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GIMP Tutorial How To Create And Use Digital Stamps

Updated on September 12, 2014
License: CC0 Public Domain Commercial Use
License: CC0 Public Domain Commercial Use | Source

Digital Stamps Work Better than Rubber Stamping

Better than traditional stamping techniques (using physical stamping supplies) the digital stamp is fast becoming my favorite alternative to stamp crafts. This page explores digital stamp tutorials and provides resources to help you dive into this fun and creative activity. With these tips and resources you will be making your own projects.

Instructions include: Iron on Decals for jeans and quilts. Paper stock projects (greeting cards, postcards, valentines cards), and I have included a few videos to help you along the way.

Iron On Transfer and Digital Design

Digital stamping is a lot of fun! I have loved to work with fabrics for a long time. I once would sit and embroider tiny straw flowers on my jeans pockets. They added personality to them. What enjoy today is to use digital designs, a printer, and iron on transfer paper. Combined they allow me to explore design ideas and make amazing unique gifts.

Epson Iron-on Cool Peel Transfer (8.5x11 Inches, 10 Sheets) (S041153)
Epson Iron-on Cool Peel Transfer (8.5x11 Inches, 10 Sheets) (S041153)

This is my favorite kind of Iron On Transfer Paper. The main reason is it has a ''cool peel'' advantage. This means I can iron on my design and leave the backing on the project until it cools. This is safer. But it seems the design sets better as well. I remember so many times I have peeled back the transfer paper and found out part of the design hadn't stayed on the shirt (or other projects).

Be sure to look at heat settings on the paper instructions and consider the fabric heat settings as well. The most important thing for success is to get the temperature just right.

If it is too cool the transfer may not appear on your project. If the temperature of the iron is too hot you might scorch the fabric or melt the paper.


Iron On Decals For Jeans or Quilting

This is my favorite all time way to use digital designs. You can use just about any fabric to create something unique and customized.

Think about fabric and ways you might like to use your computer to create a design you can print out and then iron onto fabric. I have several ideas and a step by step how to list below.

You will need:

  1. A design
  2. Iron on transfer paper
  3. A printer
  4. The item you are going to iron the design onto
  5. An iron (set the iron at the setting recommended by the transfer paper instructions and the fabric you are using)

Things You Can Make With Iron On Decals

  • Customized jar covers (round fabric and ribbon) if you can for gifting this is a perfect way to make your jar look fabulous!
  • Embellish jeans, purses, pillows, curtains, tee shirts, quilt squares, or any fabric items.
  • Decorations, stockings, aprons, tree skirts, dish towels, or decorative covers for counter top appliances.

License: CC0 Public Domain Commercial Use
License: CC0 Public Domain Commercial Use | Source

Once Upon A Time

Do You Remember Blocks & Rubber Stamping?

  • Design ideas limited to the rubber design on the block.
  • Difficult to store, find, or share.
  • Out of season or out of date stamps become obsolete.

Those are only a few of the advantages of having digital stamps you can save on your computer or movable storage and sort out anytime to make new and unique gifts.

We now return to the IRON ON DECAL PROJECT


  • Select your favorite Design Style, make a digital design with GIMP or adapt a public domain image
  • print it onto "Iron On Transfer Paper"
  • Follow the instructions to preheat your iron (instructions on the transfer paper)
  • Iron the design onto the fabric you are going to use (jeans, quilt squares, pillow cases, or even a shirt)
  • Follow the instructions included with the iron on paper you use for heat setting, and
  • Follow washing instructions (on the transfer paper you use).

HINT: If your doing this process for the first time do a test piece first so you are familiar with how the process works.
Also after you have transferred the design be sure to follow the washing and drying instructions also included with the transfer paper you use.


Paper projects can span so many shapes sizes and holidays it is hard to think of them all. How many birthday cards, note cards, bookmarks, or valentines cards to you buy each year? Make a set of designs with GIMP and have your paper stock handy to make amazing customized projects.

Blank Greeting Cards - With envelopes!!!

Darice Heavyweight A7 Cards W/Envelopes (5.25"X7.25") 50/Pkg, White
Darice Heavyweight A7 Cards W/Envelopes (5.25"X7.25") 50/Pkg, White

I like to have blank card stock on hand so I'm ready to print and decorate. I can make a set of invitations on my computer and put them side by side. Then when I print them on this greeting card stock I can cut them in half and two post cards for every card.

Invitations, valentines cards (get four per card) and more.

It is always nice to have extra envelopes around which fit and match.


How To Make Greeting Cards

The steps to create a greeting card, note card, postcard, or scrapbook element using the digital stamping technique are easy.

  1. Select the design style you prefer
  2. Print it with your printer onto the paper stock you are going to use for your project
  3. Cut out or use as printed for elements or for your note card
  4. Embellish with your card making embellishments

HINT: If you have the exact size paper you want to use (such as note card stock) be sure you consider the fold on the card and position the printable design on the blank (on your screen) before you print it out so it will print in the place you want it to be.

An alternative to this is to print any way you want and then cut out the design which can then be positioned on the project and adhered to it. If you would like to layer designs or cluster then then the second method described is the best way to do this unless you are familiar with your editor and can do the work onscreen before it is printed out.

Design & Customize with GIMP

Making changes to your digital stamps is a great way to customize your projects.

This GIMP video will show you how to make changes to images before you print them out. Use this to add text or layer designs. While you are planing think about the printer color capabilities. If you printer has only black and white ink then think creatively to make a design which is appealing in shades of gray.

How to use digital stamp images in GIMP - GIMP Tutorial

Digital Stamped Valentines

Make your own valentines, set up a variety of designs, customize them for each of the kids, let them be involved in the design, printing, and embellishment!

Let them color grayscale printed designs on their full sheets!

Valentine Card Stock Sheet By Sheet

Avery 5302 Small Tent Card, White, 2 x 3 1/2, 4 Cards per Sheet (Box of 160)
Avery 5302 Small Tent Card, White, 2 x 3 1/2, 4 Cards per Sheet (Box of 160)

The Small Tent cards from Avery make the perfect size valentine for all themes and for all ages. The best part about using this method to create you cards is you can print out a sheet, and then adjust your design, and print out another sheet, etc.

You will have a few different designs or a different theme for each of your kids. Everyone gets what they want and you have not spent a fortune on several items.

TIP: Save your designs! Adapt them again next holiday or have them handy incase the list from your child's class changes. No more running out to the store at the last minute the night before you need a card.

This size is also fabulous for Gift Box notes. Design your own. Print on sheet. Then revise, update, add something new each time you have a gift wrapping holiday (birthdays or anniversaries).


Valentine Card Ideas

The best news about valentines cards is they don't need to have hearts on them anymore.

  1. Make your valentines with any theme you like. Hearts are great! But, be open to a lot of other themes as well.
  2. Design the size of the cards to determine how many will fit on one sheet of paper or use a template which comes with the Blank Greeting Cards.
  3. To simplify the process if you are not familiar with it you can use an Avery template see the product on the right to make sure you are measuring right and have everything lined up to print in the right position on the card.
  4. Take into account fold lines as well as cutting the cards apart.

HINT: If you would like you can print the pack on sheets and then cut them out and use a glue stick to adhere the designs to each valentine card. The cutting will take time (as apposed to printing the design right on the spot you wanted it to be positioned on each card) but it will allow the participants in the card making another step to learn and enjoy together.

Recap Summary

The best thing about using digital stamps is the versatility. The design can easily change, the themes can change. You can create a whole new set of details and not spend a lot to replace your card stock.

PRINT ONLY what you need. Then reprint again when you run out. This way you always have the opportunity to add something new to your style.

© 2011 Deb Bryan

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  • TolovajWordsmith profile image

    Tolovaj Publishing House 6 years ago from Ljubljana

    Never heard about digital stamps before. They look cool!

  • lilymom24 profile image

    lilymom24 6 years ago

    I really should learn how to do this but I don't know where I will find the time. Nice lens and nice tutorials.

  • davidber profile image

    davidber 6 years ago

    Very good lense.

  • profile image

    anonymous 6 years ago

    Does nothing stay the same these days.

  • evelynsaenz1 profile image

    Evelyn Saenz 6 years ago from Royalton

    I agree with OhMe, Darla is adorable and she does a wonderful job explaining just what digital stamps are and how to use them.

  • GypsyOwl profile image

    Deb Bryan 6 years ago from Chico California

    @OhMe: Thanks Nancy!

  • OhMe profile image

    Nancy Tate Hellams 6 years ago from Pendleton, SC

    Darla is so cute. I will have to return to this page and study a little!

  • GypsyOwl profile image

    Deb Bryan 7 years ago from Chico California

    @ZenandChic: Thanks Patricia!

    The free digi stamps are out and the response has been fabulous.

  • GypsyOwl profile image

    Deb Bryan 7 years ago from Chico California

    @ludyshubs: Great! Thanks for dropping by â¥

  • GypsyOwl profile image

    Deb Bryan 7 years ago from Chico California

    @Joan4: Thank you Joan!

    These are going to be so much FUN :D

  • GypsyOwl profile image

    Deb Bryan 7 years ago from Chico California

    @nightbear lm: Thank You! Glad you liked the free digi stamps Susan!

  • nightbear lm profile image

    nightbear lm 7 years ago

    What a wonderfully fun page. I love crafts. And thanks for the free stamps.

  • profile image

    Joan4 7 years ago

    Delightful! I must learn how to do this! I will return and watch the videos again!

  • ludyshubs profile image

    ludyshubs 7 years ago

    Love this lens. I will be back.

  • ludyshubs profile image

    ludyshubs 7 years ago

    Love this lens. I will be back.

  • ZenandChic profile image

    Patricia 7 years ago

    Wonderful lens!