After my original project with Zany dolls, I taught myself to use rubber stamps and embossing inks. I found that inks varied greatly - in wetness, in intensity and in formulation. Some inks could not be used for some purposes and some inks could be used with more success on a particular project. I like a "dry" ink and I use a lot of the Ranger Distress Inks because they are quite dry and do not spread much after they are stamped and I do not lose a lot of the fine detail on the kind of stamps I like to use. I do not mean this as a particular endorsement of these inks, but rather, as an invitation to experience to find what works. I also found that not all embossing powders are created equally. I use a fine detail black, clear, and old paper distress embossing powders the most. I am also partial to really shiny metallic embossing powders and I like Ranger's Queen's Gold the best as it is the shiniest lovely gold color. I bought a heat gun and discovered that if you melt the top of children's foam you can rubber stamp into and then dry brush on paint and make lovely little embellishments for card making, etc. All this experimenting took a lot of time, but I will never regret it because I acquired knowledge I would never have gotten in any class. Examining things for yourself is never time wasted.
All this experimenting eventually led me back to more paper dolls, stamped, embossed and decorated. By this time, I had begun to study the fine print in the back of Somerset Studio Magazines which tells how the particular items are made. Time and time again I was attracted to stamps from Character Constructions. They turned out to be made from the drawings of a lovely artist, Catherine Moore, from Georgia. I put these stamps on my Christmas wish list in 2006 and my wonderful sister Sharon called up Catherine and talked to her personally about what she should order for me. Sis found out that she could get a lot more bang for her buck if she ordered the stamps unmounted and she bought me some stamps for Christmas and my birthday in January and I loved them so much I have bought some more for myself. I had never bought unmounted stamps before that date, but Catherine told my Sis it would be really easy and it was! Since that time, Catherine has changed her stamps over to the clearly constructed stamps that cling to an acrylic block and are very popular right now. If you have the old red rubber unmounted kind, you just cut them apart and either use a block of wood or an acrylic block to temporarily mount them. I put the stamp on with double sided tape. The rest of the time I keep the plates stored separately in little zip lock bags. There is nothing difficult about it and they take up very little space compared to wood mounted stamps. If you are not familiar Catherine's stamps you can see them at http://www.characterconstructions.com/ and certain ones are now being sold online by the Somerset Studio store at http://www.stampington.com/ They come in body parts, clothes and accessories and most of the different lines are interchangeable, particularly if you work with them a little. I have experimented with stamping and embossing on colored card stock and printed scrapbook papers. I usually make the dolls by stamping body parts on manila file folders and gluing them with a glue stick to heavier white card stock or poster board. Catherine's newest line was just released this month and they are based on Marie Antoinette. I can't wait to get my hands on those! What lovely costumes in that line! Following are a few projects I made with those stamps during 2007. I don't think I had this much fun with paperdolls when I was a little girl.