Hybrid Happiness Card Making Class Day 3

Welcome to week 2 – lesson 3 of our hybrid card class.

Today we will be talking a little about digital stamps.  Then we will be preparing a card from a new template and adding a digital stamp.

What are digital stamps?

Digital stamps are black and white images that can be printed and used like you would use a traditional stamped image.  There are some advantages to digital stamps:

  • the images are generally less expensive
  • they take up little storage space
  • they can be resized to fit your projects
  • they can be flipped, altered and combined (no masking required)

The challenge with digital stamps is coloring them without the stamp lines bleeding into your coloring.

In this part of the class we will be exploring all the advantages of digital stamps and discussing ways around the main disadvantage.

 Downloading today’s digital stamps

In today’s course supplies you will find a set of floral digital stamps.  You can of course also use any digital stamps you already own. You will also find a PSE template for today’s card.

You can download your Day 3 supplies here.

Generally, digital stamps come in 3 file types, and many digital designers include all 3 in their products.  If you are curious about the file types and their differences, take a peek at this video.

Day 3 video 1:  Digital Stamp File Types.

We will also be creating a sentiment using the text tool.  If you would like to use the same font that I’m using in my sample you can download it here:

Will and Grace font

Coloring digital stamps

Digital stamps provide amazing creative opportunities, but they do have one drawback.  Since you are printing the image, you cannot easily control the type of ink used.  This means you will need to adapt how you color to suit the ink.  It is the opposite of what we generally do with rubber stamping, where we decide how we want to color and then chose the ink the works best with that coloring method.

It also probably means you want to use a different type of paper for coloring your digital images than what you use to print your digital papers.  The brochure paper or photo paper is coated to make the printer ink more vibrant.  But these same coatings may not be what you want when hand coloring.  For example, the coating will grab marker ink (Copic and others) and make it much more difficult to color smoothly and blend.  For this reason, I recommend printing your digital stamp images separately from the rest of your card.  I will show you my method of doing this in the video.

If I use a good quality cardstock with my printer, I have no problem coloring with Copic Markers, Prismacolor pencils or chalk.

But water coloring often causes the image lines to run and water based markers are difficult because I will get ink smears if I touch the lines with the marker.  If I have my heart set on water coloring or using water based markers, I have to spray my images with a workable matte fixative.  This does help, but the ink will still bleed if I use too much water.

Having said all of this, keep in mind that there are many different combinations of printers, inks, cardstocks and coloring methods being used.  Print outs from laser printers are usually much more resistant to smearing than inkjet printers, but most home printers are ink jet printers.

You may need to do a little experimentation to find out what works best for you and your printer.

Coloring tips

If you have trouble with the image lines smearing you can try some of these tips.

Print your digital stamps on good quality cardstock, the same you would use for stamping.  I mainly color with Copic markers and my 2 favorite papers are X-Press It Blending Card and Neenah Classic Crest, but there are many other good quality cardstocks out there.  Keep in mind that the cardstock will need to pass through your printer, so some of the very heavy weight cardstocks may not be the best choice.  They may not feed through the printer easily.

If smearing is still an issue, try letting your printed images sit for a while (or overnight) to dry completely.  You can also try heat setting the ink if you have a heat gun.

If you have access to a toner based photocopier, try photocopying your images on to the cardstock you wish to use.  Toner ink is bonded with the paper and more resistant to smearing.

Use a coloring method with as little water as possible.

Try spraying your images with a matte workable fixative to reduce smearing.  You can find workable fixative in the spray paint or artist section of you local craft store.

Some other things to consider:

Keep in mind that your printed digital papers may react to water as well so avoid spraying or splashing them when cleaning up.

Other water based products like adhesives (crystal effects, Mod Podge) and glitter glues (Stickles) may also react with the printer ink.  You may want to test them before using them on your project.

Font Sources

There are so many wonderful fonts available to make sentiments and word art for your cards.  Many of the fonts are available for free for personal use.  If you plan to sell your work, you should check the terms of use for the font to make sure it can be used commercially.

I’ll post links to a few of my favorite font sites in the class forum thread – and hopefully others will too.  I love finding new font sources!


 Creating a card with a digital stamp

Below are some videos describing how I created the card with the digital stamp above.  I’ve broken them into shorter segments to make it easier to view the parts of interest.


In this video, we will set up the template with our digital supplies and talk about shadowing layers.

Day 3 Video 2: Adding Papers to the card template


In this video, we will use the text tool to create the sentiment and learn how to clip a digital paper into the text.

Day 3 Video 3: Using the text tool to create a sentiment


In this video, we will size the digital stamp for our card and prep it for printing.  We will also discuss using templates with manual die cut machines and cutting dies.

Day 3 Video 4: Adding the digital stamp


On Thursday, we will be creating focal image for a card using multiple digital stamps.  We will also be having our second card challenge – so come by and check it out!


If you are interested in additional digital stamps, I have a coupon code for you. Just enter pgpclassfun and the shopping cart will take 50% off all digital stamps in the Paper Garden Projects store  at the Digichick (most of the stamp sets are on page 3). The coupon is good through Feb. 15, 2013.


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