Oxford Impressions has several collections designed for Home Decor use - three sizes of upper case distressed letters, a set of lower case letters and a collection of distressed numbers. Stamped signs are fun and easy to make using these collections and a few common materials.
First, trim and mount the rubber stamps for use. **See the tutorial "Mounting your Unmounted Stamps".
Step 2 - Prepare the surface to be stamped. If the wood grain is rough, sand the wood smooth. After sanding, apply a coat of gesso or a base coat of paint if color is desired.
Step 3 - Once paint is dry, lay out rubber stamps to insure the word or phrase will fit on the surface size. Mark a straight line on the wooden surface. Low tack tape can also be used to indicate a straight line.
Step 4 - Next, line up the letters on an acrylic block. If the block is not lined, create a line with tape.
Step 5 - Ink the stamp. The alphabets are deep etched to insure a clean stamp when ink is properly applied. The best way to do this is with the rubber face up. One can see exactly where the ink should go and make sure there is adequate coverage. It will also keep the cut edges of the stamp from picking up ink that could transfer to the project. If any ink accidentally touches the edge of the cut rubber, use a damp towel to wipe clean.
Step 6 - The above photo is what a properly inked stamp should look like. The ink covers the surface, but does not clog the design. The ink is smooth and even, not beading up on the surface. Dye inks give a good, clean result. This sample was stamped with a black Staz-On ink pad.
Step 7 - Test the line up, spacing and ink coverage by making a test stamp on a scrap of paper. Adjust letters accordingly and re-apply ink. Make sure to test stamp any repositioning. This is the perfect time to check for the correct letter orientation. Even though I did a test stamp on scrap paper, I missed the fact that I had my "N" upside down!
Step 8 - Position acrylic block along the taped line and press firmly. It is not necessary to "rock" the block. Rocking may cause the letters to smear.
Step 9 - Lift the acrylic block straight up off the wood. Remove the rubber stamped letters from the block and clean the stamps. Line up the remaining letters and test stamp on the scrap paper. Reposition if necessary and re-ink. Stamp the remaining letters on the wood.
It is a good idea to heat set any craft ink after stamping. The sign can be embellished with other imagery or paint. After ink is dry and set, apply a sealer to retain the stamped image longer term - especially if the sign is for outdoor use. Test any sealer/ink combination on a scrap of wood before spraying finished project. Multiple, light applications of sealer generally work best.