Monday 31 March 2014

New issue out this Friday!

Don't miss the May issue, out this Friday, 4th April!

In this issue:
  • Make your own peg stamps from rubber-topped pencils
  • Make tactile projects with knitting yarn
  • Create a gorgeous background with leftover letter stickers
  • Part Two of our Gelatos Masterclass

Our cover stamp is designed by R. Maria Sabina and our featured cover girl is Lydia Brooke Evans.

Available from Traplet shop, selected WH Smith and Hobbycraft stores, and independent newsagents and craft stores

Craft Stamper's Crop of the Month - March

Hello and "servus" from Vienna!

Claudia here today, enjoying the special delight and honour of doing a monthly round up from now on in which I will shine spotlights on some of the DT makes that caught my eye - and maybe also sometimes share a project done by me and inspired by one of those spotlights.

Just some days ago we had the chance to learn a bit more about Craft Stamper designer Chris Dark and her "love for detail" (as shown with this adorable make of hers):

At the start of the month Lydia was taking it a bit further in this post (by "it" I am talking about a technique she demonstrates in Craft Stamper's March issue) and just created the two most gorgeous bunnies I have ever seen on an utterly lovely card ! The colouring and shading are absolutely adorable and make them pop even more!

Renee created a real colour explosion with her DT make for the Take It Make It challenge:

The bright, glowing yellow, red and orange alongside the white create the impression of fire and ember! The simplicity of the black yarn wrapped around the pocket is the perfect addition as it does not steel the show off the vibrant colours! She definitely has created her own visual style ;)

Tracy did a most wonderful butterfly canvas with terrific monoprinted texture on it to inspire players and readers of this month's Take It Make It challenge! (By the way: don't miss out on the April challenge! ;)

I  just love her subtle use of  words and letters and the book page the butterfly is made from. And take a closer look at how the stitched frame keeps her butterfly from flying away! This reminds me to make better use of some of my butterfly stamps...

....and for a finish I want to highlight this lovely card from Dot Allan,  who used one of my favourite flowers on it: thistles!  I especially like their shape and the fact that thistles combine the tenderness of a flower with something as combative as prickles! And that monoprinted background is just perfect for the theme she chose! Wow!

I hope this tiny extract of inspirational fireworks will not only inspire you but maybe also let you browse through some of the March posts you might have missed otherwise. Maybe you will pay some of the Designer's blogs a visit (or two). But in any case I hope you leave with the urge of  creating! See you in a month!

Claudia x

Friday 28 March 2014

Be part of the Stamping Contrasts Challenge!

Would you like to play along with our popular Stamping Contrasts challenge?

Our next challenge is sponsored by Visible Image who have supplied these gorgeous Thinking of You stamps for our designers to play with. For the first time, we are asking one of our readers to be an additional guest designer - it could be you!!!

Fancy giving it a go? 
Post link to a favourite card here or post a picture on our Facebook post (make sure you include stamping) and say something about it. Add a blog link if you have one (not a requirement).

We will choose our favourite designer to take part in the challenge. You will be provided with a free of charge stamp set which you get to keep. Your makes will be showcased on the Craft Stamper blog.

You must be able to:

  • Produce two items of art using the stamp set and send them to us for photography (we will return them)
  • Write up details of your makes that we can publish on the blog.
  • Do all this by 25th April (stamps will be posted by 4th April)
Good luck! Entries close midnight 2nd April (international submissions welcome)

Take It Make It March Challenge - The Winner!

Hello everyone!
Thank you so much to all those who played along with our seventh challenge - Monoprinting with an acrylic block. We were absolutely delighted that so many of you played along with this one, we hope you had a great time getting messy with the technique!
The DT were blown away by the standard of the entries, but there can only be one winner! That honour goes to.........
Entry number 6: Hermine

Congratulations Hermine!
We loved the gorgeous greens, and the stamping going over the edges of the card is just beautiful!
The winning entry will be published in Craft Stamper Magazine (I hope you kept it somewhere safe Hermine!), and the winner will also receive this fabulous limited edition paint set from our sponsor:
Paper Artsy:

As well as our worthy winner, we also have the remaining two spots in our Top Three to reveal! In no particular order, they are..... drum roll......
Congratulations ladies!
If the Winner could Email me (just click the 'posted by' name at the bottom of the post), then I can pass on all the details about the prize, publication and of course the Guest DT slot! Top Three, please Email me for your winners buttons to display on your blogs!  For anyone else who would like to, please feel free to grab the button below....
A huge THANK YOU to all those of you that took part in our repeat stamping challenge!
Don't forget, we are now going monthly! The first Friday of every month will see the start of the next challenge.... so check back here next Friday, 4th of April to see which technique is next!

Tuesday 25 March 2014

Meet the team - Chris Dark

Welcome to the second in our regular series turning the spotlight on some of the designers who contribute to Craft Stamper on a regular basis. This month, we're finding out a bit more about Chris Dark, a super-versatile stamper who seems equally at home with cute, grungy, artsy, altered... you get the picture!

Hi everyone, I'm Chris and I live and work in the south east of England near the lovely city of Brighton.

Art and craft has been a part of my life since childhood and I've tried many crafts over the years which I still enjoy going back to now and then. The magic of taking a rubber stamp, stamping with embossing ink and melting the embossing powder gave me the stamping bug when I saw a demonstration at a craft show in 2007. I've since enjoyed a lovely hobby which has led me to designing stamps for four companies, becoming part of the Swedish Magnolia stamp company design team and being published in their magazine, travelling to Sweden to demonstrate water colouring together with demonstrating and tutoring locally and at large craft shows around the country. 

When I was invited to be a designer for Craft Stamper by Katy in October 2012 it was a dream come true and I continue to enjoy creating for the magazine and being inspired each month by the glorious work of my team mates.

Q: Do you have a signature style or favourite technique?

A: I'm not sure that I have a signature style but I do tend to add a lot of detail to most of my creations whether it be in colouring of stamped character images and their backgrounds as in my card below or backgrounds for tags, cards or mixed media projects with pattern stamps. 

{this project is blogged here}

A favourite technique is to use stamps with embossing ink as seen in my cards below where I used the stamps and inks to make a resist for a distress ink and Perfect Pearls powder background. These cards remain favourites as they were highlighted on Tim Holtz's blog in one of his inspiration posts. 

 {this project is blogged here}

Q: Where do you look for inspiration before you start on a project?

A: I enjoy working with all styles of stamps and all the various ways of making an impression with them so I would say that stamps are probably my main source of inspiration. New inks, paints and mixed media supplies will also get me straight to my stamping table and the art journal spread below led me to using a variety of all of those items. 

{this project is blogged here}

Inspiration will also strike with the changing of the seasons and my most favourite seasonal stamping times are spring and Christmas.

Thanks for allowing me to share my stamping story with you today and I wish you a creative week!

...Thanks for joining us for a little peek "backstage" and thanks to Chris for sharing her projects and story with us in this DT spotlight. If you'd like to see more of Chris's lovely work, you'll find her blog {here}.

Tuesday 18 March 2014

Insider Secrets: PanPastels

Design Team member Joanne Allison reviews her favourite stamping product and tells us what she loves about PanPastels! 

I came to the PanPastel party a bit late but just recently I've bought myself a few and have been having great fun experimenting!

PanPastels are an artist-grade medium. They’re like a stick pastel but they come in cake form (hence ‘pan’) and you can use soft sponge tools to apply them. They cover and blend almost like paint but there’s no waiting around while they dry. Despite being a pastel, they are extremely low-dust – the texture makes me think of expensive, high-quality make-up! 

The concentration of pigment is really high so a little goes a very long way and each colour comes in a tint, the pure tone, a shade and an extra dark version. As they are extremely blendable, you can create new colours by mixing what you have. A decent quality eraser will get rid of any mistakes for you on most surfaces!

Colours will continue to blend as you apply new layers so if you’ve achieved the look you want, it’s advisable to fix your work. Many people use cheap hairspray but I quickly decided I liked them enough that I’d invest in a fixative. Look out for a ‘workable’ one (so you can continue to add stuff over the top if you want to) and take note of any precautions on the container. I opted for the SpectraFix Degas fixative as it’s a natural product and in a pump dispenser so it’s safe to use indoors with no harmful vapours.

For this piece, I decided to try a fairly detailed ‘painting’ using a stamped image as my guide and try out a couple of ‘classic’ PanPastel techniques with VersaMark and stencilling. I used cheap canvas as my base – it’s the sort sold for inkjet printing that you could find in your local £1 shop!

I used four PanPastels here – Diarylide Yellow, Orange, Permanent Red and Permanent Red Shade. The Stampendous Jumbo Rose was stamped a couple of times in an ink that would almost ‘disappear’ once the image was coloured. I coloured the background flower very simply and then used orange and the two shades of red for the foreground flower. A Sofft tool with a sponge cover allowed me to do detailed strokes, using the stamped image as a guide.

To try out the pastels as a base for other media, I mixed things up a bit with some dark red acrylic paint for lowlights and a white Posca pen for highlights, too! To add interest to the yellow background, I stamped the swirl in Versamark and lightly swiped over with orange PanPastel. I also sponged through some drywall tape with the same orange. 

I would advise fixing the pastels before stamping a sentiment. If you stamp straight onto a pastel surface, there’s the risk that the stickiness of the inked stamp will lift the pastel rather than leave a clear impression.

I hope the variety of approaches on this project will give you some ideas for playing with PanPastels yourself!

Friday 14 March 2014

Take It Make It March: Inspiration!

Last week, we launched our brand new monthly Take It, Make It challenge.... Take a technique from Craft Stamper magazine, and Make It your own!
This month, it's all about monoprinting using acrylic blocks, a really fun, messy technique. Lots of you have already joined in and linked up, but for those that haven't, the DT would like to share a little more eye candy to inspire you!

First up, our Guest Designer, Winner of Challenge 6: Lynn Stubbs

Some more stunning examples of monoprinting using an acrylic block, don't you agree?!
If we've inspired you to join in, all the details are HERE!

There are some great prizes on offer, so why not join in?
 We can't wait to see your creations!

Tuesday 11 March 2014

News from Stitches 2014

Today on the blog I’m sharing a little insight into the recent trade fair at the NEC in Birmingham known simply as “Stitches”. It followed on from the big CHA show in the US and Paperworld in Germany and showcased all the latest products from the brands that we love.

It was my first visit to Stitches where I met up with Magda Polakow, my team mate from A Sprinkle of Imagination and here at Craft Stamper. I think the two of us were like two kids in a toy shop, a bit over excited and at times star struck.

I did sort of manage to keep focused on my goal which was to pick out a few of the really interesting products to show you here. So sit down with a cup of tea as it’s a bit of a long post but I’ll try not to bore the pants off you!

If you love pattern, mandala’s and creating framed effects, then you’ll love these Inkadinkado Stamping Gear sets. Although not a new idea (they've been out for a little over a year now), I first saw them on Create and Craft TV and they looked so easy. The idea is that you have a cog with evenly spaced slots and a gear which has a coordinating notch. It works with any cling stamp even though the sets have their own stamps in them and creates amazing patterns and precise frame effects.  At the NEC I got to see the new designs and they seem to have become a whole lot bigger. If you haven’t seen these in action before then just have a look on You Tube or check them out here on Create andCraft. 


Magda and I went off to watch Anna Dabrowska AKA Finnabair demonstrating her stencils with Prima…three times… I think there might have been a bit of fan-girling going on.

I was very taken with the new Prima ink sprays she was using. The colours were gorgeous as you’d expect from Prima but the thing that really got me excited was the design of the spray bottle. It has a proper trigger to it instead of a push top and I was told that this is the reason why they don’t clog up even though they’re mica based but it also means, no more inky fingers either; happy day. As a sufferer of inky fingers I’m looking forward to giving these a go.

The WOW stand had the wow factor of course and one of the big things on their stand this year were the new colours of powder and Silicone Moulds for creating wonderful embellishments and jewellery pieces. Using a special mixing powder to mix with your chosen colour of embossing powder and melted together they create fabulous 3d embellishments. WOW are now going to be selling ring bases too designed to be pushed into the moulds and were demonstrating this on their stand. The moulds are already available on their web site but the rings and binding powder are available at the end of March.

One of my favourite stamp companies is IndigoBlu and I was a very happy bunny to discover their new range called Alter Egos. These are sheets of  laser cut embellishments made of Splodgeboard which is a dense fibreboard, and are designed to match with stamps and stamp sets and also stencils from the same range. They can be painted, inked, used with FlitterGlu and so much more. The splodgeboard is flexible too so they can be moulded and bent to really get dimension on your project. A fabulous addition to anyone who loves mixed media and altered art. They’re light too so are no problem used as embellishments on cards or scrapbook pages. You can see them in action here on Create and Craft TV.

Picture courtesy of Indigo Blu.
It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of all things Sizzix and one new product which got my attention is the Stamper’s Secret Weapon. To be honest I’m thinking where has this been all my life and for anyone who has trouble getting a perfectly stamped impression with those larger stamps, this is definitely for you.

 This is what Sizzix have to say about it: 

No crafter should be without the Sizzix® Stamper’s Secret Weapon™. Inspired by Stephanie Barnard®, this essential kit allows you to create the perfect stamped impressions. It includes a paper piercer and a double-sided stamping/piercing mat for you to stamp and pierce on one mat.

The smooth side of the mat provides the proper surface for creating perfect stamped impressions. At the top of the smooth mat, a coarse bar can be used to quickly pierce small projects or to create holes for brads. The back of the mat is completely coarse for larger piercing projects.

At  30.48 cm x 26.67 cm it’s not small and in my view an essential piece of kit. I’ll be getting my hands one one for sure.
Lavinia Stamps
A new stamp company to me is Lavinia Stamps, certainly not new in the market place but I’d not really investigated them before. Where have I been? After a bit of research into their new designs I’m now a big fan.

With Zentangling becoming more and more popular, their new range of stamps called simply Zen is based around this idea. Gorgeous polymer images so quirky and fun and if you’re like me and can’t wait to get hold of them, some of the images also come in a digital version which you can download immediately.  How gorgeous is this?
picture taken from the Lavinia Stamps web site.
Dina Wakley
I also caught a glimpse of the new stamps and paint ranges from Dina Wakley. Beautiful big stamps and gorgeous paint colours.

Finally after all that excitement I think I deserved the massage that was on offer. 

 I hope I get the chance to go again next year.

Enjoy the sunshine and I'll hopefully be back with lots more industry news.

Jaine Drake for the Craft Stamper Design Team.

Thanks so much for that detailed report Jaine! I went to the show too and have a couple of bits to add!

PaperArtsy have stepped out of their comfort zone a bit this year with some highly original designs on the table and something to suit every taste - from JOFY's pretty and feminine florals to strong geometrics reminiscent of African art by Ellen Vargo and quirky Steampunk-inspired designs by Darcy. PLUS new yummy paint colours and a clever paper range which focusses on subtle designs which add depth and texture to give your makes a kick-start.

Dina Wakley had stencils too - yum!

Plus I fell for these adorable woodland creatures by Sam Poole for Creative Expressions (believe it or not this IS a happy face!!!).

And last but not least, seriously love these lightweight but sturdy alterable drawers from the lovely Di at Tando Creative.
Apologies in advance if we have caused unwanted shopping........................

Katy and Jaine xxx

Friday 7 March 2014

Introducing The New Take It Make It Challenge!

I am very excited to announce.... *cue drum roll*..

The brand new March Challenge!

Yes, we're going monthly as from today! Every month will see a new challenge, which means a new technique to get your teeth into, a new set of prizes to be won, and lots and lots of wonderful eye candy from the DT to look at!

What Can You Win?

For the March challenge,we are delighted to be sponsored by PaperArtsy!

PaperArtsy are a wonderfully innovative company, selling all things altered art! Paints, substrates and of course their very wide and varied range of rubber stamps. The prize we have on offer is a set of limited edition paints  by Jo Firth Young, designed especially to complement her hugely successful stamp range!
PLUS:The Design Team will have a look at all your gorgeous work, and choose their Top Three..... and the overall Winner will get published in Craft Stamper magazine! Yes, the winning entry will appear in the UK's number one stamping magazine!
AND: The Challenge winner will be offered a Guest Designer spot for an upcoming challenge!

So, to recap....A Limited Edition paint set, publication AND a Guest DT spot? Sounds good to me!

Now for the Challenge details!
We want to see how you lovely lot tackle a technique showcased in Craft Stamper magazine.
Trish Latimer has a great messy painty project in the April issue, showcasing a quick and easy printing technique using paint and an acrylic block So, we would love to see your creations using  
Monoprinting with an acrylic block! 
Your project can be anything at all, card, layout, 3D item etc, any theme or colour, AS LONG AS YOU HAVE USED THE MONOPRINTING WTH AN ACRYLIC BLOCK TECHNIQUE ON THERE SOMEWHERE! 
Your print can be used as a background, or you could cut it up and use it in a different way! Don't forget, we also MUST have stamping on each entry as well, this is a Craft Stamper challenge after all!

Not only are we launching the monthly challenge today, we are also launching our brand new........
 Take it, Make It Design Team!
Along with the regular Craft Stamper DT, our new teamies have created some fabulous eye candy using the printing technique. If you click on the artists name, it will take you to their blogs, where there may well be loads more pics of these gorgeous creations! 

From the April 2014 issue: Trish Latimer 
                                                                  Elizabeth Robinson

                                                                       Georgina Ford
                                                                      Nikki Killinger
                                                                     Renee Zarate
                                                                    Riikka Kovasin
                                                                   Shirley Bampton
                                                                     Tracy Easson
WOW... now THAT'S what I call Design Team inspiration! 

 Have we inspired YOU to have a play and enter? Yay!!!
All you need to do now is have a read through the boring (but essential!) rules and guidelines, then upload your entry using the Linky tool at the end of the post! Can't wait to see what you create!

Do you love our challenges as much as we do? Feel free to grab the button and display it with pride!
 Guidelines for Craft Stamper Take It, Make It Challenge
  • Entry dates: Friday March 7th 2014 -  midnight Wednesday March 26th 2014
  • Winner to be announced in a blog post here: 9am Friday March 28th 2014
  • All entries must feature the monoprinting with an acrylic block technique.
  • All entries must contain stamping.
  •  No digi stamps please, unless combined with actual stamping.
  • The winning entry MUST be posted to the magazine for photography before it can be published. Please keep hold of your entry, we cannot publish in the magazine images sent via computer.
  • Entry is via the linking tool at the end of the post. We are very sorry that we can't accept email entries to this challenge. Please provide deep links to your actual project post, not just a link to your blog (to do this, click on the title of the relevant blog entry and copy/paste the URL in the relevant box when uploading your entry). When judging many entries, the DT do not have time to go searching your entire blog for the project we want to see!
  • No backlinking.
  • New work only please, not work previously published anywhere else.
  • Entry is welcome from anywhere in the world.
  • Multiple entry is fine, as long as each piece is original and fulfills all the entry requirements.
  • Entries can be combined with other blog challenges
  • A link back to the Craft Stamper Blog must be included in your blog post.
  • The April 2014 challenge will be announced here on Friday April 4th 2014, at 9am.
PLEASE consider turning off word verification on your blog. It is very difficult for the DT to comment on as many blogs as we would like to when word verification slows us down!

Competition rules: Competitions/giveaways are open to all (including overseas readers) except employees of Traplet Publications Ltd and their families; regular contributors to any of Traplet Publications’ magazines; employees of our printers; or anyone connected with the prizes offered. By entering the competition you accept that your project may be printed in the magazine. All entries must be received by midnight on the specified closing date. There are no cash alternatives and prizes are non-transferable. We reserve the right to use the winners’ name/work in any Traplet-produced literature including, but not exclusive to, our website and marketing materials. Judges decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.