Blade Rubber Blog, Tips and Techniques

  • How to make a box

    Techniques by Susie Jefferson - based on a Class given at Blade Rubber
  • How to use Radiant Rain

    Radiant Rain is Twinkling H2O's non toxic, acid free, shimmering watercolours in a ready-to-use liquid. Each 4 oz bottle not only contains rich colour but matching coloured mica specially formulated to stick to paper projects.
  • How to use Twinkling H2Os

    These paints are brought to you by LuminArte (the manufacturers of Radiant Pearls), so you know you are going to be using something very special! As you know, conventional watercolours can sometimes disappoint as colours appear flat and less vibrant when dry. These 'Twinklers' keep their wonderful shimmer even when dry - and even on black paper!
  • Using Shrink Plastic

    A material gaining in popularity and no wonder as it inspires and surprises with every new piece. The metamorphosis from stamp and colour to shrink is always a revelation as you are never quite sure of the result.
  • How to use Distress Inks

    Tim Holtz's Distress Inks are a completely different formulation from standard inks: they have been developed to produce an aged, grunged and shabby chic look to artwork and photographs. These inks are perfect for the current oh-so-fashionable 'vintage' look! Always make sure you replace the lid immediately after use to prevent the ink from drying out.

    Highly pigmented and with a longer drying time, these inks allow you to work with them by blending and shading with stipple brush, fingers or sponge. The best sponge to use is a cosmetic sponge - or a sheet of Cut 'N Dry Foam cut up into small pieces, as this absorbs much less ink than a conventional sponge.

    Colour is truer - these inks are designed to flow when sprayed with water: the tonal values of the colours do not change. Diluted, colours are true and tone-on-tone, not breaking down into fugitive pinkish or greenish hues like so many conventional dye-based inks.


    Use as a conventional stamp pad. If you immediately work on your stamped image (on non-glossy cardstock) by blending with a brush, the image will soften but not smudge - no details are lost. The longer drying time also allows you to emboss if you wish. On glossy cardstock, images can 'bead up'. When dry, this is yet another distressed effect - very effective, very different, kind of pitted.


    This ink has been formulated especially for use on photos. Start by tinting the image with your lightest colours and blend with brush, sponge or fingers. Age the photos by applying a darker colour at the edges and blend towards the centre - either by applying the pad directly to the photograph or by using a stipple brush, sponge or your fingers. Even black & white photocopies will look like vintage photos when tinted with Old Paper or Vintage Photo!

    If you decide to photocopy old black and white photographs, use a colour copier - the colours will be softer and less 'raw' and the paper is a better quality - all the better to work on.

    If you have been a bit too liberal in the application and the ink is too dark for the result you were trying to achieve, lighten up by spraying with water and blot with kitchen roll; sponge on white gesso or acrylic paint or sand lightly with a fine sandpaper or glasspaper.

    A great distressed effect to further age your photos is to sand over the surface - but not too vigorously!


    This is the fun bit! Great backgrounds can be created for layering cards or scrapbook pages, or to create tags as the main focus of a card.

    Try these ideas:

    CRUMPLE UP brown paper or Kraft paper - smooth out, then crumple again several times. The paper will soften and feel like leather! Swipe over with a Distress Ink pad in your chosen colour, hitting the high points, and blend quickly with a stipple brush. Use as is (wonderfully tactile) or flatten under heavy books and then overstamp with Walnut Stain (a deep rich brown) or Black Soot (the very blackest black). Don't worry if the image skips a little on the surface (which won't be completely flat) as this all adds to the charm of the effect. Also try crumpling patterned papers for a retro-chic look!

    CRUMPLE UP SHIPPING TAGS (break the surface tension of tags or cards by bending back and forth, in the centre, with your thumbs) then go ahead and crease in sections - this prevents cardstock from tearing! Hit the high points with a Distress Ink pad - or use several different colours for an even better effect! Spritz with water (at least 2 sprays, so the card is WET) and see the colour spread out - with no dilution of tone. (Try this technique with an ordinary dye-based ink pad: the colour changes when wet - not good!)

    Then - either air dry, dry with a heat tool - or iron with a travel iron or dry iron (not steam!). It's easy to work on several tags or small pieces of card simultaneously, to save time. Work on a reusable heat-proof baking liner sheet as you can iron directly onto this. Why not tint both sides of the card, then iron dry? The result is a wonderful flat surface with amazing crinkle detailing - great for further stamping or collage.

    AN EASY AGING TECHNIQUE for any collage piece (eg: cigarette cards, jigsaw pieces, wine labels) is to run the Distress Ink pad directly around the edges of the card or paper then smudge with a finger.

    FAST AGING TECHNIQUE FOR SCRAPBOOK PAGES - just swipe the pad randomly over 12 x 12 background papers and blend in with a stipple brush - instant antiquing!

    Aging and distressing techniques work well on calico, cambric etc. Try on Broderie Anglais lace and crochet trims for 'antique' embellishments (use Antique Linen of course!) Dry naturally or heat set.

    Antique Linen or Old Paper are excellent colours to use on stretched canvases to add a vintage look before you even start work on them! To make your canvases look even older, use a piece of Cut 'N Dry Foam to sponge another (darker) colour (Walnut Stain, perhaps) around the sides and edges.

    Stretched canvases are also wonderful substrates for a heritage scrapbooking piece: why put all your photos in album, when you can hang them on the wall?


    These inks are water based. Clean up with wadded damp kitchen roll, conventional stamp cleaner or scrub pads, or a damp flannel. Dry off on kitchen roll. Easy!

    ┬ęSusie Jefferson for Blade Rubber Stamps 2009
    Susie Jefferson is a regular teacher of popular Classes at Blade Rubber

  • How to Dry Emboss using Brass Stencils

    Dry embossing is a very simple, very elegant method of adding dimension to your artwork. Supplies needed are minimal: thin card stock or good quality paper, a stencil (brass or plastic), an embossing tool (wood handle with a steel blunt-ended needle at each end) and a lightbox. This is plastic, with a low-wattage bulb underneath to illuminate your working area.
  • How to use and care for Unmounted Rubber or Clear Polymer stamps

    Unmounted stamps are easy to use, economical and space-saving. Much cheaper than wood-mounted stamps, they take less than a quarter of the storage space. Stamps are usually available in sheet form which you then cut up, although some companies will supply single images.
  • How to use Embossing Powders

    Embossing adds an elegant, dimensional element to any stamped image. It may look difficult, but is in fact one of the most popular and effective rubber-stamping techniques of all.
  • How to Store and care for Your Rubber Stamps

    Advice on how to clear, care for and store your mounted and unmounted stamps
  • Stamping and Colouring Acetate

    Stamping and Colouring Acetate Techniques are from the class sheets of the popular classes given by Freyja

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