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Op-Art Stamped Tray

Project by Mary O'Neil.

Materials and Tools:

Hot Potatoes stamps: Square Peg /Outline J460, Doughnut /Outline J458, Atomic Explosion F433
Stamp-a-ma-jig *
ink pads
permanent marker
clear self-adhesive paper

* Acquaint yourself with the Stamp-a-ma-jig. Look at the instructions and practice stamping on some scrap paper. It is a remarkable tool and one that you will find indispensable for all stamping projects.

The Square Block /Outline J457 and Circle/Outline J459 stamps are also perfect stamps for this technique.


1. With a permanent marker, make a dot in one corner of each of the stamps for this project. Since you will be using both sides, make a dot in the corresponding corner on the other side as well. This is the corner that will always go into the corner of the Stamp-a-ma-jig each time you use it.

2. Tape two pieces of paper together so that your paper will be large enough to fit inside the tray.

3. Measure your paper and find the center of both sides. Make a light pencil line halfway down and halfway across, dividing the paper into quarters. You will be erasing these lines later, so make them light.

4. Place the plastic sheet in the corner of the Stamp-a-ma-jig. Starting with the square peg, ink and stamp it on the plastic sheet, making sure the corner of the stamp with the dot is in the corner of the Stamp-a-ma-jig.

5. Align the image on the plastic sheet so that the two sides of the square are on the pencil lines. Move the Stamp-a-ma-jig into position up against the corner of the plastic sheet and hold steady. Remove the plastic sheet, ink up your stamp again, and stamp the paper, making sure that the corner with the dot is in the corner of the Stamp-a-ma-jig.

6. Repeat the process in the opposite diagonal corner so that the square pegs are tight into the pencil drawn corners. Using your pencil lines as a guide, continue stamping making the pattern as even as possible. They will never be really perfect, and by the time you are finished, the imperfections will no longer show.

7. Repeat until the paper is filled with a checkerboard design of square pegs.

8. Using a different ink color, ink up the doughnut stamp and repeat the process. The center of the doughnut circle should be placed at the corners where the squares intersect.

9. Repeat until the entire sheet is covered.

10. Using a different ink color, ink up Square Outline and using the Stamp-a-ma-jig, stamp the Square Outline in the blank spaces of the checkerboard pattern overlapping the square sides barely onto the circle design. Repeat over the entire card.

11. Clean plastic sheet. Finally, using another ink and the Atomic Explosion F433, stamp it onto the plastic sheet. Line this stamp up so that its cross bars will land right on top of the outside lines of the Square Border. Alternately stamp it between all of the outline circle stamps.

An infinite number of variations using this technique are possible. Try using only squares or only circles. Use all different shades of the same color or choose contrasting colors. You will find that you develop quite a rhythm and this process will become almost second nature.

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