How to Use Rubber Stamps

One of the simplest styles to use, rubber stamps are great for people new to the art of printing, as they require pretty much no preparation – if you buy the pre-mounted ones attached to wood or metal, you’re pretty much good to go as soon as you open the box. There are a few things you can do to increase your stamping success though, and once you get into a routine you’ll find it becomes second nature. We’ve put together a few top hints and tips to help you make sure you get the absolute most out of your rubber stamps.

Conditioning

Although it’s not essential to condition your stamps before use, this step will take your stamped images from average to awesome. Once rubber stamps have been manufactured, a thin layer of residue remains on the top, and it’s this that can cause stamps to leave blotchy and incomplete images. The conditioning process is what removes it, and there are several simple ways to do this:

With a Stamp Cleaner

A stamp cleaner, such as StazOn, is a solvent cleaner designed to remove the ink from your stamps after you’ve finished a project, but it works just as well as a conditioner. The bottle is also handily equipped with a foam applicator, so you pretty much just have to remove the lid and apply it to your stamps, then remove with soapy water and a brush.

With a Sanding Block

If you’re new to the world of stamping, the idea of sanding your beautiful, pristine stamps with a sanding block might well fill you with horror, but it won’t damage them at all. You can buy special blocks to sand with, or you can head to a drugstore or chemist and purchase the ones that are generally found in the nailcare section. Rub the block gently across your stamp in one direction, and then the opposite way, then finish by cleaning with soapy water.

With an Eraser

If you really can’t bear to sand your brand new stamps, using the same method but with a standard eraser works equally well – it will just take you a bit longer, as it’s a slower process.

Once you’ve finished conditioning, there are a few things you can do to make sure you always get the best possible prints:

1. They key to good stamping is how you apply the ink; to get the best image, ensure you have an even coverage – the best way to do this is to press the ink pad onto the stamp, and move it around to make sure each area is covered by the same amount of ink.

2. Once you’ve applied the ink, press the stamp firmly onto your paper or card – don’t rock it or thump it, as this will make it move and leave you with a blurred, smudged, unidentifiable image. You’ll find that big stamps will need considerably more pressure than small stamps.

3. Your stamping surface is just as important as the stamps themselves; if you’re using a table that isn’t flat, or a surface that bows when you lean on it, you’re never going to get a crisp, clear image. Make sure your desk is sturdy, and if it’s got a few lumps and bumps, try placing a magazine on top to even it out.

4. Finally, to keep everything in one place and ensure that your table is protected, consider using a non-slip craft mat or sheet of old paper – you’ll thank yourself when it comes to cleaning up after you’ve finished printing!