Stamping 101

Lesson 1 – Tools of the Trade

There are 3 essentials when it comes to stamping:  STAMPS, INK AND PAPER.



Stampin’ Up! offers 3 styles of stamps: Red Rubber in both traditional wood mount and clear mount as well as Photopolymer (the newest to join the family).  Watch my video in my All About Series explaining all the specifics for each style and learn some tips and tricks in using them.

You can find a stamp for practically any imaginable need.  When just getting started, I make these two suggestions: 1.  Consider: What is your need?  What kind of card or project are you looking to make?  2.  With this end goal in mind, look for a stamp set that could be more versatile beyond that project.  We have many sets in the catalog that are what I call “Super Sets”.  These sets have a combination of sentiments, backgrounds and artistry.  The following is a short list of suggested Super Sets just to give you an idea.  There are many, many more available.  All stamp sets on this list are available for $25 or less:

  1. Detailed with Love (page 39)
  2. P.S. You’re the Best (page 48)
  3. Happy Birthday Gorgeous (page 72)
  4. Little Elephant (page 91)
  5. Labels to Love (page 103)
  6. Best Birds (page 108)
  7. Sheltering Tree (page 140)
  8. Waterfront (page 149)
  9. Oh So Eclectic (page 156)
  10. Bouquet Blooms (page 167)

Do you have a copy of the new Annual Catalog?  Click here to find out how to get your FREE copy and/or to view it online now.

This is where the inspiration starts to ignite!


Stampin’ Up! offers several styles of ink and there is so much that you can do with it!  We have Classic (Dye) Ink Pads in each of our 50 beautiful colors as well as some specialty ink pads.   However, when it comes to putting color onto your stamped images and projects we won’t just limit you to ink pads. There are 2 kinds of markers as well – Stampin’ Write (Dye Based) and Stampin’ Blends (Alcohol Based).  I have a video explaining the different kinds of ink and when to use them as well as other coloring options.

This is where the fun begins!


As great and wonderful as ink is, it isn’t much in the paper crafting world unless it’s put on paper.  Stampin’ Up! has some of the finest quality of paper that I have had the pleasure of working with (and believe me when I say I have tried A LOT!).  From our ultra smooth Whisper White and Very Vanilla, that is above all others when it comes to providing you with a clean crisp image, to its newer cousin the Ultra Thick which not only has the same stampability but makes luxurious card bases in the same two colors.  You will also fall in love with rest of the high quality, thick cardstock in perfect color match to our ink colors (never have to worry again if your shades of color will clash). SU! also carries an entire line of specialty papers and a line of Design Series Paper Collections that will blow your socks off!  Learn more about SU! Papers and watch my paper test to see why I think SU! paper is the best available!

This is where your vision starts to come to life!

That sums up the Essential 3 in Stamping.  However, in order to create a finished product you will also need a basic tool kit.  I think everyone’s opinion will begin to vary here.  I’m sure some of the items I feel like I couldn’t craft without NOW are things that I did not have when I first start in this craft 20 years ago and I have kept this in mind as I created this starter tool kit list.

My husband always says having the proper tools for the job makes the task so much more pleasant and I completely agree with him (even though I think my tools are waaaay cooler than his tools – LOL)!

  1. Stampin’ Trimmer (126889)  It’s name is somewhat misleading because it does so much more than trimming paper! I always keep extra blade refills on hand as well (126995) (NOTE:  I have a video in my All About Series specifically for this wonderful trimmer because it is JUST THAT AWESOME!  Learn more HERE)
  2. Paper Snips (103579) These super sharp snips are perfect for fussy cutting your stamped images, creating banner ends, and so much more.  I love that they come with a plastic blade guard that helps to protect from the sharp edges/tip when not in use.
  3. Stampin’ Pierce Mat (126199) Not only does this mat protect your work surface when using your piercing tool, it is the perfect dense cushion on which to stamp your photopolymer stamps to assure a clean, crisp image (you will learn more about this in the first lesson on stamping.
  4. Simply Shammy (147042) and/or Stampin’ Scrub (126200) with Stampin’ Mist (102394)  You are making an investment when you purchase stamps.  With proper care and cleaning they will last you a VERY long time (some of mine are 15+ years old!) I don’t think I could ever do without my Stampin’ Scrub/Mist; however, I am LOVING my new Simply Shammy and I feel confident in saying that if your budget is tight you would be fine to start with the shammy until you can add the Stampin’ Scrub and Mist to your collection.
  5. Adhesives – Stampin’ Up offers a wide assortment of adhesives; however, not every adhesive can be used in every job.  There is a chart on page 213 of the 2018-19 catalog for suggested uses for each adhesive (Printable version: Adhesive Cheat Sheet).  I use them all; however, I would recommend you start with the most useful 3 (this is my opinion of course, based on what I use the most): Multipurpose Liquid Glue (110755), Snail (104332) and Stampin’ Dimensionals (regular: 104430 or mini: 144108)

Basic Tool Kit

NOTE:  Ordering your basic tool kit from me using the current Host Code will earn you some FREE goodies.  Read more about using the Host Code and my Stampers with Benefits club and the perks that come with it.  Additionally, if you send me an email letting me know you ordered your tool kit with me, I’ll send you a Clear Mount Stamp case to store your Simply Shammy for FREE!

A few other items I highly recommend you add to your collection, as you are able, are a Bone Folder (102330) for making crisp, clean fold lines, Grid Paper (130148) for protecting your work surface and providing a ruler and lines for placement, and the Stampin’ Scrub 126200) and Stampin’ Mist (102394) for thorough cleaning and care of your stamps and maybe a punch or two in basic shapes for adding additional elements to your projects (such as the Starburst/143717, Pretty Label/143715,  Everyday Label/144668 or Scalloped Tag Topper/133324).

Highly Recommended Supplements to the Basic Tool Kit

Grid Paper


The basic tool kit is just that – basic.  It’s not too big it and doesn’t require much space to store.  In fact, when I first started out all my products fit into a clear plastic Iris Box or tote bag with pockets.  Something I could just tuck into a closet or hang on a door hook when I finished crafting.  Over the past couple of decades it has grown just a tad (*wink, wink*) but this is truly enough when you start to allow you to make some lovely projects.    Whether you are ready to invest in this tool kit and get started on the path to paper crafting or you are searching for an even more affordable way to start, continue on to Lesson 2: Finding Your Niche to learn about some options that are helpful when you just get started..

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