I do not consider myself a rubber stamper. I have a few small themed-sets for MailArt purposes that are available at just about any arts and crafts store, but I'm not huge about them. I proved this to myself when I recently attended a Rubber Stamp show. I came out saying,
"These folks are serious!" LOL.
I had oodles of fun meandering about and enjoying how much Rubber Stampers really do adore their stamps. I can respect their enthusiasm and tip my hat to all they create with them!
That being said, I have a ton on my plate! I must save time. So I started with a custom rubber stamp of my return address. I figured it would help me not have to turn my computer on just to print my logo on an envelope. Many months later I now have to admit I'm a little more addicted to custom designing my rubber stamps then I could have imagined. So I thought I'd introduce this concept to you on the IQS blog. It's easier and not as pricy as you might think. They can be practical and fun!
The advantages of a custom rubber stamp:
1. TIME. They save time by allowing easy duplication
2. VARIETY. You can continually use different colored inks
3. ORIGINAL. You create your own design
Yes, you will likely need a computer if you're including graphics in your stamp. (if you're just doing text but don't have a software program, no worries. The company I order from has an online interface where you can set the text right online. Video at end of this post.) Otherwise any program that can give you the end result of a: .jpeg, .gif, .bmp, or .png format will work. The thing to try and remember is to keep your text and graphic as solid and clean as possible. None to little gradients or shadows.
The above is my advice to those just starting out and who may not have a history of art and computer software experience. This is to avoid disappointment with the final result of your custom rubber stamp.
But I have to also say that Yes, the company I use produces such things pretty darn well through their online interface filter. That is of course dependent on how complex your design is and the quality of the file you are uploading. More on that later.
I'll use some old address stamps for my introduction. NOTE: the PO Box is no longer valid. I'm also showing a more recent stamp, so things have been removed or smudges to protect the innocent. =) But the logo is my actual current logo.
Here are the Basic steps to get you started:
1. I measured the different envelopes I most commonly use to get a good idea of the average area I had to work with. Make a note of your smallest area. That is your "worst case scenario". (I happen to like stamping mine on the back flap, so that is what I measured. That meant that the "height" was the big deal here. If you put yours on the front, you have to be mindful of height and width area of the top left corner.)
2. I went to the rubber stamp website and looked at the sizes available to order. I wrote down the size that best fits my worst case scenario area (all website info will be at the end of today's post.)
3. In my software program. I created my page to be the size I chose from the website. For this stamp I chose 1.5" x 2" (I used Adobe Illustrator)
4. I designed my stamp by choosing a font I like, etc. Obviously I designed it purposefully to not exceed the area of my page. (more on this in the TIPS section farther down! "Actual Specs")
5. I printed it out @ 100% to make sure I liked it! (If you don't, make the adjustments necessary.)
6. Once I was completely happy with it, I went to the website and uploaded my design. I followed the step by step directions there to submit my order. (Have your credit card handy. This wood-stamp size was $13. Art Mounted, No handle.)
One of the things I like about the company I'm using is that the design is engraved (or burned) into the top of the wood instead of just printed on. I'm a wood fan. =) They can also capture some pretty good detail as you can see in my quill logo above.
NOTE: I've had these stamps some months now. I still do not know how they will hold up over use. Especially the thin delicate areas. You can be sure I will report to you if they do not hold up well.
Yet another plus is that you can manipulate things a bit. Above I inked only my name and logo. Viola, a signature is born! Another little thing I did in the terracotta application to make it look a little more "stampy" was to use less ink and not press down so hard... (This affect is more effective on larger ink areas instead of thin letter strokes. An example is coming your way in a forthcoming post.)... versus the teal application. I used plenty of ink and pressure on that one.
Take time to inspect your design. This company is not responsible for misspellings, they will just produce what you submit. (If they did than you would be paying a higher price for having an Editorial service.)
Avoid poor design. If what you're submitting will end up a smudgy-inky-blob because of poor "rubber stamp design"... they will not inform you. That is your responsibility.
What do you mean by "rubber stamp design" Nina? Just because your home printout looks great does not mean it will reproduce well in rubber stamping. Ink from an ink pad flows and responds differently to this type of application. You have to take that into account. ONE HUGE tip is to "kern" your letters out a tad. "Kerning" is the space between letters. Remember, you will be pressing down on the stamp when you use it. If letters are too close together, it ends up in an inky illegible mass. You do not want that for your return address!
No.1 above was hard to read. The type was too small and characters too close together. I used it anyway, but I eventually designed it a tad larger and kerned it out a bit as in No.2 and No.3
Actual Specs. The size that the website gives you is the "design area" (red box above), not the wood base. The red box is 1.5"h x 2"w. So when you set up your design page to the size you've chosen... you can design right up to the edge.
Do it for me! Please oh please stop the madness and don't design all caps using a script font....on anything. There should be a law against this. It's not legible! Whoever said it looks pretty was lying. Stop it.
They sell several lines of stamp products. Check them out. Tell them Nina sencha! (No, I get nothing. They have no balmy idea who I am.) But just sayin'.
If you're intimidated by their site, don't be.
Here are two videos that should help make you a pro in no time.
Shipping is free if over $30. I save up my orders to get free shipping. If you're a hair shy, consider creating another small stamp you know you'll use to add to your order. I did this with the letter-arrow below. I had seen it at Hobby Lobby but when I went back... for months... it was no where around. So I created my own. BUT I added swoosh lines to mine. I like mine better.
An add-on stamp doesn't have to be complicated. Something simple like a word or two of a saying you commonly use, your letter sign-off, whatever.
Hello, I’m Nina, the maven behind the
IQS blog. I’m all about creativity (ya think?).
I work in several disciplines. So it's no surprise that the Art of Letter Writing would come knocking on my door. Smitten!
However, I did not want to simply add MailArt as a discipline to my website. Thus it became the IQS Blog within my site. And that is why there are TWO navigation menus. *Here’s a Tip: stick with the BLOG Menu in this Column. The main site menu will lead you astray into dark places where you will be screaming for help and no one will hear you.
• More Love Letters
• Letter Writers
• A Month of Letters
• Post Card Exchange
• Snail Mail Ideas
Remember paper planes?
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