Just Call Me Thrifty

With my last post, I used distress ink applicators that I made because they fit into my stamping budget.  Yep, I can’t afford to buy handles and blender pads (Cut n’ Dry foam)  for my Distress Ink colors right now.  I love these applicators that I made tho’ – I still used the Cut n’ Dry foam – it’s awesome because it holds ink differently than the porous sponges I had been using.  By having an applicator – no more inky fingers!!

Several people asked in comments, and several others emailed me when they saw the funny applicators I was using, so this post is for you!!  I took pictures when I was making them…just in case I needed to explain…you know what they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Just so you know….the real applicators are ones have a wooden handle and velcro to attach Cut n’ Dry foam – you can see them here.  Most people dedicate a square of foam to each ink color they have.  Some people have a handle for each ink color they have and some change out the foam depending on which color they are using.  I wanted these things badly since I use Distress Inks a lot, so I came up with this solution.

I re-purposed a set of stamps that I had.  These stamps are currently available at Michaels, so I ended up purchasing an additional set at 50% off – they ended up being $6.00.  ETA:  If you do this don’t feel like you have to use round stamps, the square $1 stamps at Michaels work just fine!


I simply took the rubber off the stamp – with this set it peeled away cleanly and also peeled the label off of the top.

Top the mount with red tacky tape.

Trim tacky tape down to the size of the mount.  Set aside enough Cut n’ Dry foam for each mount that needs to be covered.

Trim the Cut n’ Dry foam to the size of the mount.  The tacky tape will hold it in place.

Apply labels so that you can tell them apart.

Here is what the whole set looks like.


Hope this helps those who had questions!!

  • Jan SchollJuly 15, 2008 - 11:18 pm

    i give up-your site keeps saying error not correct address. phooey.ReplyCancel

  • JanineJuly 16, 2008 - 5:13 am

    Too bad Jan… I get in all the time and love it!!! Becca this is genius!!!ReplyCancel

  • PaulaJuly 16, 2008 - 5:27 am

    I was one that e-mailed you. Thanks for responding! Just let me say, how clever! I think I’ll go to the wood section at M’s and find something similar to the stamp handles. You are very creative.ReplyCancel

  • CasieJuly 16, 2008 - 5:52 am

    Thanks so much for posting how you made these!!ReplyCancel

  • mary puskarJuly 16, 2008 - 6:08 am

    Well I’m going right to my local mike’s. Thanks Becca!


  • Katherine McKameyJuly 16, 2008 - 7:28 am

    Man, I love it when people re-purpose their stuff to serve in other ways!! I try to do that as often as possible since running out to the LSS or Craft store involves a 100+ mile trip! Thanks for sharing this – I have run into similar issues with my distress inks and have items that would work like this too. Now, I’m inspired to figure out a solution. Thanks Becca!!ReplyCancel

  • katieJuly 16, 2008 - 7:42 am

    I could call you thrift but I’d rather call you brilliant. This idea so rocks. I saw the finished applicator in another post and wondered how that was done. Thought about going and getting simple wooded drawer pulls but the applicator area would be too small. Thanks for sharing the how to and the inspiration.ReplyCancel

  • Kerry FitzpatrickJuly 16, 2008 - 8:43 pm

    GREAT IDEA!!!! How clever of you, Becca! Not only are you creative (card wise) but inventive as well. I’m impressed!!!ReplyCancel

  • Kay McBrideJuly 17, 2008 - 12:02 pm

    cool ,i hope michaels still have some this weekend. michaels people will wonder why they had a rush on these stamp sets!! but im sure they will like the business

  • ShaylaJuly 17, 2008 - 8:17 pm

    Hey – awesome idea!

    I’d also check the wood section of M’s and Jo’s for some similar wood pieces. Sometimes you can purpose certain shapes for this, or even use the plain blocks or rounds (with flat bottoms) for this stuff.

    If you wanted to REALLY go cheap, you could buy a thick dowel rod and have it cut into 2″ pieces etc and attach the foam – although maybe not as pretty, cost effective!ReplyCancel

  • JoaniJuly 20, 2008 - 2:57 pm

    Very, very smart! I always look for ways to “re-purpose” items. Great idea!

  • DebbyJuly 29, 2008 - 8:03 pm

    You are very clever! What a great Idea. Thanks for sharing.ReplyCancel

  • Sharon KJuly 29, 2008 - 8:45 pm

    FINALLY a use for my SU wood blocks that I set aside when I unmounted the rubber.
    SharonK- Crystal, MNReplyCancel

  • QJuly 30, 2008 - 11:04 pm

    Neat! where can you purchase the cut n dry foam? Mike’s or ACM? and how do you use the blenders?ReplyCancel

  • Virginia AndersonJuly 31, 2008 - 9:13 am

    Wonderful idea! Like the way you ‘recycled’ the wooden ‘stamps’. Have you considered inking the top of the ‘peg’ with the ink color so you can easily identify each color?
    Just found your blog today….July 31. Enjoying a journey through your wonderful ideas and photos.
    VA in AZReplyCancel

  • mokkaAugust 2, 2008 - 6:12 pm

    Brilliant idea. I live out in the boonies and have to take two ferries to get anywhere. I used an old handle stamp(think office type) several years ago and put self adhesive velcro to it to hold the felt strips to apply alcohol ink, love that stuff. I just dug out some round wooden stamps from the dollar store. I will unmount the animal figures and add my cut and dry. I did originally have a square wood mount, that I removed the stamp from(stuck it on the back of another similar stamp) and gued a square of cut n dry foam to it for the same thin. I could use each of the 4 sides for a different colour, woodmount was about 2.5×2.5 inches.
    I have a question though, how did you cut the circles so nicely????
    They look perfect on there, like they always were there.

    Michaels is two ferries and $100 ferry cost away, plus totals about 5 hours each way……..so I won’t be getting one of those disney sets, but sure wish I could, I like having things organized like that!

    Loving your blog……………………..ReplyCancel

  • mokkaAugust 2, 2008 - 6:46 pm

    Becca’s idea was so brilliant that it got my mind working. I couldn’t figure out how to email you Becca, so I hope it is alright to post my idea here?? I don’t have a blog.

    I was thinking about people who couldn’t get to Michaels and didn’t have any stamps they wanted to unmount and came up with another idea. I also have more than just the first set of distress inks, and can see me wanting to use chalk inks etc.

    I am on a lot of prescriptions(medically disabled ER/ICU nurse for 25 years, I guess it’s my turn now LOL) I have every size of bottle, but a lot of them have an inch size lid, and my lids are flat on top and are twst lids. If you know a relative etc on medications you could quickly collect these. My idea was to put cut n dry foam on a multiple of lids, one for each colour you would want to use in this way. Then you could just remove the lids to change to the colour you wanted to.The colour name could be put inside the lid. One bottle and a bunch of lids would work very well I think. Too bad I just threw out a whole bunch of empty pill bottles, but it won’t take long to accumulate more. Then you just need a nice little container to keep your one pill bottle and multiple lids in. I need tidy options because I have a small space and too much stuff(I did not say that LOL) I hope this might be helpful to someone. If you and your family are totally healthy most pharmacies will sell you empty bottle for just a few cents. Becca I apologize if I shouldn’t of posted this idea here………………….


  • WendyAugust 4, 2008 - 7:30 pm

    I was just wondering…where can I get the cut and dry foam from please? Thanks…By the way I have saved your site in my favorites. I just love looking and learning. Thanks again

  • […] so I used it to frame the corners and accent the background piece.  Using my homemade daubers here I smudged Faded Jeans Distress ink around the edges of the base card, the blue stamped layer, the […]ReplyCancel

  • KatiepAugust 10, 2008 - 6:50 am

    What a fabulous tip!


  • TerryAugust 18, 2008 - 4:54 pm

    Yes, I meant the caps….LOLReplyCancel

  • Cathy B.August 18, 2008 - 6:43 pm

    I had thought about using an acrylic block with some Velcro and just have one with multiple pieces of felt and store the individual felts after use in baggies.

    I only have clear stamps an no wood mounts. Being mobility challenged it is difficult to get to the store and I have to order everything on line. I do have an extra acrylic block.

    I have umpteen empty medicine bottles lying around and I am going to use Mokka’s idea… sensational concept!!!

    I won’t have to worry about ordering Velcro online and can use tape I have with multiple lids and not have to worry about switching felt between one mount.

    This way I can use a lid for each color combination and keep several bottle bottoms to use for handles.

    I have one sheet of the cut-and-dry felt and one sheet of the cut-and-dry foam, so I will be off to a great start for alcohol inks and other inks… yippee!!!ReplyCancel

  • Kathryn JohnsonAugust 26, 2008 - 1:20 pm

    I have done a similar thing-I bought a package of 1″ wood cubes from Michaels (over with all the unfinished wood) and attached the foam with epoxy. Works great!ReplyCancel

  • MariangelesAugust 31, 2008 - 1:40 pm

    Great idea!!ReplyCancel

  • BarbaraSeptember 20, 2008 - 5:39 pm

    I just love your idea!! I have been cutting those round yelloe sponges in fourths and using them, but they’re messy and not nearly as cute! I ran out to Michael’s with my 50% off coupon and bought a set of stamps. Mine aren’t the same style but they’re pretty cool. I’m anxious to transform them. I love your site!ReplyCancel

  • KatieOctober 10, 2008 - 11:09 am

    What a great idea! Inexpensive, useful & classy-looking. Thanks for sharing the idea.ReplyCancel

  • Jen HooverOctober 23, 2008 - 2:35 pm

    WOW! you’re a genius! :D I *heart* your thriftiness!!! {is that even a word?} ;)ReplyCancel

  • Renée KNovember 16, 2008 - 4:38 pm

    Becca – This is genius! I wish I had found this BEFORE today’s trip to Michael’s! However, I’m off tomorrow and gas prices are down, right? I love to rationalize reasons for going to Michael’s! Tanks for sharing this.ReplyCancel

  • SusyDecember 4, 2008 - 5:15 pm

    Fabulous, love it.ReplyCancel

  • Amber aka bambi64January 2, 2009 - 7:46 am

    Headed to JoAnns today with mom, guess what I’ll be looking out for!!ReplyCancel

  • JulieJanuary 3, 2009 - 5:24 am

    This is absolutely brilliant….I also watched some of your videos on tying ribbon…you are so thoughtful to take the time to do all of this and bless you for it. Where can you purchase the cut n dry foam and is there any certain trikck to blending…your cards are always gorgeous.ReplyCancel

  • Elisa SalatFebruary 7, 2009 - 9:58 am

    Becky, I am telling my husband what a talented woman you are!! I just can’t believe it! You are such a great example to everyone. I can’t stop looking at your cards. And now you are sharing a very ingenious way to make your own distressed ink applicators. YOU ROCK!ReplyCancel

  • Inky FingersAugust 9, 2009 - 12:01 am

    Hi Becca, love your blog and you do a great job with the tuts. It was mentioned earlier on this link, about your trimming the foam so precise. What is your secret ? Ü I look forward to your reply.
    Thank you,

  • ClaudetteAugust 20, 2009 - 11:41 am

    Thanks so much for sharing your great idea. My Mom always quoted the famous lines by ??? “Necessity is the mother of invention”…or maybe “There’s more than one way to skin a cat”. (Yuck! who’d want to be so mean as to skin a cat???)lol
    Anyway…GREAT PROJECT!!!ReplyCancel

  • LizetteJanuary 25, 2010 - 12:41 am

    I just discovered your site and I LOVE your boxes and ideas!!! Thank you for sharing. I never thought of making my own applicators, one more thing that made me say: “why didn’t I think of that?” CLEVER!!!ReplyCancel

  • KarenFebruary 26, 2010 - 8:31 am

    Good idea! I bought my blending tool for $4.95, got two pieces of foam and have discovered you only need one because color don;t mix or muddle. So not a big expense!ReplyCancel