Reflect your creativity with reverse-image stamping. Summertime conjures up thoughts of picnics and family outings at the lake. Remember the first time you looked into a lake and saw your own reflection? What if you could recreate that imagery with your stamping? With your favorite stamp and a few basic stamping supplies you can do just that.
Reverse-Image Stamping Technique Basics
Reverse-image stamping is a technique used to create a mirror image of a stamped image. The easiest method and most common way to achieve this look is this: To reverse the image, ink the stamp of your choice, and then stamp it onto a flat block rubber stamp. Immediately stamp the image on the flat block rubber stamp onto your card stock.
Some nonporous surfaces, such as a template plastic, acetate or heavy wax paper, can also be used as a transfer surface for this technique. Stamp the image on the surface of choice, flip the surface over onto your card stock, and then gently rub or use a brayer to transfer the image. To avoid smearing the image, be careful not to shift the surface when braying or rubbing.
As with so many other stamping techniques, there are certain factors to consider when reverse-image stamping:
- Not all images are appropriate for reverse stamping — especially letters or words.
- Remember that your reversed image will be a second-generation stamped image. The ink will be lighter than for the original image, which is fine for reflections and shadows, but not when you want mirrored images side by side.
- A slow-drying ink, such as a pigment ink, with a very juicy ink pad will help with the tone of the transferred image.
- Heat embossing may also help to keep the ink colors compatible between both images.
- If you use a dye-based ink, try “huffing” on the reversed image before stamping it. The moisture from your breath may help to reactivate the ink for a darker image.
- A stamp positioner can be an invaluable tool for aligning the second image with the original. The plastic template piece can also be used to reverse and transfer the image.
Reflections in the Water Reverse-Image Stamping
Remember that picnic by the lake, and how pretty the reflection of the trees and flowers looked in the soft ripples of the water? Reflections in water are generally lighter and less defined than the original image. These effects will be created as part of the second-generation stamping. Give your artwork a finished look adding water effects with airbrushing or color dusting. Remember to mask off your main images before adding these effects to preserve their original look.
Me & My Shadow Reverse Image Stamping
A shadow is a lighter version of the original object and is an ideal use of reverse-image stamping since the ink will be lightened during the transfer process. When stamping on vellum, flip the stamped image over so that the inked side is next to the card. This will not only reverse the image but will also give it an ethereal feel. Inking your image with a pearlized pigment ink, such as Brilliance from Tsukineko, will also add to the illusion.
Mirror Image Stamping
When creating side-by-side mirror images, you want the color intensity to be the equal on both. To lighten the ink on the first image, stamp off on scrap paper before stamping on your card. Alternatively, you can stamp the image on one side of acetate or transparency film, and then flip the acetate over to reverse and stamp the image a second time.
Reverse a Negative Stamping
The traditional reverse-image stamping technique is used when you want to flip the orientation of a stamped image, either horizontally or vertically. But what if you want to make a reverse image from an outline stamp, and at the same time, turn it into a bold stamp? B y pressing your uninked rubber stamp into heated moldable foam, such as Penscore, you will create an impression that not only reverses the orientation of the image, but also turns the “negative” space on the stamp to “positive” space. Ink the foam stamp and use it in the same manner as you would a rubber stamp.
Change of Direction in Reverse-Image Stamping
By changing the direction or orientation using one of the reverse-image stamping techniques, you can change the direction of your artwork. On your next project, take your creativity in a new direction by going in “reverse.”
Rainbow Petals Reverse-Image Stamping Project, design by Connie Vogt
- Card stock: copper, white, blue
- Moldable foam
- Stamps: Dotted Petals, Walk Beside Me sentiment
- Pastel rainbow dye ink pad
- Sponge dauber
- Pale gold leafing pen
- 12 inches 1/2-inch-wide purple ribbon
- Heat tool
- Adhesive foam dots
- Paper adhesive
Form a 4 1/4 x 5 1/2-inch side-folded card from copper card stock. Stamp flowers randomly onto a 4 x 5 1/4 inch piece of white card stock. Use sponge dauber to ink edges purple. Wrap ribbon around bottom of rectangle and tie a knot on right side; trim ends. Adhere to card front.
Heat moldable foam with heat tool. Quickly and firmly, press flower stamp into foam to create a reverse image. Ink and stamp reverse image onto white card stock. Trim to 2 3/4 x 4 inches. Outline edges with leafing pen. Let dry. Adhere to blue card stock; trim a small border. Adhere to card front with foam dots.
For inside, stamp sentiment onto upper right corner of a 4 x 5 1/4-inch piece of white card stock. Randomly stamp flowers along left and bottom edges of rectangle. Sponge edges purple. Adhere inside card.
Sources: StampMagic foam from Clearsnap Inc.; Dotted Petals stamp from Penny Black Inc.; Walk Beside Me stamp from Verses Rubber Stamps; rainbow ink pad and sponge dauber from Tsukineko Inc.; leafing pen from Krylon.
Me & My Shadow Reverse-Image Stamping Project, design by Connie Vogt
- Card stock: blue, white, pink, yellow
- Stamps: Marvels of Nature set, flamingos, Mirror Image
- Dye ink pads: black, green, blue, light blue
- White pearlescent pigment ink pad
- 4 yellow acrylic flat-back stones
- Cloud template
- Leaf texture plate
- Bristle-brush applicator
- Curved Rectangles die templates (#S5-006)
- Die-cutting and embossing machine
- Paper adhesive
Form a 5 x 7-inch side-folded card from blue card stock. Stamp flamingos with black ink at top of a 4 5/8 x 6 5/8-inch piece of white card stock. Reink flamingos and stamp onto Mirror Image stamp. Align images and use Mirror Image stamp to stamp flamingos directly below first stamped image.
Place cloud template at top of stamped rectangle and use bristle brush to apply light blue ink around edges, creating clouds behind flamingos. Color image, using bristle brush to apply blue inks on bottom half of rectangle.
Die-cut a curved rectangle around image. Use green ink to stamp tops of palm trees along edges at top of rectangle; repeat with blue ink at bottom of rectangle. Set aside.
Using texture plate and embossing machine, emboss leaves onto a 45/8 x 65/8-inch piece of pink card stock. Highlight leaves with white ink. Adhere to yellow card stock; trim a small border. Adhere to card front. Adhere stamped rectangle to card front; adhere acrylic stones to corners of stamped rectangle.
Sources: Stamp set from Innovative Stamp Creations Inc.; flamingos stamp from Great Impressions Rubber Stamps Inc.; Mirror Image stamp from Stamps by Impression; ink pads from Tsukineko Inc.; Copic markers from Imagination International Inc.; Dew Drops acrylic stones from The Robin’s Nest; cloud template from Rosie’s Roadshow.; texture plate from AccuCut; bristle-brush applicator from JudiKins Inc.; die templates from Spellbinders™ Paper Arts.
Whatchadoin? Reverse-Image Stamping Project, design by Connie Vogt
- Card stock: dark turquoise, white, olive green
- Turquoise printed paper
- Stamps: fish, fishbowl, “Whatchadoin?”
- Black dye ink pad
- Markers including light blue
- 5 clear gems
- Plastic stamp positioner template
- Corner rounder
- Paper adhesive
Form a 7 x 5-inch top-folded card from dark turquoise card stock. Adhere a 6 3/4 x 2 1/2-inch piece of printed paper to bottom of card front.
Stamp fishbowl on right side of a 6 1/4 x 3 1/2-inch piece of white card stock. Stamp fish to the left of fishbowl. Ink fish image again and stamp on smooth side of plastic stamp positioner template. Flip template over and position fish inside fishbowl. Rub template to transfer inked image. Stamp “Whatchadoin’?” above first fish.
Color images. Round corners of stamped rectangle. Run light blue marker along edges of rectangle. Adhere to olive green card stock; trim a small border. Adhere to card front as shown. Adhere gems on top of bubbles.
Sources: Fish stamp from Great Impressions Rubber Stamps Inc.; fishbowl stamp from Just For Fun Rubber Stamps; “Whatchadoin’?” stamp from Rosie’s Roadshow; gems from Hobby Lobby Stores Inc.