Our guide to digi stamps
As avid crafters will have noticed, digi stamps have exploded in popularity, so we share our top tips on how to get the best from them...
What is a digi stamp?
A digi stamp is an image you can buy (or occasionally download for free) from craft websites. They may also be called digital stamps, or more affectionately ‘digis’. Once you’ve bought your stamp, you can simply print it off and colour it in as you would with a traditional stamped image. You can also buy pre-coloured digi stamps if colouring isn't your strongest skill or if you're looking to make cards in a hurry. We love this darling digi design by Sherry West.
What is the difference between digi stamps and Clip Art?
Although elements of digi stamps are similar to Clip Art, there is a big difference. Most digi stamps have been designed by crafters, for crafters – so they understand what stampers like! Digi stamps are designed to be fun to colour or to create stunning effects. There are even renowned artists (such as children’s book illustrator Mo Manning) who design them.
The second point of difference is that digi stamps are higher quality to give you sharper outlines and to allow you to resize without a loss in resolution (print quality). Sometimes you’ll find the file name of a digi stamp ends in .png which means the background is ‘transparent’. Look out for these if you want to print image onto coloured or patterned paper. You can print digi stamps onto textured card and colour them with brush markers for a watercoloured effect.
How much do digi stamps cost?
A huge benefit of digi stamps is their cost. Most retail at only a couple of pounds (or dollars, Euros, etc.) making them substantially cheaper than wood-mounted, rubber or clear stamps. You can download and use them straight away, making them ideal if you need to make a card in a hurry.
Can you resize a digi stamp?
Depending on what software you have, it is also possible to resize and even flip (create a mirror image of) the digital images to make them appropriate for cards of any shape or size. You can do this on Paint (which should already be installed if you have Windows) or Photoshop. Picasa and Gimp are image manipulation programmes you can download for free. It is easy to resize images in Word too and many computers will have this programme ready-installed.
How easy are digi stamps to use?
With digi stamps, you’re guaranteed a perfect image every time (as long as there's enough ink in your printer!). You won’t need to worry about over- or under-inking a stamp or getting shaky hands ever again! Digi stamps are really quick to use, too. Use the Copy and Paste function on your computer to fill a page with lots of digi stamps and print them off in a matter of minutes.
How do you store digi stamps?
The beauty of digi stamps is that there are no physical storage problems! If you’re anything like us and your craft room is over-flowing with rubber stamps, then digi stamps are a lifesaver as they can be stored on your computer or on CD. If you do a lot of travelling, pop them onto a USB stick and you can take them with you!
Do I need a fancy printer to print off my digi stamps?
No, any type of printer can do the job, however, the type of printer that you use can make a big difference to the quality of your printed image.
How do you colour digi stamps?
You can colour your printed image with whatever medium you prefer. However, depending on your printer, you may find that colouring your image with watercolours or alcohol markers (such as Copics or ProMarkers) can cause the outlines to smudge. If this happens, don’t worry as there are a number of solutions. It’s best to experiment and see which one you prefer.
Firstly, you can try blasting the image with a heat gun to set the ink. Alternatively, drawing over the image with an embossing pen and heat embossing with clear powder will do the job if the image isn’t too fiddly – but intricate images take forever to treat in this way! You could also spray the printed image with hairspray for a quick fixative effect!.
Do I need to buy special paper when printing off digi stamps?
After extensive testing, we have found that you get the best results printing onto card or paper of at least 120gsm (this refers to the weight of the paper). This will ensure that your image looks professional and any colour you add will really ‘pop’! Just double-check that your printer can take thicker paper and card before trying to print. Most printers can, but you may have to adjust your settings.
Are there any Angel Policies when using digi stamps?
When you’re buying digi stamps you’ll notice that most websites list an Angel Policy. It is essential that you read this thoroughly to ensure you don’t infringe copyright laws. Generally, you can print off the stamps to colour in by hand to make your cards, which can then be sold for profit. Usually you are not allowed to print off and sell, share or swap the digi stamps without first making them into a card, or to go into mass production using the digi stamp design.
Can you buy digi stamps from other countries?
A further benefit of digi stamps is you can buy from sites around the world and not have to wait ages for delivery or pay hefty shipping prices. Visit a currency converter site (we like www.xe.com) for an estimate of how much your digi costs.
9 of our favourite digi stamp stockists
Section Editor, Your Home