This week I will show you how to fake- out a fancy water color card using solid photopolymer stamps and Stampin Write Markers, with no water in sight. Many people do not like a solid stamp because they are rather plain. However I am here to tell you they are just as versatile as an outline type stamp. So grab one of those plain seemingly drab photopolymer stamps and some water based markers. We’re about to get jiggy with it!


Sending Smiles Photopolymer Stamp Set
Sending Bundle Die Set
Fluid 100 Water Color Paper
Vinyl or Rubber Eraser
Fresh Freesia Stampin Write
Melon Mambo Stampin Write
Pumpkin Pie Stampin Write
Pecan Pie Stampin Write
Shaded Spruce Stampin Write
Fresh Freesia Card Stock, 9.8cm x 14.2cm
Melon Mambo Card Stock Base, 21cm x 14.9cm, scored at 10.5cm
Basic White Card Stock, 9.8cm x 14.2cm (inside liner)
Basic White Card Stock Scrap approx 10cm x 1.5cm
Stampin’Up Masking Paper or
Several pieces of 7.5cm x 7.5cm Post-It-Notes (or equivalent off brand product)
Tinsel Gems 3 Pack
Foam Adhesive Strips or Mini Stampin Dimensionals
Multi-Purpose Liquid Glue
Clear Block E

Directions and Tips

Tip No. 1

Use water color paper for this technique for best results. You absolutely can use regular card stock. It will stamp differently as regular card stock seems to hold more of the ink on the surface. This makes it slightly more difficult to get that “feathery, light” look. If you don’t have any water color paper on hand, do try the technique on card stock. As a matter of fact I used the technique on the liner of the card.

Tip No. 2

Before you start stamping with a solid photopolymer stamp, especially if it is brand new, you need to clean off the mold release residue. The releasing agent used in the factory allows the stamps to be taken out of the molds, great for them not so much for us as it keeps things from sticking to the stamp (like ink). If the stamp is small or has thin lines like words or outlines you can just rub a finger over it several times and it should take enough of the release agent off to work fine. The problem comes when you have a larger surface as you can see in the Sending Smiles flower and leaf/stem stamps. For images like this you need a larger ‘rubbing’ surface.

Enter the vinyl or rubber eraser. The kind of eraser you use is VERY important.

Do NOT use a sand style or rough eraser, it will pit your stamp. Do Not use one of the hard vinyl erasers, the ones that have very sharp edges. You can actually cut the soft photopolymer with these. Do Not use an eraser that says it will erase ink they usually contain a grit/sand agent (and they lie, that ink is gonna stay right where you put it, LOL).

You Do want a soft rubber or soft vinyl, the type that every time you use it it wears down just a little bit. Sometimes inexpensive mechanical pencils come with these types of erasers or you can use a pink pencil eraser. I tend to not use the pink rubber types because they ‘shed’ more but they work fine, making slightly more clean up. Just be sure it is a new-ish one as older rubber erasers dry out and can scratch the stamp.

I have had my white vinyl draftsman’s eraser for nearly 20 years now. It cost a little more than the erasers found in the school supply department but will probably last for the rest of my life. (Did any one else see a picture in their head of the reading of my will? The one where I leave my eraser to my oldest son? And he is really happy about it. No? Just me then.) If you are going to buy an eraser, look for an eraser designed for pencil/graphite. If it feels hard and slick put it down. It needs to feel soft and the surface should catch at your finger as you rub it across.

After you use the eraser, dust off the stamp with a clean paint brush or a piece of kitchen roll. Do not touch it with your fingers as you can transfer skin oil to the stamp and you will have to clean it again. Do not rub it with the kitchen towel as hard rubbing could transfer lint to the stamp.

Tip No. 3

For this technique I am inking up my stamp with Stampin Write Markers. These markers contain the exact same dye ink as the Stampin Pads and can be reinked with the same refill’s. The Stampin Blends do not work for this technique because they dry too fast and since they are alcohol based they could potentially dry out the photopolymer, causing the stamp to shrink & curl.

Always lay down the lightest color first, in my example I used the Fresh Freesia marker. This will prevent any other darker inks contaminating the marker.

For this technique you don’t want the surface of the stamp to be really wet, so just ‘flick’ the ink on. Next I used the Melon Mambo marker to make lines from the center of the flower out. Again I just flicked these lines on here. If you are using different stamp set you can use a darker color to draw on shadows. It idea is for these darker lines to be light so remember to just ‘flick’. Remember you want your image to be uneven and ‘soft’.

Tip No. 4

The Huff: This is an oldie but a goodie, if you feel the ink on your stamp is a little bit dry pick it up and huff on it. You know what that is. Remember when you were a kid and you huffed on a window to get it to fog up? Yep, it’s the same, fog that stamp! Actually you are adding a (very) small amount of moisture to the stamp re re-activate the ink.

Tip No. 5

Masking is a technique to cover up what you have already stamped so you don’t mess it up or to leave a blank space to stamp into later. Both types of masking are used here. When using small masks cut them out of Post-It-Notes (or equivalent off brand product). For larger masks I do use Stampin’Up masking paper, it is one of those items that just makes your life easier.

If you’ve not used a mask before they are quite easy to make. Just stamp onto the masking paper or the front of a Post-It-Note (be sure you are stamping in the area that is sticky on the back) and then cut it out. Or if you happen to own the matching die set you can cut the shapes out of the masking paper/sticky notes with the dies. Highly recommended for those of us who do NOT excel at fussy cutting and/or are slightly lazy.

For this card I cut a masks for the flowers and the word Sending. I placed the word mask down where I wanted to later to stamp the word Sending. The flower masks were placed over the flowers I wanted to stamp around first. I did not bother to cut masks for every flower. The masks are reusable (up to a point).

Tip No. 6

When you finish your stamping, walk away. Yep just leave it a few moments to completely dry/absorb. Besides after all that hard work you deserve another cup of coffee/tea/beverage of choice.

Now gaze upon your work of art! It should be softly blurry like a water color; no hard edges in sight. At this point, if you feel you must, you can tidy up a bit. On my example some of the flower petals were not complete enough so I went around the edges with the brush tip of the Fresh Freesia Stampin Writer Marker. Just be careful and remember you are only flicking small parts of darker color onto your project. I did darken parts of the word Sending on this example but on another sample I did not need to. Rembert with this technique less is more.


Cut your masks. You can stamp onto your masking paper or a Post-It-Note and cut it out or you can use the dies for the flowers and the word Sending to die cut the Masking Paper or Post-It-Note. Cut one ‘Sending” and one of the whole flowers, cut at least two of the half flowers. If you wish you can cut enough flower masks to cover all of the flowers but to be honest, you only need to mask-off half of the flowers at one time.

Stamp the flower images onto the upper third of your water color card stock using Fresh Freesia Stampin Write Markers and Melon Mambo Stampin Write Markers for the flower petals. And Pumpkin Pie Stampin Write Markers and Pecan Pie Stampin Write Markers for the flower centers.

Next determine where you want the first part of your greeting: the word ‘Sending’ and place down the mask of the outline of ‘Sending’. Mask off your flowers, if you only cut a few as suggest I mask the ones to the right first but it really does not matter which side you start on.

Using the ‘stem’ stamps add in the stems for the flowers. (moving the masks as appropriate). Next using the leaf stamp stamp across the bottom of card stock using various stages of inked up stamp. You are trying to get the look of the flowers in a flower bed. Stamping both dark and light will bring some depth the picture.

Remove the masks. Ink up the ‘Sending’ stamp with Melon Mambo ink. Stamp into the blank space left after removing the Sending Mask.

Finish the greeting by using Melon Mambo ink to stamp the ‘birthday wishes’ stamp onto a piece of scrap white card stock or a scrap piece of the water color paper. Die cut the image using the shorter of the rectangular dies. If you don’t have the die set you can easily trim the excess paper from around the words with a paper trimmer.

I placed Mini Dimensionals on the back of the rectangle to pop-up for a touch of dimension. And finished by placing three Fresh Freesia Tensile Gems (from Tinsel Gems 3 Pack) around create more movement and texture.

Thank you for giving this a read. I hope these tips helped and I sincerely hope you give this technique a try. If you do please post a picture below in the comments or tag me on social media @loriothen or @Stampinology.

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