Create a Polymer Clay Impression
They come with cords attached and a turn of button on the top of the fixture. You can purchase a flood style black light bulb to fit the fixture. The second piece of equipment is the glass exposure plates. Along two parallel edges of the taped plates lay magnetic tape on both sides. This will hold the plates together and keep them from shifting during the exposure process. The first step in making a polymer stamp is to create the negative. This will allow UV light only to penetrate the polymer where you choose.
To create the negative, first either select or draw a black and white image that has bold lines or shapes.
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The reason for this is fine lines do not survive the washout process well, and will not make a strong impression in clay. If you are only looking to use your stamp like a traditional rubber stamp you can get away with having finer detail on the stamp.
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Your image must be strong black and white contrast, no grayscale or shading. Once you have your image you need to translate that into a negative. That means making the black parts white and the white parts black. You can also design you image in negative format by hand if that appeals to you more, although it is a much more time consuming process. The final step in creating the image is translating the image to transparency film the type used for overhead projectors which can be purchased from any office supply store.
If you are creating your image by hand then you will need to paint the negative space of your design with opaque paint. Paint pens work very well for this. If you are going to print your negative from a computer, make sure you use Laser Transparency Film in a laser printer of the negative will not be opaque enough to block the excess light. If you try to use regular transparency film in a laser printer you will melt the film to the print head, a very expensive mistake.
Once the negative is created, you can start to prepare the exposure unit.
It is a good idea to have everything laid out and ready because the photopolymer is light reactive, and will set up quickly one exposed, even to ambient light. Place the light fixture on a level surface covered in butcher paper, or vinyl tablecloth to protect the surface. In one of the liquid containers, add two cups warm water and 1 tbsp. In the other shallow container add 1 inch of cool water, and set aside. Place the negative down on the inside cover of one half of the glass sheets at surround the image with damming tape, leaving small gaps at any edges to let excess photopolymer to ease out of the edges.
Trim a piece of substrate to the same size and the negative and set aside. With this preparation done you can now proceed with the exposure process. Pour liquid photopolymer gently onto the negative, filling the space up to the level of the damming tape. If there are any bubbles, quickly but careful pop them with a needle tool.
Place the substrate, frosted side down, on the photopolymer, making sure there are no bubbles trapped under it or the stamp will peel off later.
Place the other side of the glass unit on, making sure the magnets take hold. You may notice some seepage from the edges of the negative as the glass compresses. This is normal. Place the unit centered under the light, substrate side up, and set the timer for approx. Turn on the light and develop for the required time.
This develops the backing of the stamp. Turn the unit over and develop for the same amount of time on the other side, and turn off the light. It is now time to start the washout process.
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Immediately separate the two halves of the glass and peel the negative off of the polymer. Always peel the negative off the polymer not the substrate off or the stamp will not have a good backing for washout. Place the polymer image in the washout solution and gently scrub with fine bristle brush or soft toothbrush until all of the excess liquid polymer is dissolved from the stamp surface.
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Rinse in water to remove the last of the washout solution. At this time you can trim off the excess hardened polymer. Place the stamp in the plain water container and set under the UV light and expose for 10 minutes. This fully hardens the stamp, and makes it less tacky.
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There are two ways to condition your finished stamp, depending on what you intend to use it for. If you use your stamp to make impressions in soft clay then simply dust your stamp with talc or baby powder to separate it from the clay, and keep it from getting tacky. If you intend to ink you stamp use a pink eraser to rough up the surface of the image.
This allows the ink to stick to the stamp long enough to make the image. Your stamp is now ready to use and enjoy. Question 4 weeks ago on Step 6. How "sticky" is it supposed to be? Or is it not supposed to be sticky at all? I use a post exposure additive and it still comes out sticky. Does it fit through easily with room to spare? If the stamp does not drop easily through the gap, see below for manual impression instructions.
Next we need to determine what PM thickness setting to use for the clay sheet. Take some conditioned clay and put it through the PM at a medium-thin setting. If your clay does tend to be sticky, spray the stamp with water first. If your resulting clay sheet is very thin and the pattern is distorted, try again with a sheet created at a thinner setting.
Experiment until you find the right setting that works for you. Make note of it for future reference. Note using the PM may increase the size of the resulting pattern. This can be a good thing if you need a bit more pattern for your project!
Create a Polymer Clay Impression
The rubber stamp can be put through the PM either vertically or horizontally. Step down on the pile repeatedly to create your impression. I like to do this in my sock feet rather than shoes where treads can miss areas. The foot has more flexibility to work the clay into the texture. Give it a try! Create an Inverse of your texture stamp. Create an inverse texture of a stamp for more pattern options.