Rubber Stamping Tips

Having trouble getting good images out of your rubber stamps? Here’s a quick list of Rubber Stamping Tips you can use to get the best images from your stamps.

These tips apply whether you are using your stamps for Rubber Stamp Scrapbooking or Rubber Stamp Card Making. Tip: Card Making is a great way to use up your leftover pieces of cardstock, paper, ribbons and embellishments from scrapbooking.

1.    Make sure when you go to ink your stamp, place the stamp with the rubber side up.  Then take the stamp pad and holding it above the stamp, press the pad straight down to the stamp several times so you don't get any ink on the wood or the edge of the rubber.  Those edges that get inked can appear as Halos when you stamp your image. Here's a good Rubber Stamping Tip - Ink the stamp with the pad - Don’t stamp the pad with the stamp.  And, don’t just stamp it once to get ink on it, but stamp it several times, moving the pad around, to get good solid coverage.   Practice.

2.    When you go to use the rubber (or acrylic) stamp, press it straight down on the paper (hopefully with something soft, but not squishy, like a mouse pad or magazine underneath). Press down with several fingers but don't rock the stamp or move it - this causes the halos.  Then lift the stamp straight up off the paper.   Depending on the type of ink, the paper may stick to the stamp, but the trick is to always go straight up and down with the ink and stamp, so when removing the stamp, you may wish to hold the paper or card stock down with your other hand.   The easiest way to insure you are always going straight up and down is to stand up when you ink and stamp your stamp.  Practice.

3.   Rubber Stamping Tip if you have a particularly large stamp or the block is too big to handle with comfort or accuracy, place the stamp upside down on your work surface.  Gently and carefully place the card stock on the stamp, then using your brayer, rolling along the flat surface of the paper and stamp while holding the card stock firmly in place.  Lift up carefully.  Practice.

4.     If you are using rubber or acrylic that is not mounted on wood, make sure the edge of the rubber or acrylic does not extend more than about 1/4 inch past the design part of the stamp.  Sometimes the portion that extends beyond the design can collect extra ink.  Rubber Stamping Tip: you can cut off some excess with a pair of scissors, but again, make sure you cut straight up and down and do not cut the rubber at an angle.  Practice.

5.   Also, if your ink pad is too juicy, it is easy to get extra ink on the wood mount or acrylic mounting.   This can be particularly common with a new ink pad.   Rubber Stamping Tip: Do a few test stamps on some scratch paper to see how things work.   Also, if your image does not seem to be stamping in it's entirety, please check out my page on Rubber Stamp Conditioning as sometimes stamps still have a little manufacturers oils on them and you need to get that off to get the best image.  Hers's a link for Conditioning Stamps.

After inking up a stamp, look at the stamping surface from an angle.  You want a shiney, smooth coverage and do not want any ink beading up on the surface of the stamp.  Rubber Stamping Tip: If this is happening, you need to condition your stamp using one or more of the methods listed on the Conditioning Page. Practice.

6.  If you are using a table that could possibly sag when you press on a stamp, like a card table or lap desk, to work on, then do your stamping on a very hard, non-flexible surface - maybe a piece of wood on top of the work surface.  Rubber Stamping Tip: If the area underneath your stamp dips or sags a little, your stamp will not get full coverage - particularly at the center of the stamp - the larger the stamp the more this could be a problem.  Practice.

7.   Bear in mind that there are different kinds of Inks and they provide different kinds of results -  Dye, Chalk, Pigment, Staz-on (permanent) and Alcohol Ink.

    A.  Dye based Inks seems to work best for most stamping, but it is water soluble, so it won’t work on a slick or glossy surface surface as there is no place for the ink to go.  It dries almost instantly.  

    B.  Chalk Inks, like Dye based ink, dries fast and does not work well with the glossy or slick card stock.

    C.  Pigment inks take longer to dry and are good to use when you want to emboss the image after stamping it.  These work on the Glossy surfaces and will work well with embossing powders.  If not embossing, either heat set or give the project time to dry.

    D.  The Staz-On Inks will really stain your stamps and the quicker you clean them off, the cleaner they will become.  Rubber Stamping Tip: You will need to use Staz-On Cleaner to get these clean, but it will ruin an acrylic block, so remove the stamp from the block before cleaning it. I have also heard that you can use non-alcohol baby wipes to clean any stamps, but the really cheap ones may leave lint and threads all over your stamps.  

    E   Alcohol Inks are made to work on glossy surfaces, and work particularly well on Glass & Metals.

8.    Rubber Stamping Tip: If you are trying to ink your stamp with more than one color, say with a marker, breathe or huff on the stamp up close after inking it up to get a little moisture on the stamp.  This puts enough moisture on the ink to keep it from drying out. Stamp just after.  Practice.

9.    Any of the Stamp Cleaners can be purchased at any craft or scrapbook store and most can be used on acrylic and rubber stamps.  Water and a mild dish soap and a soft toothbrush work fine, too.  This is how I clean mine.   If your acrylic stamps stop sticking to the block, wash the stamps and the blocks in a mild soap and water and let them air dry.  Stamp Cleaners can be in liquid form or in a spray or dabber top container and can also consist of a pad with fibers to run your stamp on and clean out all the crevices.  

10.   I have heard that you can reduce the amount of staining on any stamp by stamping into a Versamark or beige ink before stamping into your colored ink and that it will act as a film between your stamp and dark ink.  I have not personally tried this.   Just check your ink coverage on a scrap piece of paper first to see how it works.   

Having seen a couple of Demos by Tim Holtz, he does not clean his stamps.  I do clean mine, but I don’t mind if they stain a little.   The clear stamps are easier to find with a little color and it’s easier to see the image design as well.  Besides, if they are stained, I know I have used them.   I have so many that it makes it easier to find if I am looking to re-do a design from before.

I hope these Rubber Stamping Tips have helped you a little.   If you have anything to add, please let me know through the Contact Us form and we will credit you with the tip or suggestion.   I am always interested in keeping current with new tips & tricks.

Practice. Practice. Practice.  
Or maybe I should have said:
Play. Play. Play.

Check out all our Rubber Stamping pages.

Check here for the basics of Rubber Stamps

Check here for ways to do Rubber Stamp Conditioning

Check out our Rubber Stamp Embossing Tutorial

Check out our Rubber Stamp Store for all your Stamping Needs

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