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How to make artistamps

Obviously, I make my artistamps with my computer and a color printer. Sometimes I use graphics from clipart sources, or online copyright-free images. For other artistamps, I scan my own art or photos, and play with them in either MicroSoft PhotoDraw or Adobe Photoshop. However, you can use almost any graphics program, including freeware or shareware, and PaintShop Pro, for this kind of playing.

I "tile" my finished stamp, using my computer graphics program, so the design will print multiple times on a single sheet of paper. For most of my artistamps, I print on HP Premium Inkjet Paper, which--despite its "premium" name--is an economical choice among the coated-surface papers. My printer is an HP Deskjet 832C, which I chose after a lot of research.

If you're shopping for a color printer, compare per-copy costs and reliability, as well as the purchase price of the printer.

However, a computer is not necessary to make artistamps. Some people create a single design and have it reduced to stamp size, with a color photocopier. Then they paste-up a single sheet of stamps before color photocopying it for final use.

Some people use a stencil to sponge or paint the colored background for each stamp. Then they paint, rubber stamp, or collage each individual stamp on the page. Finally, they make color photocopies of the page, and cut these copies into stamp-sized squares, triangles, or rectangles.

And, there are a dedicated few who actually make each stamp by hand.

For my own mail, I print and then cut out each stamp with Fiskars scissors that have a perforated-type edge.

Then I use a device called a Rollataq (by Daige) to roll adhesive onto the back of each stamp. (Yes, this involves getting sticky fingers.)

The advantage of Rollataq is that the stamp can be repositioned for about three minutes; then the adhesive becomes absolutely permanent.

By contrast, the adhesive in glue sticks can turn to dust in very dry heat, and my stamps would fall off.

Other people paint on paper adhesives such as Perfect Paper Adhesive by US ArtQuest. (I use that for other projects, but I haven't been so happy with it for this kind of work.)

When I'm making stamps for others to use, I coat the back of the sheet of stamps with a roll-on glue called Lick & Stick. Once dry, this remoistenable envelope glue can be licked (or sponged) just like any "real" postage stamp. The glue is tasteless, odorless, and clear or slightly milky-colored when dry.

You can also use a Jello recipe (at this site) or make your own paint-on lickable glue.

After the glue has dried, I cut out each stamp with my perforated-edged Fiskars.

There are real perforating machines, which a few artistampers are fortunate to own. These machines are generally antiques. They are rare and cost at least $300, but the bigger obstacle to owning one is the size and weight of the machine, about a ton.

For more information about artistamps, visit my artistamps.com pages at this site, or join the artistamp mailing list (AML) at eGroups.com

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