A few months ago, Lissa Marie (of www.somanycrafts.com) and I were chatting it up online about how neat it might be to offer some technique classes about all of the nifty things available to crafters with even the slightest bit of "digital know-how." And thus, "Teach Me That Digi Technique Week Blog Hop" was born.
This is gonna be a fun hop everyone because we have a little bit of
everything for you! Since we didn't want to bog you down with a
full day of tutorials, we have broken this up into a week long hop.
So if you're starting here be sure to go back to the start.
DAY 1: Lissa's tutorial is creating your own graphics, how
to make a blog button. You can read her post here: http://somanycrafts.com/2012/10/14/teach-me-that-digi-technique-blog-hop/
DAYS 2 and 3: My soul sister, Jenn McLean, chimes in with a fabulous 2-day post on how to write HTML code and apply it to your blog. It starts here, and do scroll down to the second day's post, too. http://www.justaddwatersilly.com/2012/10/teach-me-that-digi-technique-blog-hop.html
DAY 4: Jennifer R of Crafty Card Gallery shows us how she makes digital sketches for her Sketch Challenge Group, and how you can make them, too! Hop over to her post that went up yesterday at http://craftycardgallery.blogspot.com/2012/10/digi-technique-sketches.html
DAY 5: (Today) is me ...
And tomorrow (DAY 6, Friday October 19) you should stop back to visit Pam Lavertu, who will be finishing off the hop at http://mzlavr2.blogspot.com/2012/10/teach-me-that-digi-technique-blog-hop.html, teaching you about Silhouette Cameo software and what that
Cameo can do!
So that business out of the way, let me get to my post:
I must say: I rely heavily on my computer for my crafting -- whether it's to blog about it, get ideas from sources like other blogs or Pinterest, finding new fonts, sourcing images and buying craft supplies. I've cut SVGs for years by linking my computer to my Cricut, and I've done digital stamping ...
Heck, I even found my husband John online -- and that was 18 years ago, waaaay before cybercafes, online dating services, Google, eBay, and the movie "You've Got Mail." In fact, online dating was so rare in 1994 that I was invited to go on OPRAH! to talk about it. (No, I didn't go.)
Do a web search inquiry to learn when online dating began and you'll find that Friendfinder and Match.com began in 1995 and 1996, respectively, and are listed as the "start of online dating", yet John and I connected via a Prodigy matchmaking bulletin board in September of 1994!
So I'll just take a crown for my digital prowess and move on to today's topic. I'm going to tell you all you ever wanted to know about digital stamping!
What are Digital Stamps?
stamps, also known as “digi-stamps,” are typically black and white computerized
images that are sold or offered free to crafters who wish to use their
computers as a tool to add any of a wide variety of images to their cards,
layouts or projects.
of a digital stamp as an image that you’ve stamped and then scanned into your
computer. However, you won’t be dealing
with the physical stamp – no more wood or acrylic blocks, no more ink pads, no
more physical storage issues. You won’t
have to worry about cleaning your stamps or inky fingers. And a digital image won’t wear out or warp, so
you can use it over and over for an unlimited number of times.
greatest advantage to a digital stamp over a physical wood mount or acrylic
stamp is that before printing it out, any digital image can be resized, flipped
horizontally or vertically, stretched or manipulated in whatever way you want.
You adjust your saved image on-screen; if you don’t like how you’ve changed it,
simply delete your new file (don’t save
over the original image!) and start fresh.
more on the Pros and Cons on Digital Stamping, read my FULL LIST by clicking HERE.
OK, I’m ready to get into Digital
Stamping. Now what?
first, most obvious thing you need to do is find an image that you want to
use. There are many, many individuals and companies that now
create and/or broker designs that you can purchase; some offer “freebies” as
well for you to try out digital stamping, such as the Hambo Stamp of Cool Cat shown at left.
maintain a list of the companies that I visit most frequently to shop for
digital images. As of today, that list
includes 65 sources.
For my FULL LIST of digital stamp companies, click HERE.
ten favorite sites for digital images are:
you find an image on one of these sites, you’ll set up an account with that
vendor (a few clicks of the buttons) and pay for your image, usually using
PayPal. I have found that most sites prefer or only accept PayPal, as it is
recognized and respected worldwide as a fast, easy and trustworthy payor. And, if you purchase from an international vendor, your currency is automatically converted for you to the day's lowest available rate. Shopping for an image drawn in South Africa is just as quick and painless as shopping for one in South Philadelphia, with PayPal!
paying for your image, you will either have immediate access to your purchase
to download, or you will receive it within 24-48 hours via an e-mail. Download your image and save it onto your
computer, in a folder on your computer where you know they will be when you
want to use them.
What will my digital file look
like when I get it?
often, images are provided to you in a “zipped” folder. Think of a “zipped” folder as a box that can
be packed full for easy transfer to you from the digital stamp company; you’ll
need to unpack the box or “unzip” before you can see/use the digi stamps
inside. Most PC and MAC computers come equipped
with software or a utility that allows this unzipping or “extracting” of files.
you do not have this software or utility on your computer, Zipeg (www.zipeg.com) offers a free, downloadable Windows-based
program to unzip any file on either a PC or MAC.
digital images (when they are unzipped) are in a JPG and/or PNG file format. JPG (also, JPEG) is an image format file that
stands for Joint Photographic Group, meaning that points making up a line are
digitally assembled and grouped on a white background that together create an
image. PNG is another image format file
that stands for Portable Network Group. It is basically the same as a JPG file
except that the points are transferrable (“portable”) so that the background
can be transparent. The advantage of a
PNG file over a JPEG file is that PNG files can be easily grouped and layered to
create a scene or combined image. This
gives a stamper a wide range of design opportunities.
How should I organize my digital
stamps to use them easiest?
that you have unpacked/unzipped your files, I find that it is easiest if you
start your organization process on your personal computer when you begin to buy
digital images. If you’d like, you can categorize and save multiple copies of
your image to different electronic files on your own computer. For example, I
create a file for each of the companies or designer names where I store one
copy, so I can give credit where credit is due for the image. (Often companies
require such credit, in their Angel Policies. More on that later.) I may also save a copy describing the image
and grouped with same/similar images; for example, I have a file on my computer
that says “Santa”.
save copies of my digital purchases on my computer’s hard drive because I have
a lot of memory there. However, I also keep a copy of all of my digital
purchases on a small flash (or “thumb”) drive. This makes them very portable to
use with my laptop at crops, or with my upstairs/crafting computer versus my
downstairs/office computer. (Yes, I have a lot of computers in the house! That’s what happens when you’re married to a
word about sharing: Your digital
purchases are your digital purchases. They are for your
personal use only. They are not for redistribution,
sharing (either electronically or swapped), lending, or reselling to anyone
else. Under most Angel Policies or Terms
of Use (TOU), you may print them out, color/use them on your cards that you
sell, but you cannot mass produce the image for sale. Your digital image will come with a TOU or
copyright notice; please respect it.
So I’ve bought my image. Now what?
Once the images are on your computer, you have
to place them, or open them in some sort of photo editing program or printing
program in order to flip them, resize them, and print them. There are many
programs to use for printing images, but Microsoft Word seems to be one of the
simplest applications to use your images in a very basic way.
Here are general instructions using Microsoft
Word to print your image. (Your actual instructions might vary slightly,
depending on what vintage MS Word program you’re using.)
- Open a new document
- Click on the tab marked "Insert"
- Select "Picture"
- Browse your computer folders and find the digital image file
that you saved to your computer and click on it.
- Click "insert"
- Now that the image is in your document, to resize it, simply
put your mouse cursor over one of the corners of the image and left click
on it and hold the click down as you move (click and drag) to resize the
image to the desired size.
- Or you can right click on the image and select "Size”. Find the sizing tab in the drop-down
menu to set an actual dimension size in the space provided.
- Click OK
- You can right click and select "bring to front" or
"move to back" with PNG files to overlap images
- Add more images or copy and paste the image you just inserted
to fill the page, as you wish, or print just one image on the sheet if you
intend to use it alone on your card.
- Save your Word doc (with a unique file name) for quick
access/printing in the future.
If you’d prefer to have more options in how to arrange,
layer, color and save your images, you may want to invest in a photo editing or
graphics software program. I have used
digital images in Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, Paintshop, Adobe
Illustrator and several other similar programs.
I’m ready to print.
Does the type of printer and paper I use make a difference?
The type of printer and paper you use will depend on how
(and even, if) you intend to color your digital image after it is printed. Are you planning on coloring with markers,
and are those markers water- or alcohol-based?
Are you using colored pencils, and if so, do you intend to use a blender
pen or Gamsol to blend those pencils? Answers
to these questions will help guide your decisions on which printer and paper to
Generally speaking, there are two sorts of printers we
crafters use with our computers: laser and inkjet. Laser printers lay down a fine laser-guided
toner onto the paper in a process that is very similar to heat embossing. However, the chemicals used with most laser
toners do not interact well with alcohol-based markers, blender pens or Gamsol.
If you intend to use Copics or another alcohol-based marker, or other chemical,
you’re better off using an inkjet printer for your project.
However, even inkjet printers can cause smudging with Copics
and other chemicals, so run some tests of your own equipment (printers and
coloring media) to see how your printer’s ink fares with your markers. Inkjet printers use droplets of ink that you
should allow to dry before coloring.
Some advise hours of drying; others say overnight. You can help speed the drying process by
heat-setting the ink with your embossing gun.
I will tell you that I am almost always in a hurry when I’m
coloring digital images, and so I really don’t give a lot of time for drying.
(Do as I say, not as I do.) I find that
if I am careful about not touching up against the inked line of an image,
coloring up to and not over a line, I can avoid most smudging. I use Copic markers pretty much exclusively,
and I have had very little issue with smudging.
The type of paper you use can also determine if your image
will smudge and/or color well. There are
a wide range of cardstocks now available specifically for coloring digital
images. Be guided by the fact that the
smoother the paper, the easier it will be to blend your inks or pencils, giving
a more natural and beautiful look to your digital image. However, the smoother
paper requires more drying time, as the inkjet ink lies on top of the surface
of the paper instead of soaking in.
There is an interesting effect you can achieve with these
smoother papers and your inkjet: embossing the ink. To do this, you’ll need to have your
embossing supplies near your printer, as the sooner you hit the ink with the
embossing powder, the better. As soon as
your image ejects from the inkjet printer, put the paper onto a lipped cookie
sheet that you use just for this purpose. Sprinkle the inked image with clear
embossing powder; give it a few seconds to adhere before gently flicking the
excess off your image. Heat set the embossing powder over your inkjet ink,
using your embossing heat gun. Allow the
image to set/cool before applying your coloring media.
Now, truth be told, I do a lot of digital stamping for my cards. Here are just a few of them that I posted within the last year:
On paper: I have run
several tests on which paper I like to use with my Copic markers and digital
images. My favorite is a paper called Brilliant White 130#, available from www.discountcardstock.com. I have found it’s a little tough to feed into
my inkjet paper, due to its thickness, so I have to handfeed (a little
shove). I like it because it allows
smooth blending, it rarely smudges, and it does not allow the Copic marker to
bleed through to the back side of the paper. This is important if I am coloring
an image directly onto a card (“clean and simple”).
I hope this post inspires you to get out and try your hand at digital stamping. In case you ever want to go back to reference it or any of my linked pages, I've added a Digital Stamp Resources box at the top right of my blog.
^ see it up there?
Next week, I'll be showing coloring techniques for Digital Stamps, using a variety of coloring mediums (I still want to say media!). I'll be looking at a comparison of alcohol markers in the future, as well as comparing papers for coloring. Stay tuned, and let me know how I can help you best!
Thanks for stopping by!