Rubber stamping is very versatile craft. For people like me who are not good artist, rubber stamping is ideal. Rubber stamp transfers the desired image on a surface within seconds.Rubber stamping can be done on various surfaces like Cardstock, Vellum paper, Tissue paper, any fabric, wood, Terra cotta, and the list goes on. But Cardstock is the best surface to start learning this technique.

It’s not clear that who introduced rubber stamps. But they were introduced around 1870s. Earlier they were used by businesses for stamping dates or predefined phrases and by Post office to stamp words like FIRST CLASS MAIL. The picture stamps were first used in early 20th century by Russians and then Germans. Rubber stamping as a hobby took off in 1980s in the western world. Though in India, there is no awareness of rubber stamping as a hobby.

Rubber stamps can be used to decorate cards, gift tags, book marks, journals/memory books, photo frames, fabric, pot holders, wooden boxes, lamp shades, possibilities are endless. Its a very fast technique whereby results can be achieved in minutes. The best part of Rubber Stamping is that one doesn’t need any drawing skills since there are thousands of designs available to choose from in western world. In India, there are some stores that provide fancy art rubber stamps though limited options.

Basic Tools

  • Cardstock /vellum/Tissue paper or any surface to work on
  • Rubber stamp with desired design
  • Ink pad or embossing pens
  • Baby wipes or wet paper towel for cleaning the rubber stamp or stamp cleaner
  • For raised images : embossing powder with heating tool
  • optional : Rubber brayer, Brush Markers, watercolors and blender pen

Rubber stamp can be mounted on

Wood: most commonly available in western market.

Foam: these are cheapest of all & easy to make by oneself.

Acrylic: these allow one to see through, so that the stamping can be done on desired area precisely.

Wheel: here the stamp is in the form of a wheel (looks like a brayer) to get a continuous image, used mostly to get borders.

rubber_stamp_doc_block  rubber_stamp_doc_acrylicblock  rubber_stamp_doc_rollerblock

Stamps give different results based on how they are carved. They could be carved to give bold-faced image, outline of a design or detailed image.

rubber_stamp_doc_sathio  rubber_stamp_doc_justsathio                  rubber_stamp_doc_outlinedblocksathio  rubber_stamp_doc_outlinedsathio                         rubber_stamp_doc_detailedblockmango  rubber_stamp_doc_detailedmango

Bold Faced Image                    Outlined Image                              Detailed Image

Ink Pads:

There are varieties of ink pads available in the market. Which type of Ink should be used depends on which surface is being stamped. There are many brands that manufacture different kind of ink pads.

Dye-Based ink pad: Ideal on matte as well as glossy paper. It offers bright & vivid colors but fades over time. Since the ink is thin it holds detailed image very well. Since dye based ink dries fast, its not good for embossing. This ink cleans up easily using water. New waterproof dye-based inks are available now.

Pigment ink pad: Pigment ink comes in wide variety of colors that include metallic, spectrum/rainbow, as well as fluorescent and clear. They are thicker inks and dry very slowly. This makes them ideal for heat embossing. Also, due to slow drying process they are not good on glossy paper. Unlike dye based ink, pigment ink resist fading over time.

Permanent ink pad: These are solvent based ink and permanent as termed. Some examples are Staz-On, Zim Ink, Décor-it, 123 Ink & Feista ink. They are ideal for stamps that provide detailed & outlined image since it won’t smudge with colors being filled inside the outlined image. They are available in many colors including metallic. This ink is good on matte as well as glossy paper, wood, walls, plastic, shrink plastic, glass, metal, ceramics.

Embossing ink pad: They are used specifically with embossing powder. It is available as a clear ink. Now they are available in colors in form of markers.

Fabric ink pad: Fabric inks are available in several colors and are permanent on washing too. Clean the rubber stamp immediately after using fabric ink on it. This ink can be used on wood, glass, plastic, walls, lamp shades, shrink plastic, …….. .Some of the fabric ink require heat set to make it permanent on the surface. So make sure to purchase air drying ink for surfaces that can’t take heat setting.

Crafter’s ink pad: This is a pigment ink, permanent only when heat set. It is suitable on wood, shrink plastic, walls, cork, polymer clay, lamp shades,…….

Washable ink pads: These are water-based ink pads, mainly manufactured for children.

* In India we find pigment & dye based ink pads only

Coloring the stamps

To transfer any stamp image on to the surface you are working on, you need to color the stamp first. There are different ways in which you can color them. The traditional way is to use an ink pad. I have explained different methods to color them as follows:

  1. Using Ink pad: Just put the image side of rubber stamp on the ink pad and tap it several times to ensure enough ink on the stamp. This will ensure a crisp image when you press the rubber stamp on the paper. Give enough pressure & don’t rock the stamp.
  2. Using Spectrum ink pad: Follow the same process. This will give you a multi-color image as shown here
  3. Using Brush markers: color the areas you want to color on the stamp using markers. or in case of different color image, use different color markers on different areas of the image. Breathe near the stamp to moisten the stamp before stamping on the desired surface.

wetemboss_inking   wetemboss_stamping   wetemboss_image

Fill in color after stamping (outlined image) – using Chalk, markers or watercolor: Stamp the image with the color you want as an outline. Fill in the areas then with the desired colors. Use chalk, markers or watercolors depending on the effect you want on the final image.

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