Friday, September 25, 2009

Turtle's Journey

When I was in Cleveland between the Westminster and Rhinebeck conventions last week, I worked at the shop each day. In addition to changing out some of the Inky booth cabinets to make room for holiday designs and helping manufacture those stamps, I had the opportunity to learn how we produce our clear stamp sets.

Interested in seeing the process? Here's our 10921MC Halloween Turtle Clear Set as it's being made. We start out with polymer pouches, which are placed into the exposure machine:

One negative creates the stamp outlines:

And a second negative makes the base of the stamp:

When you put them together, you've got the whole stamp image. The polymer pouches (which are sandwiched between both negatives) are exposed to UV light, causing the stamp images to harden:

Next, the exposed pouches are cut open, as Dave shows here:

They're clipped on the wall so the unexposed polymer "goo" can drip off (with a couple of passes using a squeegee...very messy and sticky!):

Then the sheets are placed into the washout machine. Once they're done agitating in a soap solution, each sheets gets a second gentle scrubbing by hand. That's what Ted is doing in this photo:

I gave our turtle a bath in the washout machine:

Until he was all cleaned up nicely:

To cure the stamps, they're placed under UV light for a second hardening:

Here's our little guy basking in those rays while submerged in a salt-water mixture:

He gets dried off:

And then placed into a warm air chamber until all the extra moisture has evaporated:

Now he's ready to go downstairs for packaging:

Where he'll get dressed up in his Sunday best:

Ta da! He's finally ready for sale in our convention booth or to be mailed out to our website and store customers:

Pretty neat, huh? Thanks for "taking a tour" of our shop's clear stamp area with me!


Jackie said...

I have wondered how that was done - thank you!

Gail said...

That was great seeing how you make your stamps. I love that Turtle set!! It was great meeting you Jackie at the Rhinebeck convention last Saturday. Thanks for showing how to use the pencils,gamasol and the metallic cream chalks. I haven't tried the chalks yet,but can't wait to use them along with some of the stamps I purchased that day!!

Thebug415 said...

Really neat seeing the whole process like that. I didn't realize how many "human work" went into the process. Makes me appreciate my stamps even more now! Thanks for sharing.

Joy said...

Very very cool Miss Jackie! (missed ya at Scrapfest!)

Debbie Fisher (debbiedee) said...

WOW! This was cool to see! Thanks for sharing.

JenRaff said...

This is a very neat post -- I have actually wondered how stamps are made and processed. Thanks you for the pictures and the details!

Yvonne said...

Very interesting post, thanks for sharing
xx Yvonne