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Guide to Rubber Stamping

By: Elizabeth Moad - Updated: 19 Dec 2010 | comments*Discuss
Rubber Stamping Design Papercraft

Rubber stamping is the technique of printing a design using a rubber stamp. It is a relatively new papercraft but it has become so popular that it is probably the most widely practised. There is now a fantastic range of products available and thousands of rubber stamps to choose from to create a project for any occasion.

Basic Tool Kit – Must Haves

  • Stamps
  • Ink pads
  • Anti static bag
  • Heat gun
  • Embossing powders
  • Embossing ink pad
  • Cardstock


Rubber stamps come in many forms, shapes and sizes. The images on the stamp can vary from flowers, cats to alphabets – everything under the sun!

Outline stamps – these produce an outline of the image ready for colouring in.

Solid stamps – these are a solid image and may have less detail than an outline stamp.

Wooden mounted – these are the traditional stamps with a rubber image on a wooden block.

Wooden peg stamps – these are small rubber images mounted on peg dowels specifically for rubber stamp tapestry.

Foam mounted – these are usually childrens stamps and are not so durable but they are usually cheaper and come in sets.

Clear resin un-mounted – these are now very popular because you get a set of stamps in a pack, they are good value for money. These are clear plastic images which are self-clinging and are used with a resin block. The clear stamps are placed on to the resin block allowing you to compose your image. They are inked in the usual way and printed just as wooden mounted stamps.

Top Tip

Clean your stamps immediately after use by using a damp piece of kitchen roll or if you used a solvent inkpad use the specific cleaner.

Storing your Stamps

The rubber will perish if exposed to sunlight so store your stamps in cardboard or plastic boxes away from sunlight. Try not to pile up stamps in a box or they will get damaged.


Again these come in all forms and colours:

Dye based – these are water based, non-permanent and usually have a felt pad.

Pigment – these tend to be slightly thicker and come with a foam pad. They can be in all colours; metallic, chalk or pearlescent.

Embossing – these are for heat embossing and are used with embossing powders and a heat gun.

Brush markers – these are coloured pens which you can use instead of inkpads to ink the stamp. The advantage is that you can use more than one colour on an image.

How to Stamp

Step 1

inking the rubber stampThe inkpad will usually be smaller than the stamp you are using. So you need to take the inkpad to the stamp – do not press the stamp in to the inkpad. Cover the whole stamp with ink. 20px breakStep 2

stamp is pressed onto the cardMake sure your worksurface is uncluttered and stable. Put your card on the table and press the stamp on to the card, using a firm downward pressure. Now lift the stamp off the card vertically so as not to smudge the image. 20px breakStep 3

image is left to dry and coloured inLeave the card to dry for a few seconds. If using a solid stamp you may wish to leave the printed image as it is. If you used an outline stamp then you can colour it in using pencils, watercolours or felt pens. 20px breakTop Tip

If the image is blurred you may have moved the stamp before lifting off. If one area has not printed, this may be due to lack of pressure or not enough ink.

Heat Embossing

Step 1

powder is sprinkled over designBefore printing, wipe the cardstock with an anti static bag. This helps the powder shake off in step 2. Print the image using a clear embossing inkpad and then sprinkle over embossing powder. 20px breakStep 2

heat gun melts the powderShake off excess embossing powder and return it to the container. Now use a heat gun to melt the embossing powder. The heat melts the powder to a semi-liquid form and then it turns solid, leaving a slightly raised image. 20px breakTop Tip

An anti-static bag is a little pouch full of powder which, when wiped across card or paper, creates a skin-like layer. Thus when sprinkling embossing powder over an inked and stamped design the powder only sticks to the ink. No more unsightly specks or flicking away with paintbrushes! Available from stamp stores.

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