Daily Archives: May 17, 2007

Small Stamps – a list of tips on how to use them…

Today for the Ways to Use it Challenge, the challenge is to use small stamps. Often these small stamps can be difficult to use. I know that I tend to gravitate towards larger stamps and usually overlook the smaller ones. I’ve discovered a few tricks to using them over the past couple years and I thought I’d share my ideas and the others I’ve picked up along them way (sorry I have no idea where!) with you. First of all, I’ll start with today’s card and then move on to the list of tips. If you’d like to play along on this weeks Ways to Use it Challenge, you are most welcome at WT113.



I’ve had this small sweetpea stamp from Ellen Hutson’s store sitting on my desk since I received my order a couple weeks ago. I’ve been really looking forward to using it but life has been a little crazy, even more so than usual these past few weeks. Because I spent all last evening in the Walk-in Clinic, I’ve made this card really simple. Lots of clean white space which is good too as I had really wanted to make a card design for last Friday’s Wide Open Spaces challenge and never managed to do it!

Which brings me to my how I designed this card with a small stamp… Most of the time I tend to make more detailed designs but there is nothing wrong with a simple design. Actually, they can be among the hardest to pull off well. I always think of Julie Ebersole when I think of clean, simple great designs. I just loved the curve of this little pea stamp…so sweet! It just seemed to want to be nestled in the bottom right corner of the card. After watercoloring my pea pod with Certainly Celery and Old Olive and allowing to dry, I covered the tiny round peas with my Sakura Clear Gelly Roll Glaze pen. I love how it gives a rounded glazed effect to the little peas. This dries very quickly and I love that! Crystal Effects would also work well if you have a steady hand in that tiny an area and are willing to wait for it to dry.

The white image panel was then matted with Certainly Celery and then adhered to a 4.25″ square card base made from Kraft cardstock. I’ve been wanting to try out this combo and I just love it!  It looks so fresh in person…perfect for spring or a new little sweet pea. I then tied on this darling dotted ribbon from Starlitstudio. I love the repitition of the circles on the ribbon with the shape of the peas. To finish it off I stamped my brand new congratulations stamp from Lizzie Anne Designs. This stamp is from the Simply Sentiments set. I just love the script on this and it is the perfect size…I know it is destined to become one of my faves!

Ideas On How to Use Small Stamps

This list is by no means exhaustive…just a few ideas I’ve learned. I’m sure that you have some fabulous ones of your own as well and I am by no means the expert on this…just sharing what I know. :)

  1. Simple & Clean can be a great way to use small stamps. Don’t be afraid to leave some empty space in your design. Do plan your layout well if you do this. It often helps to add a small touch of wow when you do this…a little bow or bling always works well!
  2. Repetition is another way to go. Stamping an small image repeatedly for a background it a great way to use small stamps. See below entry from an example.
  3. Cluster stamps together in a group to make an larger image. For example, if you have a small flower on a stem, stamp three or more to create the effect of a garden. Masking is a great technique to combine with this as you can overlap the images and still get a natural look.
  4. Layer small stamps over a background stamp. I love the look of small flowers stamped over a background stamp such as Linen or Canvas by Stampin Up. It adds some fun to the background stamp and the larger stamp helps tie the little images together.
  5. Tags are fabulous for little stamps. Because of their smaller size…they help break up the design and the small stamps fit perfectly on them. You can use cardstock tags, metal tags, vellum tags, whatever you wish.
  6. Borders are a great way to use little stamps. They can be stamped in a line or even a circle to create a border at the bottom or side or your design, or around a focal point.
  7. Design is a big factor in making any project work well. Breaking up the space well with layers or embellishments helps add interest. A small image layer can work well with an interesting design. Scroll up to above entry to see example of this.
  8. Patterned Paper adds lots of pizzazz to a design. Pairing up a small image stamp with patterned paper for interest is a great easy way to use a small stamp.
  9. Ribbon is fun to stamp on and small stamps are the perfect size for this. Try your ink out on a ribbon scrap first to make sure that is works well with the type of ribbon you are using. Twill is another great alternative.
  10. Scale down the size of your card is another of the easiest ideas. If you are having trouble designing with a larger card….scale down to a 4×4″ card, a 3.25 x 6.25″  card, even a 3×3″ mini gift card.

I hope this gives you some ideas to think about and hopefully incorporate into your designs. Pull those small stamps out of the back of the drawer, dust them off and have some fun! Wishing you all a fabulous day!