First, I found a brochure at my local mall. Great places to find patterns. Then I scanned it into my computer. You can also take a digital photo and use that. It is O.K. to do this. You aren't going to be selling it and you are only going to be using it for yourself. And for us, this is just an example.
I have an imac, so I use apple software and iphoto. I use Photoshop 7 and Photoshop Elements. You can also use Photoshop on a PC. Just for the purposes of our topic and many other digital applications, I have to say that you don't really need the full Photoshop program and you don't really need to keep upgrading it. I have been using Photoshop Elements 2.0 over my regular Photoshop 7 for over 3 years now. I keep finding interesting and new things I didn't know almost every time I work with it. The current version that is out is Photoshop Elements 4 which costs about $80 on Amazon. On April 1st Photoshop Elements 6 comes out and it will be about $10 more. Since I plan on getting a new computer, I am going to get that new version and my reason is, that as computers get more advanced, sooner or later the older software version you own will become very clunky and possibly not work anymore with the newest computer. That is what happened to my imac. I upgraded it to the last operating system called Tiger and my Photoshop 7 stopped working. I don't know why. The computer won't tell me.
Next I double clicked on it and it came up as a preview on my desktop and I cropped it.
I also erased the piece of that G and the cut off flower element at the top. They weren't adding to my composition at all.
Now, since this will be a stamp, I want to move the word "play and some of the branch" over to make room for text, so I select it with the lasso tool on the left.
Click on the lasso and carefully trace around the part you want to move until you close the line around it.
When you stop, the line will be flashing.
See the dotted line around my piece? It's not flashing, because I took a snapshot of my desktop image, you are not looking at Photoshop Elements directly.
By the way, to take a snapshot of your desktop, click on the shift key, the apple command key and the 3 in 1,2,3 order holding each down together and you will get a PNG (a snapshot of your whole desktop on any apple computer).
O.K. back to my topic. Now once you have selected the part to move, click on the top right symbol on that grid on the left, the little cross. You can move your part over as much as you want.
See how I moved it? Good, now I have some room. You may need to fill in some white space with the background color.
When making artstamps, I want to put a few pieces of info on them. First I like to give it some value even though it is fake. The value can be any number that means something to you. I used to use 39c for 39 cents for most of my stamps because 3/9 is my birthday. I've used 4/1 for Artfest stamps because it usually lands in April. 4 cents is good for those too. 2 cents is funny! You can do $1.00. That is fresh. Just remember to play and have a sense of humor.
Click on the capital T symbol on the grid for adding text and remember to adjust the size and font style. IMPORTANT-- every time you add type you create a new layer in your document. So be aware what layer you are on. You can find the layer drop down menu on the right side of the screen near the layer styles menu 2 photos down from here.
I'm going to use 5 cents for this one and type out the whole word cents. Remember, choose a font that is pleasing and complements the elements you already have. Make sure the color stands out. Black is always good for a light stamp, for a dark stamp, white or yellow. Keep contrast in mind and also that you are going to shrink this image down like a shrinky dink and your details have to show up, better yet they need to "pop"!
I used a drop shadow here because I wanted it to look a little like the word PLAY which has it's own drop shadow look. Then I will fill in the shadow to fit the 5 with the pencil tool.
Below is where you find the drop shadow drop down menu, over to the right near the layers menu under layer styles. I'm going to add the words "faux post" and you can too. Do it the same way I added the 5 cents. You can add whatever text you want. Keep in mind the size and don't have more than 2 different fonts on a tiny little thing like a stamp. It won't look good.
After you have added all the text and you've played around and moved it exactly where you want it you need to flatten your image. It makes all the layers into one and cuts down the size of your file.
Next I take a good look at my image. I accent parts I want to stand out. I erase parts that are messy and fix edges and move little dots. I want it to look perfect.
I adjust the image size, resolution and give it a border space.
Here are my reasons.
1. I like to have an image that is about 4 inches. If it is smaller, I add about an inch and make the resolution greater.
2. Resolution is pixels per inch. The more pixels per inch, the more detail.
3. I add a white border because in iphoto, when I make a contact sheet that fills the whole sheet with stamps, iphoto tries to save paper and so it squeezes the stamps together.
This cuts down on the space between the stamps and often I can't cut them properly and I don't have enough paper for a proper stamp edge. The next four pics are the steps to adjust your image size, and canvas size (canvas has to be about .3 bigger all around the image).
O.K. O.K. I did a few things that I didn't show you but I think you can figure it out. In this first picture are the true dimensions of my image.
In the second picture I am using the image drop down menu to choose to adjust (resize) the canvas size.
In the third and fourth pictures you see the before and after dimensions when I add the .3 to make the white border.
For the coloring of the play box I used the little dropper tool to sample the colors on the right of the screen in Photoshop and then once I did that I used the paint bucket to pour the color in.
Here is my final image.
It has a white border.
I adjusted the color of the background a little more yellow and I colored in the play box darker orange.
Oh, and I tried lots of colors to see which one I like the best. I like all of these:
When I am done making stamps, I always save my little stamp documents as jpg's. I do it because I can easily upload examples to my blog and also the files stay small enough that they don't take a long time to load in iphoto.
If you made many stamps and want them all on one sheet, select them all like in this picture and print them at once.
On a mac computer, I select my picture/pictures from the desktop and drag and drop them into the opened iphoto application. In a few seconds all my items have copied. To make a contact sheet of one stamp design I select one of my stamps and choose file print. There will be a drop down menu that lets me choose contact sheet. In the contact sheet category you can also choose 2 across, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 across. I usually choose 3, 4, or 5. Those are the best sizes for stamps. 3 across are pretty big about 1 3/4 inches across. 5 across are more the size of regular postage stamps. Be careful because you don't want to lose all your details on something so small. Make a low quality printout first.
Here is what the contact sheet choice looks like:
When you have decided exactly what size you want, put a sheet of sticker paper in the printer.
Here are my 2 absolute favorite label sheets for artstamps.
Inkjet High Gloss Self-Adhesive Photo Paper at Texascraft.com
These labels are full sheets and are thick, glossy and wonderful. They are my all time favorite. 10 sheets for $11.70 plus shipping. I usually get the large 100 sheet box because I am serious about my addiction to artstamps and stickers and labels and making things that stick with photos on them. 100 sheets are $78.50. You know 10 sheets are never enough. My next favorite place is PlanetLabel with their White Photo Gloss 8 1/2 x 11 Rectangle. These sheets are thinner, and yet just as glossy. They make beautiful photo labels too. $42 for a box of 100 sheets. More economical, but they only come in this size. You can't only get 10 sheets. Check out all the things that both companies have to offer. These two are the BEST in my opinion. Here are the scissors!
Get a pair. Of course, cut the stamps yourself. Look at a real stamp and then cut them like that, pretty close to the edge of the picture.
USE AS NEEDED FOR INSPIRATION...