Home-made Stamp-a-ma-jig

  I love my Stamp-a-ma-jig!  It’s one of the tools that hangs next to my work area.  With it, I can stamp with precision and while I don’t always care about precise positioning, sometimes it’s needed.  Clear-mount stamps have reduced the cases where I need my Stamp-a-ma-jig, but even still there are times I really do need to place an image or greeting exactly where I want it.

The critical part of a Stamp-a-ma-jig is an inside corner and a transparent sheet.  You place the sheet in the corner, stamp on the sheet with the block exactly in that corner, move the image on the sheet to where you want it, place the inside corner at the same position around the clear sheet, remove the sheet, and stamp in the corner on the card, right where you want it.  It sounds complicated and there are a bunch of steps, but once you get the hang of it, it’s like magic!

So I’ve been working on my Getting Started Challenge where I talk about working with minimal supplies.  A  Stamp-a-ma-jig isn’t going to make that cut.  There are a lot of tool I would buy before I spent $11.95 for one.  So I’ve been looking for a substitute when getting started and this morning, as I was using the last cotton swab, I saw it!  A home-made Stamp-a-ma-jig!

Home Made Stamp-a-ma-jig  It has an inside corner and a flat piece of clear plastic!  You could do the same thing with an old frame.  I’m sure there are many substitutes.  Keep your eyes open!

Stampa 2  So I got to work.  I separated the backing and the plastic.  I used the square hole to trace the rectangle with precise right angles and cut it with a blade and ruler.

Stampa 3 And here is my new tool!

Stampa 4I used it to place this bird so it sits on a branch and can be viewed in the punched window. In fact, I placed the stamp, took the photo, and forgot to press down on the stamp.  I was able to precisely reposition the stamp and I have to look close to see I stamped twice.

I’ll be making a video for this card soon, but I was so excited I just had to share this right away!

Stamp-A-Ma-JigDon’t get me wrong!  I still recommend a “real” Stamp-a-ma-jig.  It has a nice long handle.  The bottom has a surface that doesn’t slide too much.  The frame part is nice and high and easy to get the stamp block in just the right place.  It’s way easier to use than my home-made version.  And really, $11.95 is not a high price for such a useful tool.  You will want to get one when you can.  But if you are trying to get started with minimal supplies, try making your own.




Getting Started Challenge SuppliesI challenged myself to make as many projects as possible with a minimum of supplies.  Send me your samples and I’ll share them here too!

First, the supplies I used:

Total cost $122.35 plus shipping and tax.  That might sound like a lot, but this will make 40 beautiful cards at $3.06 each, mostly limited by those 40 envelopes.  If you buy 2 packs you will double that to 80 cards at $1.53 each.  Now consider how much you spend for cards at the store and the time it takes you to drive to the store.  I think it sounds like a bargain!  Next year, after you’ve sent a birthday card and maybe a Christmas card or Thank You to everyone, buy a different stamp set.  You will probably still have plenty of supplies on hand for more cards.


Alternatives you might prefer to save money.

Supplies I consider essential, but can be substituted with things you most likely have.  I think you’ll find the Stampin’ Up! easier to use and perform their functions better than the alternatives, but the alternatives can get you through until you’re ready to upgrade.

    • Stampin’ Trimmer $29.95, #126889  It cuts a straight line and scores to help fold a clean line.  Use scissors or a ruler and a razor knife for cutting.  Score by putting your card stock on a magazine and use something thin and round (like a paper clip, washer like you’d use with bolts, or maybe even a dime.) and a ruler to create the score line.Bone Folder $6.95, # 102300  Add it to my bag.
    • A Bone Folder , $6.95. #102300.  It helps you crease your score line for a crisp fold.  Use a finger nail or the side a smooth pen.
    • Paper Snips $9.95, #103579  I went for years without Snips.  When I finally bought some, I found they really did cut a lot better than my regular household scissors.
    • Snail Adhesive $6.95, #104332 and refills $4.50, #104331.   Use any 2 sided tape.
    • Multipurpose Liquid Glue $3.95, #110755. Use any white glue, but be careful of buckling.
    • Stampin’ Dimensionals $3.95, #104430.  They are only about a penny apiece and add a lot to your projects.  I have used foam carpet tape in the past, but if you’re going to buy something, by all means, buy the Dimensionals.
    • Stampin’ Mist $4.50, #102394 and Stampin’ Scrub $16.95, #126200.  The mist cleans and conditions your stamps.  Spray it on one side of the Scrub to clean and dry on the other side of the Scrub.  You could buy the Mist and spray it on a painter’s edger pad refills or you can use alcohol free baby wipes to clean your stamps.
    • Stamp-a-ma-jig $11.95, #101049.  See a home-made version here.

Send me photos your Getting Started Samples!

Email Me a picture and I’ll share them here.

Next Steps

Once you have white card stock and markers you will want to add colored card stock and stamp pads.

Card Stock All of our basic card stock comes in color family assortments or single color packs, 80 lb. weight, and is the same color all the way through.. Both single color and assortments come in 8 1/2″ x 11″ or 12″ x 12″.  I make primarily cards and the 8 1/2″ x 11″ works best for me.  If you like to make a lot of 3-D projects or you want to try scrap-booking you might prefer the 12″ x 12″.

8 1/2″ x 11 single color $6.95 for 24 sheets

12″ x 12″ single color $5.95 for 12 sheets

8 1/2″ x 11″ assortments $6.95 for 20 sheets, 2 of each color

12″ x 12″ assortments $9.95 for 20 sheets, 2 of each color

I would get the same colors of card stock that you got in markers.  These links should take you to the 8 1/2″ x 11″

Real Red or Cherry Cobbler, Old Olive or Pear PizzazzBasic Black, Marina Mist, Daffodil Delight, Pumpkin PieEarly EspressoSmoky SlateBlushing Bride, Rich RazzleberryCrumb Cake, and  Night of Navy.

Neutrals 8-1/2" x 11" Cardstock

Regals 8-1/2" x 11" Cardstock



Subtles 8-1/2" x 11" Cardstock2012-2014 In Color 8-1/2" X 11" Card Stock2013-2015 In Color 8-1/2" x 11" Cardstock


Classic Stampin’ Pads come is all the colors except Whisper White and Very Vanilla.  The ink is dye-based and cleans up with water.  The Basic Gray and Basic Black inks are a bit more water resistant and are better when you want to fill in outlines with water and ink. If you might do a lot of painting you might also consider Stazon Ink because it really is permanent.  There is a Whisper White stamp pad in Craft ink that is more like paint.  The ink pads are long lasting, but if you use up all the ink refills are available.  I’ll let you cruise through the online catalog here.

Stamps  There are so many!  It’s hard to decide where to start. All of our stamps are high quality and come unmounted to help keep down the cost.  We used to have to cut them off sheet of rubber, but they come trimmed ready to pop out.  Here’s help for mounting.  You need to decide on wood-mount, clear-mount, or the new photopolymer that are clear, stick to the block well, but because they are so new there’s a limited choice.  I like wood-mount for sets that I use a lot and have small pieces.  I like clear-mount for everything else because they take less room on my shelf and cost less.  If you get clear-mount you will also need blocks.  Clear Block D works for most sets $8.50 #118485.  If you are shopping from a printed catalog the images are the same size as the stamps.  Cut a hole in a piece of paper that is 2 7/8″ x 2 11/16″.  If the whole image in the catalog fits in the hole, then Block D will work.

I suggest one with images that would look good for a lot of different events and then a greeting set that is also flexible.  I know it’s not cheep at $36.95 in wood-mount #128748, but I find myself using Teeny Tiny Wishes a lot!  It has 24 greetings for everything from Hello, Baby to Happy Retirement.   If that’s too pricey try Sweet Essentials with 8 greetings at $19.95 #132085 in wood-mount.

For image stamps?

Consider these.

Blooming with Kindness  $22.95 in wood-mount #131961 or $16.95 in clear-mount 126422.  The greetings in this set may be sufficient to get you started.


By the Tide $27.95 in wood-mount #   131910 or $19.95 in clear-mount #29120


Everything Eleanor $36.95 in wood-mount #131987 or $26.95 in clear-mount #124164


Lovely As a Tree has been around forever!  I think there would be riots if it was discontinued.  $27.95 in wood-mount #128655 or $19.95 in clear-mount #127793

For the Birds provides another way to go.  There are 8 stamps with greeting and image.  $32.95 for Wood-mount #132001 or $24.95 for clear-mount #126407.  You can use a marker to color just the image, stamp, clean the stamp, then stamp just the greeting.  Some people eve cut them apart and mount them separately.