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Topic: Do you clean off stamps and stencils?  (Read 591 times)
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« on: April 16, 2019 01:02:15 PM »

I wish there was a list of cool tips and tricks like how to clean off delicate stencils and stamps, how to keep from contaminating ink pads, how to keep a brayer, cutting board, non-stick mat etc in good shape and all that sort of thing. I know somebody posted once about pouring out a bit of mod podge from the larger container so it didn't all go moldy from sticking utensils into it (that happens!) and that is just too smart for me to have thought of it myself, lol.

This youtube video shows how to use a dilution of Murphy's Oil soap and dish soap in a spray bottle to clean stencils but it seems like too much work to me, I'm really wanting more of a set-it-&-forget-it technique (this may be why my things are such a mess, haha).

Baby wipes were not doing it for me so now I've got stamp cleaner but it's in a dauber style bottle which, of course, is completely filthy after the first stamp I cleaned with it and now just seems to spread that muck around on anything it touches, pft Tongue. There have to be better ways. Do you know any?
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« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2019 03:58:36 PM »

Yes I clean, but I don't use commercial cleaners - some of them are not very good for the longevity of some of the stamp materials from what I understand.  There are some of the mind that, especially for rubber stamps, being primed with a pigment ink helps them to stamp the image more crisply.  But when it comes to using water based dyes, or going from dark to light pads, I do like to clean them.

For quick clean of anything, I do use baby wipes - I also found the Costco ones are more durable, versus other no name and commercial brands which seem to fall apart more.  I have an OXO holder that sits right on my work table for quick one handed access - very handy, especially if I am working with glues/resins.  But for stamps, for the past few years I have bought a PVC (at least, I think it is) cleaning cloth that I keep moistened, in an air tight container and use that to dab off the ink.  No scrubbing, just gentle wiping, or stamp onto it until the ink comes off.  Your stamps will never be perfectly clean, that is fine, so long as it does not cross contaminate.  The commercial name for it is the Lawn Fawn stamp shammy - BUT it is the same material as this car cleaning cloth - which while it is more expensive for one cloth - will last a long long time - I have given away pieces of mine and still have more than half, and am still working on the original piece I cut a couple of years ago.  It is also the same material as this "cooling cloth" - I bought this to cool down when gardening, but ended up cutting it up to try for cleaning stamps as it is slightly textured on one side.  The Absorber is a bit thicker though.  The cloth will get mucky - but can be tossed in the washer (which I have never done BTW) - BUT what I found is that it grabs onto the ink and doesn't seem to spread it around, even if you clean off another stamp onto it, even with a different colour.  If you are using the same stamp and just a different colour, you just may want a dry cloth around to dry off any residual moisture after using the PVC cloth (or just not keep your cloth as wet as I do).  It is synthetic so there is no mold or anything that grows on it, despite living in a moist container all the time.  No weird smells either.

As for cleaning stencils - I do, but it can be hard to keep them perfectly clean especially with texture pastes as they dry fast, and I don't like to use too much force, especially with fine detailed stencils.  I use a surgical scrubber for gentle scrubbing, hold the stencil on a flat surface, clean them ASAP, and it seems to help.  If you have the space, it may help to put the stencil, if it has been used with pastes, right away into a container of water.  I get the scrubbers at Lee Valley Tool when I see them go on sale - they are great for cleaning nails, veggies, etc too.  Since I don't use them for heavy duty scrubbing - they last a long time.  I also use these brushes for cleaning rubber stamps too when I use them on texture paste.  Then I dry the stencils flat, and the rubber stamps in a microfiber cloth to absorb as much water as possible - and try not to soak the wood if they are wood mounted.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2019 04:00:07 PM by Onyxnox » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2019 04:49:19 AM »

I bought a craft mat and I always pour out my mod podge, collage paste, gesso, paint onto it and use it from there and not the bottle.  if I pour too much I just paint/spread it on a page in a current journal I am working on.

I read a tip where one woman makes a pan of soapy water and puts on her craft table and puts her stencils, brushes, stamps in it when she's done using then and then when she is done crafting she rinses them off.  I keep meaning to try that.

But generally I don't wash my stuff regularly.  I always feel guilty about it.  I do use baby wipes some.  Or go wash something off at the sink with dish soap.  But I also cut a lot of my stencils from cardstock with my cricut and I can't wash those.  In fact the layers of paint help make them stronger.
My stamps I usually do the same I do with excess paint, gesso, I stamp them into my journal over and over until you can' see any more ink coming off.

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« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2019 04:55:23 PM »

Thanks for the tips gals. I caved and ordered more stencils from aliexpress recently. They are cheap but also, well, cheap as in flimsy. Cleaning them at all is going to be a challenge I'm sure.

Whatever the question, the answer is always CRAFTING! It's the fix for all the sicks. Makes me feel better every time.


Love you all, thank you so much for everything. XO
« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2019 06:30:18 AM »

I clean both stamps and stencils right after each use. First with plain water on moist cloth. And then if needed some very diluted dishwashing soap in not too warm water.
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