This month we’re going back to the basics – card making basics. While there are a gazillion different folds and techniques you can use to make cards, if you don’t have the basics down then you are going to get frustrated trying new things.

So to start we’re going to talk about stamps. To me the basic tools of card making are stamps, ink and paper. Sure there are lots of other tools that make things easier and more fun, but you’ll at least need these 3 things to get started.

There are so many different kinds of stamps now that you may be a bit confused! No worries, I’ve got a video for you to watch that will walk you through the different kinds of stamps and give you tips for how to use them. Watch a video on stamp types here.

In a nut shell, here are the main types of stamps…

Wood-mount Stamps: These are your traditional red rubber stamps mounted on wood blocks. Well actually, if you purchase your stamps from Stampin’ Up! they are red rubber stamps that come with wood blocks that you can mount them on. Mounting them yourself keeps the cost down. Many years ago we had to trim out the images of our wood mount stamps, but now they come die cut so you can just pop them out, peel off the backing and stick them on.

What I love about Wood-mount: I’ve been going back to wood mount stamps lately and here’s why… I really feel that I can get the best stamped image from a wood-mount stamp. There’s something sturdy about them and there is no messing around with finding a block to put them on. I can just grab one out of the box and start stamping. Plus there are some stamping techniques that just work best with red rubber wood mount stamps.

Cons of Wood-mount: They are more expensive and they take up more space. You can’t see through them to see where you are stamping. (I use the Stamp-a-ma-jig for perfect placement of my wood-mount stamps.)

Shop Wood-mount Stamps

Clear-mount Stamps: There is some confusion around clear-mount stamps. These are NOT totally clear stamps. These are red rubber stamps like the wood-mount, but they do not come with blocks. They are designed to stick to clear mount blocks 

What I love about Clear-mount: They are less expensive so I get more bang for my buck and they store in a skinny DVD type case so I can fit more stamps in less space. They are so much more compact and lighter than wood-mount stamps for taking to crops and yet you can still use some techniques that work best with red rubber stamps.

Cons of Clear-mount: You have to find a block that fits the stamp (the closer the fit, the easier they are to stamp with) and sometimes they just do not want to stick to the clear blocks!! It can be annoying. I’ve started not putting the picture label on the back of my stamps so they will stick better. Plus even though the block is clear, the stamp is not. So it’s not super easy to see where you are stamping.

Be sure to watch this video for tips on using clear-mount stamps.

Shop Clear-mount Stamps

Photopolymer Stamps: These are the totally clear stamps. You can see right through them. These stamps also do not come with blocks. You will need to purchase clear mount blocks to use them.

What I love about Photopolymer: I can see where I’m stamping! Although I admit that sometimes I still use my Stamp-a-ma-jig with the photopolymer stamps, it is so much easier to just stamp because you can see through the stamps. Plus they are flexible! You can bend them to have a curved greeting or image. So fun.

Cons of Photopolymer: Sometimes I can not for the life of me get a good image. The ink bubbles up on the stamp or part of it just won’t ink up or I stamp it and the image is blotchy. Here are some tips for stamping with Photopolymer stamps that can help with these problems. One of the biggest “cons” for me is that you can’t color with markers on your photopolymer stamps to get different colors on the same image. That’s a bummer!

Extra Tip: Put a Stampin’ Up! Occasions catalog under your stamping surface. Sometimes it has just the perfect amount of give that you’ll get the perfect stamped image!

Shop Photopolymer Stamps


What kind of stamp is the best? It’s truly personal preference and sometimes can depend on the type of stamp set. I like my words and 2-step stamp sets in photopolymer, but images that I might want to stamp multi-colored I like in wood. If you’re short on space you might want to stick to clear-mount and photopolymer.

What’s your favorite type of stamp?

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