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Instructions on Coloring Northwoods Rubber Stamps
By Barb and Jen Long
Copyright August 8, 2004
Minneapolis, MN
Revised April 16, 2009
by Linda Livermore

Recommended Materials:
    1.  Tombow Markers
    2.  Paper:  Canson's Biggie Jr. Watercolor Paper, 90 lb. (This paper can be ordered through Northwoods Rubber 
    3.  Embossing Powder:  Ranger Black or Detail Black
    4.  Paintbrushes:  Essentials #4 and #6, round tip


    Before you begin, it is important that you have the correct tools.  It always makes things easier if you are using the correct equipment.  We have found through trial and error that the materials we have recommended seem to work beautifully and give great results.  Remember, though, that this is a basic guide.  There are no rules.  Do not be afraid to play and experiment.

    The most important thing that you can do for your coloring is the paper you are using.  Northwoods Rubber Stamps is now using Canson's Biggie Jr. Watercolor Paper as our blending paper instead of parchment paper.  We have found that this paper takes less effort to spread the colors across the paper, does not pill as readily when more color and water are applied, and is a brighter white making the marker colors more vibrant.  *TIP* After blending your color out, you may find you want to lay more color down.  It is best to let your paper dry before you add more color.  If there is a lot of embossing, this is not so important.  Your color will sit on top of your embossed image and will pull out easily.  This is not to say that you can't lay a lighter marker and then a darker marker on top and blend them together.  For example, when we color leaves, we lay 055, yellow, down on the leaf and then we lay about two thirds 177, dark green, on top of the yellow.  We then take a damp paintbrush and pull the green into the yellow.

    Some general guidelines to remember would be:

  1. Emboss images with black embossing gives a crisp, black, detailed image.
  2. Apply your markers directly on your image.  This gives you that rich vibrant color.  You can also put the marker on a non-porous surface and pick up the color to create softer shades.
  3. Start with lighter colors first and lay darker colors on top, then, blend.  By using a darker color and blending it out, you receive many different shades of the same color.
  4. When you are first practicing this technique, (by the way, DON'T be afraid to practice, practice makes perfect!), put your paintbrush in water, touch it on a paper towel to blot excessive moisture, and then go to the color you have laid down and start pulling it out.  By using a circular motion, this creates a softer look.  Do not be afraid of using water if it is hard to pull out.  Water will help make this easier.  After you have gotten more comfortable with this technique, you can back off on water.  Blot up excessive water on the project, though.  Don't let it just sit on your image.
  5. If your paper is getting too wet, wait for a bit and let your paper dry before you go back and do a lot of playing.  As your paper dries, work your paper in your hands in the opposite direction, to smooth it out.  It will dry flat.
  6. When looking at your Northwoods stamp, any stipple dots, cross-hatching, or lines are natural shading lines that the artist has put in her stamp to show where the shading is.  So, you would put the lighter marker down first and then put the darker marker on top of those stipple dots, cross-hatching, or lines, and with your damp paintbrush blend the darker into the lighter.  This is a great plus in using Northwoods rubber stamps.  All that detail is actually a great help for you.  I call it the "User Friendly Stamp."
  7. Not everyone can see color or know what colors to use.  We like to look at pictures, magazines, or pull the image up on the internet to get a better idea of how the "mallard" really looks.  Pick out the colors you see and then lay them down.  Don't be afraid to play with color.  Try not to be too critical.  You are your own worst critic!


FAVORITE MARKERS USED AND WHAT THEY ARE USED FOR:  1.  090, 055, 062 (yellow)--used as base on greenery, sun, moon, stars.  2.  985, 025, 933 (golden yellow, orange)--used to shade a yellow image, sun, moon, pumpkins.  3.  947 (terra cotta)--used in trees, wood, animals (warmer red brown).  4.  977 (sandy brown)--great for sand, trees, grass.  5.  899, 879 (dark brown)--used in shading light brown and greenery (muddy something up).  6.  837 (burgundy)--used for shading flowers, great for cheek color.  7.  847 (red)--used to create deep red, cardinals (use this color last, it bleeds!).  8.  177 (dark green)--used in greenery and also as a shading color for 847.  9.  245 (kelly green)--just a touch in greenery.  10.  533, 553 (periwinkle blue)--used in water, sky, snow, great for shadows.  11.  526 (blue)--used in water for additional color.  12.  559 (midnight blue)--night-time sky.  13.  N45 (gray)--used in shadows, snow.  Additional colors:  606-purple, 555, 565-blue, 993-gold, 026-mustard yellow, 727-magenta.
    Feel free to experiment with any of your favorite colors.

 ¬©Northwoods Rubber Stamps, Inc. All Rights Reserved. The use of these designs is limited to hand stamping for personal and non-commercial use. No reproduction of these designs is allowed without written permission.