Instructions for Heat Etching
with Rubber Stamp Art
by Tori Gittings

Step #1 - Stamping the Project
Stamp your project (paper, wood, cork, etc) using neutral colors like browns and tans. I use coffee when stamping on wood and lighter colors like sepia on papers. Cocoa is a nice "in-between" color to use for everything. Be sure to pick a color you can see well, but is not too noticeable after it is burned. Make sure to use an ink pad such as "Archival InkTM" from Ranger Industries. Dye ink pads tend to run and blur your stamped image. The goal is to burn over your lines and not be able to see the lines when you are done.

Step #2 - The Burning Fun
Using your "unit" (i.e. Cub or Detailer) may seem a little overwhelming at first, but don't be afraid, it is your new best friend. I always like to practice on a scrap piece of the material that I am using. I do this because everything burns at a different temperature. For instance, wood actually burns at a lower temperature than watercolor paper. You have to experiment and find what is best for the effect you want to achieve. If you want to burn darker, turn up the heat -- don't necessarily put more pressure on the tip. You should use about the same amount of pressure as you would to write a letter. The tips are sturdy so don't be afraid to use more pressure "some of the time". Some materials do take a little more pressure than others, such as woods with a lot of grain.

Practice drawing curves and circles with your heat pen. Roll your fingers and rotate the piece to do this. Don't try to turn your hand in a way that is physically impossible or uncomfortable. If you need to pick up your pen, try to set it back in the same line when you continue. This cuts down on jagged looking lines. Drawing basic shapes and lines will help your skills in getting used to the different tips. I recommend playing with all your different tips before diving into a project. Once you feel comfortable with your tips, adjust your heat accordingly and start tracing the lines you just stamped. Don't be afraid to experiment -- if you don't try new techniques you will never know.

Step #3 - Let's Decorate!
Once you have completely burned your project, you may or may not decide to decorate it. If you do, use anything you would normally use to decorate your stamp art. You can use paint, markers, chalks, or colored pencils. I have even used embossing powder to create two different textures. You can stitch beads into any kind of paper to embellish your project. The sky's the limit -- the only limitation is your imagination.

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