Adding some depth to your stamps {Masking}

20 Jul

Now that we’re all a little more familiar with some of the inks commonly used in rubber stamping projects, it’s time to learn a specific technique: masking! When using this technique, you basically stamp one image, cover it, and then stamp another image “behind” it.  This is a great way to add depth to your design by layering colors and images.

I used this effect on my wedding invitations to layer branches of a tree in different colors so that it appeared that one was behind the other.  Here’s a look, just before they were ready to be assembled.

Wedding invitations - almost finished!

Now, if masking seems like something you’d like to try, here are step-by-step instructions.

Step One: Plan your design

Start thinking of what kind of image you’d like to make, and pick out your stamps and paper.  Keep in mind that you will need to cut out a mask of the image that will be “in front”, so the more complex it is, the more difficult this task will be.  I decided to go with wood grain stamp as the background, and a very basic circle as the image in the foreground.  I also picked an A2 notecard in khaki.

Plan out your design by choosing rubber stamps and paper.

It’s also a good time to start thinking about your color scheme.  Remember, since you will be applying multiple layers of ink, quick-drying chalk ink is an excellent choice.  I used pigment-based ink for the burgundy branches on my wedding invitations, but allowed them to dry for a couple of days before I added the brown branches in.  This time, I decided to use all chalk ink so I can do it quickly {I also just picked up Charcoal and Prussian Blue inks last night, and I’m dying to try them out!}.  Everything so far is from Paper Source {I know … big surprise!}.

Choose your color scheme.

Step Two: Create a mask

This is the step that gets a little tricky if you’ve picked a complex image for the foreground.  I chose a circle this time so that my cutting skills wouldn’t be tested too much!  In order to make the a mask for your foreground image, stamp it directly onto a post-it note.  Try to position your stamp over the sticky edge as much as possible, as that will help hold your mask in place later on.

Then carefully cut around the image getting as close to the edge as possible.  If you leave space around the image, you will end up with a kind of “halo” effect in your finished product, which may or may not be what you’re going for.  This part can be a little tedious, especially if you have something with small details like the branches I used on the invitations; but keep in mind, you can keep using the same mask over and over again.  The ink will start bleeding through your mask over time as it gets heavy with ink, so it’s best to have a couple on hand if you’re planning on making a lot of copies.  I made close to one hundred wedding invitations, and only had to create a handful of masks.

In this case, I decided to have two circles in the foreground, so I will need to make two masks.

Create a mask.

Step Three: Stamp your images

First stamp your foreground images on the notecard.  It’s always best to apply firm, even pressure from above without rocking the stamp back and forth.  I used the Charcoal ink for my circles.  Once dry, place the masks directly over your stamped images using the stickiness of the post-it to hold it in place. Then, carefully stamp your background image on top of your masked images so that this design will only be seen around your original images.  I used Prussian Blue on the wood grain stamp.

Step Three: Stamp your foreground images.

Stamp your foreground images.

Place your masks directly over the stamped images {Obviously not the first time I've used these masks!}

And, voila!  When you remove the stamp and pull away your masks, you should find a design that looks like it has some depth to it.  This is a pretty simple example, but should give you the basics so that you can start imagining all of the possibilities!  Happy stamping!

Finished product!


2 Responses to “Adding some depth to your stamps {Masking}”


  1. Wednesday Wish List {Yellow Owl Workshop} « wedding withdrawal - September 21, 2011

    […] I am ever lucky enough to get one of these, I will definitely be testing out my masking skills again!  Happy stamping! Eco World Content From Across The Internet. Featured on […]

  2. A very happy anniversary {DIY Memory Box} « wedding withdrawal - September 28, 2011

    […] cards down to size in some fun colors and inserted a stamped image of the same birds I used on our wedding invitations behind a heart punch cut-out.  I made more than enough cards so that we still have some blank ones […]

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