Patterned paper adds fun color, texture, and contrast to stamped projects. Sometimes, though, finding the right paper to match a project can be difficult. That’s when random stamping really comes in handy. With this simple technique, you can easily make custom patterned papers to fit every project!
What is Random Stamping?
Random stamping is a kind of ‘repeat stamping’ — stamping the same image several times. However, instead of just stamping the images any old way, you:
- Stamp them in evenly-spaced triangle formations
- Rotate your cardstock a quarter turn after stamping each image
As a result, the images appear to have been scattered randomly across the paper.
However, they’re actually organized in a way that makes perfect sense to our brains.
What makes sense to our brains also looks ‘good’ to our eyes. That’s why print designers often use a similar technique to create attractive wrapping papers, fabrics, bed sheets, etc.
The How-To’s of Random Stamping
Does random stamping sound hard? It did to me, too, the first time someone explained it. However, random stamping is actually very easy to do once you see it in action.
So to help you, I’ve put together a simple tutorial. Follow along, and soon you’ll be totally hooked on random stamping, and making your own patterned papers!
Supplies for Random Stamping
For this technique, you’ll need:
- 1 to 3 small- to medium-sized stamps
- A piece of plain-colored cardstock
- 1 to 3 ink pads, in colors of your choice
- Scratch paper or the like to protect your work surface (You’ll be stamping off the edge of the paper sometimes throughout this technique!)
TIP: Although inking stamps with markers is fun, using ink pads is more efficient for random stamping.
I. Make a Base Pattern
1. Cover your work surface to protect it from ink stains.
2. Lay the cardstock on your work surface, with one edge pointing straight at you.
3. Locate the approximate center of the cardstock.
4. Now ink your stamp with your ink pad, and then stamp it slightly away from the cardstock center.
5. Rotate your cardstock a quarter turn (90 degrees) to the right.
6. Ink the stamp again, and then stamp it at about an inch above and slightly to the right of the first image.
7. Again, rotate your cardstock a quarter turn (90 degrees) to the right.
8. Once again, ink your stamp, and then stamp it about an inch above and slightly to the right of the previous image.
You should now have a triangle of images that are fairly evenly spaced apart, but rotated in different directions.
9. Rotate your cardstock a quarter turn (90 degrees) to the right.
10. Ink your stamp once more, and then stamp it so that it forms a triangle with any two previous stamped images.
You should now have two overlapping triangles of evenly-spaced images.
11. Repeat steps 9 and 10 as many times as needed to cover the rest of the cardstock with stamped images in this same manner. As you stamp, keep these things in mind:
- Try to space your images fairly evenly apart
- Each image you stamp should create a triangle with the two previous stamped images.
- Don’t be afraid to stamp off the edge of the paper slightly — or even mostly — to finish a well-spaced triangle of images. That’s what the scratch paper is for.
You now have a basic piece of patterned paper that would look great as-is on a project. But if you feel like your paper is too basic, make it more colorful and interesting by adding a second random stamping pattern to it.
II. Add Another Pattern
Once you’ve laid down a base pattern, adding another pattern to your paper is easy!
Start by inking up a different stamp in a different color of ink than you used to make the base pattern. Then, stamp it in one of the empty spaces between the base images.
Now, continuing to work in the empty spaces, use the random stamping technique to create loose triangle formations of this second image.
When finished, you’ll have a more colorful, interesting background paper to add to your projects!
Of course, you can always add more patterns to your paper in the same way, with additional stamps and ink colors. However, I don’t recommend using more than three stamps and ink colors to do this. As you can see below, the more stamps you use, the harder it gets to create good triangle configurations with the images.
Want to Make This Card?
To make the card featured in this tutorial, click any link to visit my online shop, and get the supplies you need!
Isn’t random stamping fun? It really is a fabulous technique for making custom patterned papers that coordinate perfectly with your stamped projects!
Random stamping can also help you stretch your crafting budget. For example, I used the paper that I made in this tutorial to make a card for friend who just had a baby.
Since I don’t make many baby cards these days, I also don’t have much in the way of baby stamps or papers. But with random stamping, I was still able to create something sweet, and not have to buy new supplies.
Even if you struggle with random stamping at first, I guarantee that, like any technique, it will get easier every time you do it. Eventually, you won’t even have to think about things like image spacing and rotating your cardstock — it will all become second nature.
If you have any questions about this or any other stamping technique, I’m always here to help.