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Stampers Can Climb the Walls and Make It Look Easy

August 10, 1996|LYNN O'DELL

Stamps aren't just something you put on paper anymore. You can stamp on the wall, the floor, the curtains, your clothes.

Stamping is growing in popularity as more and more people find out how easy it is, said Lauren Powell of Plaid Enterprises, which is known for consumer-friendly arts and crafts products that come with step-by-step instructions.

But stamping on walls is nothing new to Gary Dorothy, owner of Stampa Barbara, a stamp emporium that originated in Santa Barbara and has stores in Costa Mesa and Los Angeles. He used stamps on the exterior of his Santa Barbara store 11 years ago.

"Several companies have come out with stamps they say are for walls, but really you could use any stamp," he said.

The Costa Mesa store has a section of big, full-image stamps (as opposed to outline stamps) for fabrics and walls.

Among the thousands of stamps the store carries are wall and fabric stamps that include a coffee cup and saucer, a crown, a cactus, a fish and a sun, a grape leaf, a wavy line, a star, a guitar and a gingerbread man.

The most popular wall stamp is the fleur-de-lis, which comes in a large and a small size, Dorothy said. The store sells an oversize stamp pad and thicker home decorating ink. But fabric inks and latex paint can be used also.

Powell's company sells decorator blocks made of flexible foam with a raised design. A gel-like glaze is brushed on the block and the block is pressed onto the object to be decorated. It's soap and water cleanup with no smell or oil if you use the glazes, she said.

Ivy and grapes are the most popular blocks. Plaid's blocks come with directions and ideas that describe how to build on a single element.

"You don't have to be an artist to do this. If you aren't creative enough to know how to drape the leaves, we show you," Powell said.

Stamping is not difficult, but it requires experimenting in an out-of-the-way spot to see what the stamp, ink or paint and wall texture will do together, Dorothy said.

How easy is it?

Kim Van Vlear of Laguna Niguel, who used the decorator blocks as the basis for wall murals in her daughter's bedroom, put it this way:

"People know I sew and I quilt, but they know I can't paint. When they come here and see Victoria's room, they go, 'You did that?' Then they say, 'Oh, if you can do it, I can do it, too.' "

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