traditional stamp inks would be, so if you breathe, or "huff" on it to re-wet the ink, it just won't work. So how do we get the ink damp to stamp?

You'll see in my photo I have a Mist-It by Inspired Crafts. I have mine filled with Copic Colorless blender solution, NOT water. I simply color onto the stamp with whatever colors I want to use (in this case I used R59, R29, and YG99). I gently misted the stamp and then stamped my image. Now it looks like I watercolored the picture, but it's all Copics.

Note: Rubbing alcohol will work for this technique, however on some colors it alters the dye and changes the fianl color, so test it first.

This is a serendipity kind of effect, since too much mist and the image gets all blobby, too little mist and the paper doesn't pick up the ink evenly. I had to stamp about 5 or 6 times to get this one to look the way I wanted it to. Also, this works best on solid-area stamps, like the Flourishes Spring Ephemerals stamp that you see here.

Will it ruin my stamp?
This is where people start debating. Alcohol can be harsh on rubber- it dries it out and makes it brittle. My answer is that if you clean your stamp after each use it won't be a problem. Solvent based inks like StazOn or using your stamps with bleach are just as bad for them. That being said, many people won't use their stamps with solvents or with Bleach since those can be hard on your stamps. Gina K. posted this technique shortly after taking the Copic Certification class, where we covered this technique, so read this tutorial and it's comments on SplitcoastStampers if you want more details. Like I mentioned, I have some stamps that are 4 or 5 years old that I had been doing this to, and they are fine. To clean them, just mist them again to get the final residue off, then use a regular stamp cleaner with a stamp conditioner in it if you are concerned.

Here is the final card I made with this technique. The darker green paper was actually more of an olive colored paper by Prism and I colored over both it and the plain ribbon with the darker green, G28. Then I added dabs and drips of colorless blender over the colored areas to really weather it out. The textured brown paper is also from Prism, I lightly colored it with E31 to bring out the texture then "watercolored" E37 onto it for the darker blotches.


Nicole said...

HI Marianne, long time! Sorry I have been incognito! FINALLY getting back to normal now that the holiday SALES are over and am re-organize and re-prioritizing my life!

I wondered if this did harm the rubber ORRR acrylic stamps, does it harm either? Love this look!!

marianne walker said...

Gina K. has assured me that it doesn't, so I'm going to go with her on this one. Follow the link in the post for her discussion.

Marja Sch said...

Thanks for telling us about this techniek. I did not know you could do this. I will suurly try it. Hugs Marja

Anonymous said...

Love this, it's beautiful!

Lori aka Lo Lo said...

Beautiful card! Where did you purchase the wooden stand? What size is it? I would like to get one to display my cards.


marianne walker said...

I got the wooden stand at a craft store for a couple dollars. I can't remember where though.

Gina K. said...

Your card is beautiful. And it's true, my stamps are just fine and I do this all the time!! Of course, I've only ever used rubber stamps- I haven't tried it on clear so I'll look to you for that opinion. Your tutorials are always so fabulous! Thanks for all the great inspiration.

Nicole said...

THANKS, Marianne and Gina! The stand is in the framing dept! I bought a similar one at Michaels.

HUGS, I hope to see you in Louisville, Ms. Marianne!

marianne walker said...

This was my first attempt on clear, so I don't know how the stamp will hold up in the long run. It's permanently stained, but clear stamps stain easier than rubber anyways, so I don't know...

Nancy Ward said...


Today I posted an entry on my blog with a link to this tutorial.

Would you let me know if that'ws OK?


Nancy ward

Unknown said...

I realize that nothing is fair but I'm still trying. I just want to do my best and what is possible