Friday, February 26, 2010

Design Your Own Stamps for Precious Metal Clay Jewelry

Would you like to create your own original textures and design stamps for silver clay, copper clay, bronze clay, ceramic clay or polymer clay?  Here's a really quick way to make your very own original design stamps that no one else has --- without all the fuss of buying and making them using Photopolymer Kits.

Sure, there are Photopolymer kits that you can buy to make your own stamps.   But, I found them time-consuming, messy, expensive, and not always 100% foolproof.  You can also buy stamps and texture sheets from Rio Grande, Michaels, and a variety of other suppliers, but so can everyone else.  Do you want to see other Artists using the same designs as yours?  No?  OK then, if you want custom design stamps, all your own, quickly and economically, read on.

I found a custom stamp service that has proven to be more economical than making them myself.  Check out Ready Stamps.  This wonderful group of folks makes stamps for polymer clay, precious metal clay and scrap booking. 

The folks at Ready Stamps are a non-profit group who "go-the-extra-mile" to give you the best product for a very reasonable price.   Plus, you are helping a very worthy cause.  In addition to getting a superior package of custom stamps and molds, your purchase is supporting the United Cerebal Palsy Foundation.  They do a WONDERFUL job.  I guarantee it, as I have used their service for years.  (Usual disclaimers, I have no professional ties with them, just love what they do!)

Visit their website (Ready Stamps) - For $32 you get as many designs as you can fit on a 9 inch x 7 inch page.  They are located in San Diego and I usually get my stamps in 3-4 days!  I have sent as many as 8 sheets of designs in a single order and received them all very quickly.  ($32 per each 9 inch x 7 inch sheet.)From personal experience, the cost breakdown, works out to be approximately $1.50 per stamp.
They do not provide wooden handles for rubber stamps, just the rubber sheet, plus everything else that is used to make the stamps!

That is the best part!  For each sheet of designs you get 4 sheets of materials you can use for texture, stamps and molds, both positive and negative!  Not just a single sheet of rubber stamps!

a.) Brown Matrix Hard Board - positively wonderful to use as mold impressions for clay. ("Outies")

You can use the brown Matrix board to impress designs on silver and bronze clay.  For easy release, spray the board with Silicone spray or rub with olive oil spray before impressing the silver or bronze clay.  Remember that the brown Matrix board is a "negative" and any lettering or numbers will be reversed.  Lettering or numbers will turn out backwards, but that can also be quite interesting!

b.) Yellow Plate - This is a yellow acrylic replica of the 9 inch by 7 inch black and white artwork, with a heavy raised surface like the rubber stamp, but hard. Also great to use for molds.

Use the Yellow plate for positive lettering and numbers.  It has hard-edged raised designs so your clay designs will be "Inies."

c.) Positive Rubber Stamp sheet that you can cut to whatever size you need for each stamp. ("Inies")  The rubber stamp sheet can be cut up and attached to individual wooden stamp holders if you wish, but I found it easier to use the flexible sheet when rolling out silver or bronze clay, then cutting out the border around the clay.  It is also fun to use the flexible sheet on curved surfaces.

d.) Negative transparency of your designs. Great for acid etched design transfers.

Read the instructions carefully on their webpage before you submit your artwork. Here's how you can create your own stamp designs and have them ready to use in 3-5 days!

1.) Draw designs (or make copyright free copies) in black and white. Scan them into your computer. You can download "," (a free application) and "gang" your designs together on a 9 inch x 7 inch sheet.

Or, you can cut each design and paste them onto a sheet of paper. Then, make a new copy of the finished group of designs (9 inch x 7 inch), and mail it to them.

NOTE: It is really important to provide the highest possible resolution of black and white designs. No gray areas, just sharp, clean lines and darkest black possible. I usually submit my design sheet in a minimum of 600 pixel resolution, .gif or .tif files, as attachments in an email.

You don't have to do anything out of the ordinary with lettering or numbers. Your impressions will come out just fine in normal read-right format.

NOTE: Prepare your design sheet for the "actual size" of your finished artwork. Take into account the material you will be stamping. If you are stamping paper, then submit designs in a size related to the finished size of your artwork.

If you are stamping on PMC clay, then size your designs larger to account for shrinkage. For PMC, bronze clay and copper clay, the shrinkage can be as little as 1% or, as much as 20%, depending on the thickness, size, and brand of clay you are using.

2.) Email your design file as an attachment to readystamps at, (or send via snail mail) along with check or credit card info (or, you can call them with cc info) and, in a very short time you will receive your new stamps!

Please feel free to comment with questions and to share your happy results.  We love to hear your successes and are always here to help with any questions.

Do what you enjoy!

Virgina Vivier
Esprit Mystique Artisan Jewelry
Tucson, Arizona

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