Trouble-shooting common errors

Oxford Impressions is known for our highly detailed, photo realistic rubber stamps. When stamped correctly, the images look like photographs. If the correct tools and techniques are not used, however, the results can be disappointing. Oxford Impressions has a complete tutorial called Using Photo Style Stamps which will instruct the stamper on how to achieve the best results with our photo-style stamps. However, sometimes just knowing how is not enough. Often stampers who are new to photo-style stamping have trouble interpreting their results. This trouble shooting tutorial is a guide to diagnosing and fixing the most common mistakes.

TIP - Test stamp photo image before stamping directly into a project. This will help to determine if adjustments are needed. Think about stamping photo image as a separate element and cutting it out and applying it as a layer. It is the best "insurance" for getting the right look every time.

The anatomy of a photo-style stamp:

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Photo-style stamps may initially look flat, but the surface is made up of rows of tiny dots, making a grid pattern. This is what gives photo-style stamps their extraordinary realistic appearance. The channels between the rubber are different widths depending on the lightness or darkness of the image. Where the parts of the image should appear dark, the dots are much closer - allowing the ink to spread and cover the area.

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Common errors and the solutions:

1. Photo-style image looks pale and blurry.

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If not enough ink is used, coverage may be too light to get a good impression. The Ink pad may be too dry or the application too light. Cover the rubber stamp image by tapping ink pad repeatedly over surface or try re-inking the ink pad. If the rubber stamp is stamped on uncoated paper the image will blur.  Uncoated paper is too absorbent for crisp photo like images. However, some prefer the pale effect to a sharp glossy look.

2. Spots on photo style image

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A dirty stamp or ink pad will give an imperfect result.  If an ink pad is too juicy or too much ink is applied, the ink can fill the spaces between the lines and leave dark spots or "starburst" patterns.

If a stamp is cleaned, but not dried, spaces between the raised rubber surface
can be filled with stamp cleaner that transfers to the paper.

3. Parts of the image are missing:

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Some stamps are designed with open spaces.  Image intended to have paper showing through.


If the stamped image appears incomplete, the stamp may not be making full contact with the paper. If the image is not cushioned, the center of stamp is usually the vulnerable area. 

4. Stamped image is dark and muddy:

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If too much ink is used, the stamp can appear blurry.  Fine lines between the dots of rubber are filled causing a single, broad surface instead of rows of tiny dots.

Another difficulty occurs when a stamp is "slammed" to the paper or too much pressure applied to back of stamp.  The rubber is smashed, causing distortion.