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Stamping on Polymer

Our peg stamps are little and highly detailed and lend themselves well to polymer clay and the mold making process. All stamps from our entire line of peg stamps and peg stamp sets can be used on polymer clay, precious metal clay (pmc), air dry clay, and art silver clay. So whether it’s ornaments, home decor, or jewelry you’re working on, you are sure to find Rubber Stamp Tapestry peg stamps a great addition for your project.   

Special Instructions for Stamping Polymer Clay

1. Choose Your Polymer Clay
Polymer clay is soft until baked. Slight differences between brands can affect conditioning, malleability, durability, and longevity after baking, as well as impression permanence (when dry stamping into clay). Experiment to see which works best for you. 

2. Choose Your Stamping Technique
There are a myriad of stamping techniques from which to choose. We will look at three simple techniques and each will require different supplies.

  • Dry stamping (without ink) on unbaked clay.
  • Stamping on unbaked clay.
  • Stamping on baked clay.

3. Choose Your Ink
If you use ink, we recommend using a solvent ink like Staz-On™. Solvent inks are formulated for nonporous surfaces and are sure to give good results. You can also use acrylic paint on polymer clay for stamping as well as coloring. 

4. Condition the Clay
Polymer clay must be conditioned before use to make it malleable and thoroughly incorporate the plasticizers. You’ll want to condition the clay until it is workable. Depending on the brand, this may mean simply working it with your hands, using a pasta machine, or even a food processor. Sculpey™ takes less time to condition; Fimo™ takes longer. Warm clay will be easier to condition and the best way to warm it is with body heat, anything hotter and the clay may begin to cure. Never heat clay in a microwave as it will cause the clay to harden. Conditioning is considered complete when the clay is workable. If your clay requires the use of a pasta machine or food processor, be sure to only use it for the purpose of polymer clay. All equipment used for polymer clay needs to be dedicated to that purpose. 

5. Stamp
Once your clay is workable, you can roll it into the thickness that you desire. The thickness will affect bake time as well as the durability of the piece after it’s baked. If your piece is too thick it will require a longer bake time and if it’s too think it may be brittle and break after baking. Refer to the manufacturer's instructions for more information.

  • Dry Stamping on Unbaked Clay - spritz clay with water, which will act as a release agent. Gently press the stamp into the clay with steady pressure, like stamping on paper. If you press too deeply, you’ll create a moon around the image.
  • Ink Stamping on Unbaked Clay - use a solvent ink like Staz-on™ to stamp directly onto unbaked clay.
  • Stamping on Baked Clay - stamp baked clay just like you would paper, but use either ink or acrylic paint. Follow the ink and/or clay manufacturer's instructions regarding possible heat setting.

6. Clean Stamps
When dry stamping, remove any clay in the crevices of the stamp with a small ball of clay, dabbing the stamp lightly to adhere stuck clay. Then, thoroughly clean the stamp with a stamp cleaner. If using ink, you’ll want to clean between ink colors and after the final stamping. Solvent inks may color the rubber and cleaning early will minimize this.

Upholstery fabric, denim, or any coarse fabric combined with the cleaning solution makes a great stamp cleaner. Use a toothbrush to clean recessed areas of the stamp. To protect your stamps, clean them before storing.

7. Bake

After stamping you will need to bake the polymer clay. Refer to the clay manufacturer's instructions for bake times. A rule of thumb is for every ¼” (6 mm) of clay thickness, bake 30 minutes at 275F (135C). Instead of your home oven, we recommended a toaster oven designated only for the purpose of baking polymer clay. To prevent overbaking, you will need an internal thermometer if your toaster is not equipped with one. 

8. Fixing Mistakes

If you make a mistake stamping into polymer clay, there are several options. If you stamp without ink into unbaked clay, smooth the impression with your fingers. If this doesn't work, reform the clay and start over.

If you're using ink on unbaked clay, your only real option is to re-form the clay. The ink will color the clay a bit but won't harm it.

If your mistake happens while using baked clay, either rub off the ink or paint quickly or do what we do when component - stamping on paper; use another stamp to cover it up.


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