Static Cling Mounting Foam
For those of you who are not familiar with using unmounted stamps, I thought I would put together this webpage showing the method I use for adhering vinyl cling mounting foam to my personal collection of unmounted rubber stamps. Thanks to Lorie who will become my daughter-in-law on July 8th, 2006, for taking most of these photos.
Mounting foam and acrylic blocks can be found on the catalog pages here.
I prefer to use a craft knife to trim my stamps onto the static cling mounting foam. First I cut the individual stamps from the sheet of rubber, cutting close to the image edge to reduce the likelihood of stray ink marks while being sure not to undercut any part of the image. I like to cut out the individual images first with scissors rather than applying the foam to the entire sheet because many sheets have a lot of wasted space. I hate to waste anything! So the instructions here show the process using a single stamp. Some people prefer to just stick the entire sheet onto the sticky side of the cling vinyl foam sheet and cut both the foam and the rubber at the same time, one cutting job instead of two. I do this as well, using scissors, if I have a sheet that has a pretty efficient layout. And if you have one of those crammed full or complicated sheets of stamps to cut out, it helps to use a pen to outline your cuts before you get started.
I peel off the protective sheet on the non-sticky side of the mounting foam before I do any cutting. These sheets can be saved and used to store your cling vinyl backed images. The paper is not stiff, so you can glue it to cardboard, like from a cereal box (recycle, recycle, recycle) to add stiffness and then you can store them in 3 ring binders or stacked several high with your stamps arranged by themes, companies or whatever system works for you.
Next I peel back enough of the protective sheet on the adhesive side of the foam to be able to layout my stamp(s). When done I will press the cover back on the unused portion of foam to save it for the next time. I lay down my stamps with the back of the stamp onto the adhesive surface of the foam. I would tell you what happens if you aren't paying attention and put the stamping side down against the adhesive, as if you were stamping on it, but then you would know that I have "Senior Moments", so just make sure you are putting the backside of the stamp onto the adhesive. If doing more than one stamp I just try to arrange them as efficiently as possible, sometimes playing with the arrangement on a piece of paper before actually sticking them on. There is no avoiding that there will be some waste, but a little careful planning can reduce that considerably.
I press firmly on the stamp and make sure that it is flat without wrinkles or bends of foam underneath. If necessary you can peel it back off and restick it if you have a bubble or bump. With the sheet of foam on a cutting mat or surface like a mousepad, I start trimming around it using the craft knife. I prefer the craft knife over scissors as I seem to be able to have better control in keeping the knife perpendicular to the foam so that it doesn't undercut, and I can also follow the edge of the stamp better than with scissors. To avoid your knife or scissors blade getting all gummed up with adhesive, it helps to wipe a little glycerin or ink from a Versamark pad onto the blade before cutting. If doing a lot of cutting you may need to clean the adhesive off the blade now and then.
After completing your cut around the entire edge, remove the stamp and foam from the sheet. You might have to use the knife on any sections that didn't cut all the way through. I stick any large enough chunks of cut foam back onto the protective sheet, adhesive side against the sheet, if I feel I might be able to use it on another stamp. (I have been known to piece together smaller pieces of foam onto one stamp--but you should only do that if you have straight edges you can put together--you need smooth, even depth under the entire stamp)
When you are done mounting your stamps on the foam, you can stick the vinyl coated foam side onto an acrylic stamping block, or a variety of other surfaces to use while stamping. (I have been known to stick an unmounted stamp on the slick label on the back of a wood mounted stamp and use it that way!) You can even make mounting blocks by covering a flat block of wood or plastic with packaging tape--the vinyl cling will stick to the tape. Of course the advantage of using the acrylic blocks is that you can see through them which helps with the accurate placement of your image onto your paper. After you finish using the stamp, you just peel it with its foam attached off of your temporary block, clean it to whatever your personal standards are, and store it away in whatever system you use.
If you have stamps that have elements you like to use separately, in some cases you can cut them apart after they have been mounted, making your cut lines slightly irregular so that you have the option of putting the pieces back together, like pieces of a puzzle, when you want to use them in the original arrangement. Of course you can always just ink up the portion of a stamp that you want to use, but this method, when you have a stamp image that can be separated into more than one part, gives you more options. Below is an Art Neko image of Three Dragonsflies. I like how the are put together, but sometimes I might want to use just one of them or to arrange them differently. So I have split the stamp into three pieces, which I cam rearrange in any manner that suits me, combine with other UM's on the same block, etc., yet easily put that back into the original arrangement.
Find a stamp that has parts you might like to use separately. If not already done, mount the stamp on cling vinyl mounting foam.
Cut the image apart into the sections you might use separately or combined with other images.
Use the separate pieces however you like.
Put the pieces back together fitting them like puzzle pieces, to use them in the original arrangement.