With the right materials, stamping is fun and easy! Find out which basic supplies you need to start stamping beautiful cards, scrapbook pages, and gift items today.
Basic Supplies You Need to Start Stamping
Every stamper is unique. That’s why Stampin’ Up!® catalogues are so jam-packed with supplies — to meet every stamper’s needs. But if you’ve never stamped before, how do you know what you need? Simple — just start with the basics!
Here’s a little video I put together to show you what the basic stamping supplies are, and explain why you need them. The same info is explained below in this post, if you prefer reading to watching.
Start with the Basics
Anytime you begin a new creative hobby, it’s always wise to start with just the basic, essential materials. This way you can explore a little, and figure out what your creative style is before deciding how to expand your supply collection.
To start stamping, the basic, essential materials you need are:
With just these three supplies, you can create clean, simple works of art. As you do, you’ll also start to get a sense of what other products you want to try, and which ones fit your unique creative style.
The Best Basics for Beginners
Of course, even among these basic supplies, there are many options to choose from. So to help you start stamping quickly and easily, here are my recommendations for the best ones for beginners.
1. Photopolymer (Clear) Stamps
Since stamps are the basis of stamping, you need at least one to start. Stamps come in all shapes, sizes, and themes. In addition, they come in three main styles:
- Clear-mount (aka ‘foam-mount)
- Photopolymer (aka ‘acrylic’ or ‘clear’)
Although each stamp style has its merits, I suggest starting with photopolymer stamps.
Photopolymer stamps are totally clear, as are the blocks with which you use them. This makes it very easy to stamp images exactly where you want them to go, every single time!
One important thing to know about photopolymer stamps is that the clear blocks you need to use them are sold separately. But you only over need one set to use with all of your stamps. Plus, you don’t have to buy them all at once. Stampin’ Up! offers individual clear blocks, as well as sets, to best meet your crafting budget.
2. Archival & Dye-based Inks
Like stamps, ink comes in several varieties. But when you first start stamping, you don’t need them all! For beginning stampers, I recommend sticking to two kinds of ink:
- Archival ink
- Dye-based ink
Archival ink is permanent, waterproof, acid-free, and light-fast. So it’s ideal for stamping images you plan to color with most mediums, including watercolors and water-based markers. Archival ink is also the best choice for images you want to last a long time, like titles on scrapbook pages.
Dye-based ink is water-based and pigmented to produce vibrant colors. This kind of ink is perfect for stamping colorful solid images and outlines, and can be used with blender pens as a substitute for watercolor paints or markers. Also, if you plan to color your images with solvent or alcohol markers, dye-based ink is the best choice.
To give yourself a little creative flexibility, consider choosing one archival ink, and a couple of colorful dye-based ink pads to start.
Stampin’ Up! offers archival inks in ‘Basic Black’ and ‘Basic Gray’, and dye-based inks in all of our exclusive colors. If you need a black ink pad to use with solvent or alcohol markers, we also offer the Memento® ink pad in ‘Tuxedo Black’.
3. White or Vanilla Cardstock
Although you can stamp on any kind of paper (and many other surfaces), cardstock is the ideal paper for stamping. While it’s available in many different colors, I recommend that you pick white or vanilla cardstock to start. These neutral colors show off every stamped image beautifully, and are perfect for coloring on, too.
Cardstock is available in two main sizes, depending on how you want to use it:
- 8.5- x 11-inch cardstock – Ideal for making standard 4.25- x 5.5-inch cards, small scrapbook pages, and small gift items
- 12×12 cardstock – Great for 12×12 scrapbook pages, larger cards, and bigger gift items
Another option, if you plan to only make cards, is pre-made note cards. These are made of cardstock, but you don’t have to bother with trimming them to size or folding them. Stampin’ Up! offers them in packs of 20, including matching envelopes.
Other Helpful Basic Stamping Supplies
Stamps, ink, and cardstock are all you need to start stamping. However, there are a few other basic supplies that make stamping much easier, especially when you’re just starting out.
Stamp Cleaner & Scrubber
It’s always good to clean your stamps when switching between ink colors, and before putting them away after use. This keeps them in tip-top shape, and prevents your ink pads from getting ‘muddy’. The best way to clean your stamps is with a conditioning stamp cleaner spray and a stamp scrubber. Used together, these remove ink from even the most detailed stamps.
If you stamp, I guarantee that — at some point — you’ll get ink on your work surface. So to avoid the risk of wrecking your table or desk, a surface protector is helpful. This could be a plastic tablecloth or placemat, or even just some scrap paper. Another great alternative is a grid paper pad. Not only will it protect your work surface, but it has grid lines for measuring project pieces, and you can write notes on it, too.
Unless you use note cards that are already cut and folded for you, you’ll need a way to cut and fold your cardstock to make cards. Scissors and a ruler will work for this, but can be imprecise. A great alternative is a paper trimmer that includes swappable scoring blades. Having one will make it easy to get accurate cuts, and crisp folds.
Something to Color With
If the first stamps you choose are ‘outline’ stamps — ones that create an outline image that you color in by hand — consider adding a coloring medium, like markers, to your start-up supply list. Just make sure that the medium you choose is also compatible with the ink you choose!
If you want to add layers to your projects, you’ll need adhesive to stick them together. You can get by with a light application of white glue for cardstock layers. However, if you plan to use light-weight paper, choose a dry adhesive like a tape-runner or double-sided tape instead.
Cardmaking Kits – A Fun, Alternative Way to Start Stamping
If basic stamps, ink, and paper seem a little too ‘plain’ to you, cardmaking kits are a fun, alternative way to start stamping.
Each kit includes a variety of basic supplies plus some fun extras, in a lovely kraft storage box:
- Photopolymer stamps
- A ‘Basic Black’ ink spot (1×1-inch ink pad)
- One clear block
- Pre-cut and pre-folded cards in different sizes
- Various pre-cut designer paper pieces
- Coordinating embellishments
All you need to complete the projects in these kits is your choice of adhesive.
Stamps, ink, and cardstock are the only supplies you absolutely need to start stamping. With just these basics, you can explore your creative side, and create clean, simple works of art. Then, when you’re ready to take your stamping to the next level, the unique stamping style you’ve developed will point you towards other stamping supplies that are perfect for you!
So what questions do you have about these basic stamping supplies that I can answer for you? Remember, I’m always here to help!