Tracing Stamped Images for Hand-drawn Looks

Tracing Stamped Images

Add hand-drawn looks to your greeting cards and other projects by tracing stamped images with gel pens. Every image will look just like you drew it yourself!

Just Like You Drew It Yourself

Hand-drawn images make wonderful additions to greeting cards and other paper craft projects. If drawing is one of your strengths, this is a great way to personalize your work. However, even if drawing isn’t your forte, you can still add a hand-drawn look to your projects. How? By tracing stamped images with gel pens!

The ink in most gel pens is very opaque, meaning you can’t see through it when it’s dry. This quality makes it the perfect tool for tracing stamped images, because it will cover up just about any ink you stamp with. Simply stamp an image you like…

Stamp an image - Tracing Stamped Images
Stamp an image you like

…then draw over the lines of it with your gel pens.

Trace with a gel pen - Tracing Stamped Images
Trace the lines with a gel pen

The end result will look just like you drew it yourself!

Finished image has a hand-drawn look - Tracing Stamped Images
Finished image has a hand-drawn look

Gel pens come in a wide variety of colors, most of which show up well on any color of paper. Some, such as the Soufflé pens by Sakura, even add a smooth, raised, embossing-like texture to your ‘drawings’, which gives you even more creative options when tracing stamped images.

Soufflé gel pens by Sakura - Tracing Stamped Images
Soufflé gel pens by Sakura add raised texture and color

Tips for Tracing Stamped Images with Gel Pens

Adding this hand-drawn look to your paper craft projects is super easy. However, there are some things you can do to get the best possible results:

1. Use line art stamps.

Line art stamps are those that have an outline along with open space for you to color in, like the flower images I’ve shown here. Although you can use this technique with solid stamps, too, tracing line art images is easier, less time-consuming, and creates a more dramatic look.

2. Stamp on colored cardstock.

Gel pen inks look nice on white paper, but they really ‘pop’ when used on colored cardstock.

Colored gel pen ink really stands out on colored paper - Tracing Stamped Images
Colored gel pen inks on colored cardstock

Tracing stamped images in white gel ink on colored papers looks stunning, too!

White tracing on colored cardstock - Tracing Stamped Images
White gel pen ink on colored cardstock

3. Stamp with ink the same color as your cardstock.

Although most gel pen ink will completely cover whatever you apply it to, chances are you’ll miss some spots when tracing stamped images. Stamping in ink the same color as your paper will help keep these missed spots from standing out in your finished work.

Stamp with ink that matches your paper - Tracing Stamped Images
Stamp with ink the same color as your paper if possible

If you’re using white cardstock, stamp in the lightest color you have that still lets you see the stamp lines for tracing. I typically use a light grey or a pale cream color.

Stamp with the lightest ink you have on white cardstock - Tracing Stamped Images
Stamp with light grey, cream, or the lightest ink color you have on white cardstock

For colored cardstocks, if you don’t have ink in a matching color, try using Versamark or other clear embossing ink. This will create a light, watermark effect that is easily traceable but won’t show too much on missed areas. Just be sure to heat set it with a heat tool before tracing stamped images with your gel pens!

4. Use quality gel pens.

Gel pens can be found in most stores these days, including the dollar store. However, all gel pens are not created equal. Some cheap gel pens work fantastic, and some pricey ones don’t work well at all. In my experience, the best brands of gel pens include:

  • Sakura Jelly-roll
  • Sakura Soufflé (My personal favorite because of the added texture!)
  • Fiskars
  • LolliZ
  • SuperDoodle

5. Scribble on scrap paper before starting.

New gel pens often need to be used a bit to get the ink flowing. Also, gel pen ink tends to crust over the tips of older pens. For both reasons it’s a good idea to scribble your gel pen on a piece of scrap paper before tracing stamped images. This way you can be sure the ink is flowing as it should, and not mess up your stamped image.

6. Apply consistent, medium pressure to your pen.

Ink blob from pressing too hard - Tracing Stamped Images
Ink blob from pressing too hard

Some gel pens are pressure sensitive. If you press too lightly on your paper, they’ll scratch instead of draw, and if you press too hard the ink will flow too quickly. For best control, apply a nice, consistent, medium pressure while tracing stamped images.

7. Work from the center out.

Smudge from moving my hand over wet ink - Tracing stamped images
Smudge from moving my hand over wet ink

Gel pen ink takes a little time to dry, and will smear if touched before it does. To avoid smearing stamped images as you trace them, start at the center of the design and work your way out. This way your hand will always move over empty space instead of over what you already drew.

8. Let the ink dry.

Before adding your traced stamp to a project, give the gel ink a little time to dry. Again, this will help you avoid smearing it.

Materials Used

Curious about the materials that I used today? To make it easier for you to find them, I’ve linked them below. Please note that some sponsored links are included. At no extra cost to you, your purchases through these links help support Paper Craft Romance — thank you! For more information about sponsored links, please read my Advertising Disclosure.


Share Your Thoughts

Do you use gel pens in your crafting? If so, what are your favorite brands and why? What do you think of the idea of using them for tracing stamped images? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts!

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If you enjoyed this article, please pass it along. Thanks so much for reading, and please let me know if there is a paper craft problem I can help you solve today!

Article written by Deedee Anderson

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