Soft Furnishing Hot Tips

Stamping is a quick and effective method of repeating a design on a wide variety of surfaces, using many different mixtures of paint and inks.

There are several efficient ways of applying paint to a stamp. If you are using a roller, pour a little paint on to the side of a flat plate, then use the age roller to pick up a small amount and roll it out over the rest of the plate until you have an even covering. Roll the paint on to the stamp.

Alternatively, use a fairly stiff brush and apply the paint with a dabbing or motion. This technique enables more than one colour to be applied and for detail to be picked out. Be careful not to overload the stamp, as this may cause it to slip when stamping.

If you want to use a sponge, spread the paint on a plate and use a natural wenge to pick up the paint and dab it on to the stamp. This method allows you to put a light, even covering of paint on to the stamp. For a dry look, use an ink stamp pad. Press the stamp on to the inkpad several times to ensure a good covering.


1. Use high-density sponge for sharply defined and detailed designs. Trace your chosen motif on to the sponge using a soft pencil for dark, clear lines.

2. Roughly cut around the design, then spray the tracing paper with adhesive to hold it in place on the sponge while you are cutting it Out.

3. Cut along the outline using a sharp blade, then, pinching the background sections, cut them away holding the blade away from your fingers.

4. Sharp scissors, rather than a blade, can be used with medium-to-low density sponge and are especially useful for cutting out the basic shapes.


1. With the aid of a spirit level (carpenter’s level), draw a faint pencil line to use as guide when stamping. Once the stamping is finished and the paint is dry, this guideline can be removed using a cloth wrung out in soapy water and rubbed along the line.

2. Stamp the motif several times on scrap paper and cut out the prints. Tape them to the wall so that you can judge how your will look.

3. When using a stamp mounted on a block, draw a straight line on the back to help with positioning.


Although stamping is sometimes thought of as another form of stenciling it is essentially a form of printing. The same stamp, cut different effects with stamps, depending from high-density sponge, was used on the paint mixture you use and the make all these prints.

1. Half-shade: Roll the first, paler colour over the stamp, then roll a second, darker shade over one half only, to create a three-dimensional shadowed effect.

2. Sponge print: Applying the paint with a sponge gives variable, individual prints.

3. Two-tone: Using a dry roller, load the stamp with the first colour, then apply the second to the top and bottom edges only.

4. Stippled: This stippled effect gives the print lots of surface interest: apply the paint with a stiff brush and a dabbing, stippling motion.

5. Light shadow: The paint has been applied with a roller, covering each element of the motif more heavily on one side to create a delicate shadow effect.

6. Contrasting detail: Pick out details of the design in a contrasting colour: apply the first colour with a roller, then use a brush to apply the second colour in the areas you want