Friday 29 May 2020

Stamps and Inks for Bible Art Journaling - by Tracy Southam

Hi everyone, for those I have not met my name is Tracy Southam. I live in leafy Warwickshire with the boss Sir Peter my rescue cat (still not quite clear who rescued who) and by day work as an Area Manager for a charity. I worship at an Anglican Church.

Over the past few years I have supported Deborah, Emma and Megan at Faith Treasury with delivering demos and workshops at their events and these have largely centred around stamping. I have been stamping since my late teens, so a good 20+ years of using stamps in one way or another. I am still learning as there are new techniques all the while.

We have some very talented ladies and gents on the group some of which do amazing work with stamps and mediums so you are in safe hands today with the techniques being shared.

I love using stamps as a medium and if you are less confident with drawing or using your own lettering in your bible they are fantastic. Like most craft supplies there are a raft of different products on the market but you can get simple stamps starting at £1 from the works, you can also get a nice mixed set on a number of the craft magazines on the market and then can adventure into the raft of suppliers on the market as you find what you like and need. However my aim today is not to spend your money for you but give you some basics on stamping as a medium!

So lets start with some basics…..

Stamps come in a few different formats:

1 – Clear stamps that are a polymer image that you can see through that is stuck to an acrylic block or stamping platform (or if you want a go without loads of kit initially a cd case). This little video shows you stamping platforms
In the art work to follow shortly I have included some pictures of an acrylic block
2 – Cling stamps – normally red/grey rubber which you use in the same way as the clear stamps in point 1 but they are not see through
3 - Unmounted – a number of suppliers sell unmounted stamps or you can carve your own as Sarah’s demo later today, these can be mounted to a block with Pritt stick or repositionable adhesive or in some cases just inked and pressed by hand
4 – Wood Mounted stamps – stamp images on a wooden block that do not need to be mounted.

There are a lot of inks on the market and too many to discuss on an introduction, I am therefore focussing on two and have done some sample art work to show you.

Firstly Versafine, versafine comes in a variety of colours and are manufactured by Tsukineko. Versafine is a natural oil based pigment ink pad. You are able to watercolour over the ink and it will not bleed. Alcohol pens will smudge with Versafine in most cases.
The second is Memento which again comes in a variety of colours and is dye based which means it doesn’t like water colour based products but will keep its image with any alcohol based pens such as a sharpie, pro marker copic etc.

The first photos are using Memento pad to stamp, with alcohol based Promarker pens to colour:

The clear stamp clings to the acrylic block

 Take the ink to the stamp!

 Gently tap ink onto the stamp

 When coated evenly, use the block to stamp the image onto the paper

Added colour to the stamped image using alcohol based pens (ProMarkers)

Colouring Mediums come in many styles, in the main I colour with Kuretake clean colour pens which blend with water, Derwent inktense pencils a dye based (ink) pencil which blend with water, traditional water colours, Promarkers and distress inks or distress oxides which blend with water. If you are feeling sparkly you could also use a clear sparkle pen such as a clear Wink of Stella or Crafters Companion sparkle pens in place of a normal water brush.

In the following pictures I have used a Versafine pad to stamp, coloured with distress inks:

Image stamped in the same way as above, using Versafine (onyx black) 

Going to use Distress ink pads to add colour

Dab the distress ink pad onto a hard plastic surface to leave a smudge of colour 

Use a water brush to pick up the colour, and paint your image

The finished image! 

This example has a stamped image using Versafine, and I used a Distress Oxide pad to paint on colour

Another example of using Distress Oxides to add colour to a Versafine stamped image.

This image was coloured with Kuretake clean colour pens:

Some tips when stamping in your Bible:
1 – If you are worried about bleed through, prep your pages with clear gesso or liquitex matt medium
2 – Do a test page for pens and colour mediums and see how they work for you
3 – If you are less confident do your stamping as a tip in or stick a stamped strip on to your page
4 – Keep a hairdryer or heat gun hand to dry your page between layers
5 – Keep your stamps out of daylight and try to clean them when you use them to keep them in good health, if clear stamps lose their stick you can wash them under tap and leave them to dry and they will resume their clinginess.
6 – Tap the ink onto your stamp to cover the image– do not press it down with force or push the stamp into the ink. You want a crisp even finish and if you overload it with ink you will get smudging.

I have included some pictures below of stamping in my Bible:

I hope these tips have helped you, if you have any questions give me a shout on the Bible Art Journaling UK Facebook group. Let me know if you would find a Beginners YouTube helpful!

Remember this art work is for you and God, not for a gallery - and have fun!

God Bless



  1. Really useful tips. I will add a link to this in a future blog post on my site. Thank you.

  2. ooh I recently bought Distress Oxide inks for my birthday, I didn’t think about using them as watercolor! thanks

  3. Too many options.

    I might buy a rubber and carve a heart to use quickly