For today’s post, I wanted to talk about a topic that strikes fear in many planner and crafter hearts: Planner Stamping 101. I love stamping in my planner so I thought I would run through some basic stamping tips and then look at different planner papers and the best inks to use. Overall, there is one obvious winner but I thought it would be great for you to see for yourselves. You can check out my channel for a full video.
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Planner Stamping 101: The Basics
For basic planner stamping, I look at stamp quality and the different pressures to use, the importance of the right sized acrylic blocks, and then what the different stamp inks are and how they behave in some of the more popular bullet journals and planners.
The old adage of “not every _____ is made equal” applies to stamps as well. Majority of planner stamps, and the easiest stamps to use, are the clear rubber/polymer stamps. They are the easiest because you’re able to confirm ink coverage on the stamp, and they don’t take up as much space as the wooden blocks.
But, it’s important to note that not all clear stamps are made of the best quality or thickness. For example, Recollections, Happy Planner, and some of the more generic brands, tend to be a more flexible, thinner rubber. This means that there is a lot more “give” in the stamped image, resulting in a poor stamped image quality.
Now, I’m not saying don’t buy these brands. If you’re getting started in stamping, you don’t want to drop a ton of money on supplies. Instead, what I’m saying is, be more weary of the technique you’re using. Practice stamping the image first to determine the optimal pressure to get a “clean” image. I find with the Recollections planner icon stamps, it’s best to just barely touch down on the page.
My favourite, high quality brands include: Studio Calico, Ali Edwards, The Sassy Club, Feed Your Craft, Stampers Anonymous, Dylusions, Studio L2E, Amy Tangerine, and Krissyanne Designs (to name a few ;P).
For stamping in general, it is very important that your stamp fits perfectly on the surface you are using to stamp. I use acrylic blocks but I know not everyone has a large variety to choose from. Some people will use whatever flat, clean surface, that you can grip, to stamp. Just make sure that whatever surface you use, it should fit the size of the stamp. This way you can better control the pressure on the image. A more even pressure over the entire stamp will result in a cleaner image.
Stamping ink is an important factor depending on your project. The recommendations below apply specifically to stamping in your planner. For planner stamping, I am considering pigment inks, dye inks, hybrid inks, and a solvent inks.
Pigment inks tend to be thicker and creamier than dye inks. They are also waterproof and archival in nature and they sit on top of the page instead of being absorbed into it right away. Because they dry on top of the page, it means there is minimal ghosting and bleeding. This is part of the reason why pigment inks are the best option for planner stamping. But, not all pigment inks are created equal. Versafine has a pigment ink that is amazing for fine detail and gives you the crispest image but it tends to ghost (depending on your planner which you’ll see below).
Brilliance is the overall winner for planner stamping, regardless of your brand. The only caveat being that you need to let it dry! It is the smudgiest of all the ink brands and types (which makes sense given the info above), so be cautious when working with it.
Dye inks are a water based ink meaning it’ll smudge watercolours (paint and pens like Tombow Brush Pens). It also means that it absorbs into the page causing a lot of bleeding and ghosting. I find dye inks are also more common with brands like Stampin’ Up and Studio Calico using the dye-ink formula. Dye inks also tend to come in more colours. A dye ink will also fade sooner than a pigment ink. The brand I have is Memento. I will use my dye inks for other projects but stay away from stamping directly into my planners.
Hybrid inks are combination pigment and dye inks. The most common hybrid brand is the Tim Holtz Distress Ink and Distress Oxide Inks. They are super fun to use for art journaling, but if you want to use it in your planner, I would use it in a blending capacity. Some of my older bullet journal layouts have distress inks blending for the background. But I would not use these to stamp directly into my planner.
Solvent ink is one of THE most versatile inks in terms of weird stamping projects. What I mean by that is this ink will stamp on ANYTHING. For my 2019 December Daily, I used Staz On ink to stamp onto acetate. It was perfect! However, I would not use this ink directly in my planner. It had the worst bleeding and ghosting of all the inks. It’s great for weird surfaces, not so great for paper.
If you want to stamp in your planner but find you have the “wrong” ink, there is a work around. For one, you can stamp on sticker paper and then cut the image out after. You could also stamp on copy paper and glue the image in. You don’t need to invest a ton of money to start stamping in your planner, you just need to be a bit more creative.
Planner Stamping 101: Paper Quality
I feel like most of my review/tutorial posts come down to the same thing: paper quality. If you have a 160 GSM planner, like the Archer and Olive, or the new Scribbles That Matter, you can use whatever you want. There was no ghosting or bleed through of any of the ink types (except the Staz On). The only disclaimer I offer is to be aware of the page behind the image. If you throw some watercolours down, it may cause heavy ghosting.
So the planners I looked at were:
- 100 GSM Scribbles that Matter
- 115 GSM (Coated) Scribbles that Matter
- 160 GSM Scribbles That Matter
- Leuchtturm 1917
- Erin Condren
- The Happy Planner
Below is the gallery showing the results of the ink and smudge test.
Overall, the 160 GSM bullet journal performed the best. There was no ghosting except for the solvent ink that ghosted and bled through a little. The Brilliance pigment ink is the best ink to use regardless of your planner type. The only bullet journal to be careful in is the Moleskin. I would use stickers instead – or glue pages together.
I hope this guide helped you decide to try stamping in your planner or bullet journal. If you don’t like your handwriting and don’t have the time to learn lettering, stamping is always an option.
Please reach out if you have any more questions or any concerns by leaving a comment below. If there is another planner you would like me to test, let me know. I am happy to take a look!