Mix a one to one ratio of Kool-Aid and embossing powder. Stamp with embossing ink; add the mixed powder and heat. After it has cooled down, you can scratch and sniff it.
Shake your embossing powder jars before using! If they contain glitter it will settle and you won't get an even coat on your embossed image. I used to think that the glitter just didn't work very well! Now I know better!
Use a small damp paintbrush to wipe off stray embossing powder before heating. There are some great watercolor paintbrushes that are wide and thin. I love mine!
Be sure to let your heat gun heat up before aiming it at your project. This should only take 10 seconds or so, depending on your gun...Hold the gun far enough away from the paper to prevent burning or warping.
When embossing on transparencies, swipe first with a fabric softener to prevent static and clinging stray powder.
Line a clip board with aluminum foil. Then put your image to emboss under the clip portion to hold it steady. The foil will bounce the heat back to the image from the backside and emboss faster and more evenly.
Glycerin can be used as embossing ink. Its pretty thick so you'll need to mix it with water to get the right consistency. I use one part glycerin to two parts water...Pour it into a sponge applicator like the post office uses for stamps or just apply with a makeup sponge. You can also dilute it to half glycerin and half water and use it in a spray bottle to cover an entire card or mask portions before spraying and embossing.
Blend, blend, blend! Use a light touch with your colored pencils at first and gradually add different colors until you get the color you like. Remember to blend, blend, blend. It's the key to realistic images. I sometimes use Kleenex with lotion in it to blend the colors together. Since its pollen season, I usually have the Kleenex near me anyway. Continue to slowly shade and watch your image come to life. Be sure to buy a set of blender Pens. I use stampin ups or any othe brand of blender pens.
Store your markers horizontally for longer life.
I've looked at the fancy pencil sets in the arts & crafts stores and had to walk away due to the price. Instead, I purchased a set of 24 Crayola colored pencils at Wal-Mart for seven bucks and they've been great. Wal-Mart and similar discount stores might surprise you. And you don't have to feel guilty about using them up.
Go to the wallpaper store and ask for old wallpaper books. The sample pages are a great size and can be used in so many ways. Some of the designs are great for backgrounds and some of the pictures can be cut out, mounted and put a card with a 3-D effect. I also found books with textured paper---some of it paintable.
When cutting masks, stamp one image on the top of a pad of sticky notes and then cut out several at one time (making sure you get as much of the "sticky" part incorporated into your mask to help hold it in place when stamping). Keep the additional ones with your stamp for future use. I keep my stamps in placon boxes so it's easy for me to keep the masks with them. If you don't have the placon boxes, you can store your masks on a piece of plain copy paper and file them in a 3-ring binder.
Be sure to clean permanent ink off your stamp immediately to prevent staining of the rubber.
When inking up your stamp with a dye-based rainbow pad, slowly move to the darker end when inking. This will keep the dark inks from mixing with the lighter ones...
When stamping an image you plan on working with a lot, be sure to stamp it on a whole sheet of paper. This will save you time because the next time you need it, you'll have it. All you'll have to do is color it in the way you want.
As far as cleaning your stamps, I've tried just about everything and have decided that baby wipes are the best for me. They are easiest (fastest) and the most gentle on your stamps.(no more splattering of inks from a stamp scrubber!) I do use a scrubber for drying sometimes, though.
When doing a grid card, stamp your "focal" image in the center first, then put your division lines in around it so they frame it perfectly. This method looks very thought out and nice.
When cutting a mask image, be sure to cut just inside of the stamped image to eliminate any halo affect. This will ensure a clean adjacent image.
If you use "pop dots", cut them in half. They work just as well and go twice as far. Also, cut up the frame once all the pop dots are used up and use them as well. I used to think I could use fun foam just as easily but the pop dots have been working out very well instead and they're already cut into nice circles so they are easy to use and the perfect thickness. I love doing 3D stuff a LOT and they still seem to last a long time.
When drilling into dominos with your ceramic tile bit, keep a very cold mug of water nearby so you can dip the hot drill bit into it in between dominos. Drilling with a burning hot bit can be dangerous and will wreck the bit...I've also heard that dremel tools work great for this.
By all means, play your favorite music when stamping. Whatever type makes you happy. This always puts me into the right mind-set for creating and the white noise helps me to focus on what I am doing without distractions.
I LOVE my rubber stamps but money doesn't allow me the luxury of purchasing all the stamps I crave so I've come up with a temporary fix. Search the web for black and white "coloring page" images, download them and manipulate them to the size you want in your word processor, print them and enjoy
Get your white (and some colored) card stock in bulk at Wal-Mart or your paper store. It's much cheaper there. And always keep a watchful eye for neat papers from junk mail, etc. Recycling is a great excuse to stamp! Just doing your social duty, right?!
Keep a magnetized shopping list tablet (a small paper tablet with a magnet glued on the back) near your stamping area or with your magazines so it's easy to jot down your wanted items. I always think I'll remember what it is I need and then when I walk into the stamp store, my mind goes blank!