How to Do Rubber Stamping

Dana Hinders
VersaMark ink
VersaMark ink

If you're wondering how to do rubber stamping, LoveToKnow Crafts is here to help. Whether you're interested in making handmade greeting cards, creating customized scrapbook embellishments, or designing unique altered art projects, rubber stamping is a great skill to add to your crafting arsenal.

Buying Your Supplies

Before you can begin rubber stamping, you'll need to purchase a few basic supplies.

Stamps

When purchasing stamps, it's smart to look for items that you can see yourself using in multiple projects. Alphabet stamps are a very versatile choice, as are flowers and simple geometric designs.

In addition to the traditional wood mounted rubber stamps, there are also a number of companies which sell clear acrylic stamps. These stamps are generally a bit cheaper than wood mounted rubber stamps. They are also a good choice for beginners, since it's easy to line up your images on your paper.

Ink

There are many different types of ink for rubber stamping, so choosing the right ink requires thinking about what you hope to accomplish with your project. Here are a few examples of the different types of ink you may wish to use for your rubber stamping crafts:

  • Dye ink: This is the traditional rubber stamping ink that is often included in children's craft kits. It's easy to use and dries quickly. Many kinds are also washable, which is important if you're worried about making a mess in your craft area.
  • Pigment ink: Pigment ink is used for embossing. You stamp your design, cover it with a thin layer of embossing powder, and then melt the powder with a heat gun to create a raised effect.
  • Fluid chalk ink: Fluid chalk inks, such as those sold under the ColorBox brand, are as easy to use as dye ink pads but have the resilience of pigment ink. They are permanent when heat set, but resist smearing or fading even when air dried.
  • VersaMark: VersaMark watermark ink gives a subtle tone-on-tone effect that can add a very elegant look to your project. It can also be used for embossing if you wish.

If you're just getting started stamping and on a tight budget, remember that black and brown inks are always a good choice. Another great way to save money is to look for craft stores that sell mini ink pads instead of the full size pad for each color.

Stamping Surface

Once you've selected your stamps and ink, you'll need something to stamp on. In most cases, the best choice for stamping is a smooth medium to heavyweight cardstock. Textured papers can create blurry impressions and papers with a glossy surface can repel your ink or create problems with smudging.

Tips for How to Do Rubber Stamping

To learn how to do rubber stamping, just follow these simple steps:

  1. Coat your stamp with ink. Press the stamp into the ink pad itself if you're using a small image. For a larger stamp, dab the ink pad onto the image to get the best coverage.
  2. Press the stamp down firmly onto the paper, taking care to avoid rocking the image. Some people find it easier to stamp while standing up, but this is mostly a matter of preference.
  3. Gently lift up to reveal your impression.
  4. Use colored pencils or markers to add detail to your image, if desired.
  5. Clean your stamps. Generally, scrubbing the stamp with soap and water or rubbing it with a baby wipe will remove most of the residue. Some staining of the stamp may occur if you're working with very dark ink colors, but this won't affect the usefulness of the stamp in the future.

If you're a rubber stamping novice, you may find it useful to practice on scrap paper a few times before you attempt to stamp directly on your project.

How to Do Rubber Stamping