Rubber Stamping Terms & Techniques

Angel Company Is a term common in the rubber stamp industry.  This term identifies a company that allows the consumer to use their stamps to create products for resale.  Each company has a different policy so it is wise to contact each stamp manufacturer for information on their respective copyright policies.  Common restrictions may include: limiting the amount of hand stamped sample for resale, making sure that products are had stamped and not electronically reproduced, and restriction from using licensed properties such as Warner Bros.™, Suzy Zoo™ and Cynthia Hart™.

Dye Based Ink A quick drying water based ink.  Colors are most vibrant on white, glossy coated papers and card stock.  Not recommended for use with embossing powder.  Ink fades with time and when exposed to light.

Pigment Ink Thick, slow-drying ink.  Colors are rich and vibrant even on colored papers and cards.  The ink will not dry on glossy coated papers unless embossed.

Crafters Ink Multi-purpose, permanent ink with a longer drying time than acrylic paint.  It is highly pigmented and the colors are mixable.  It works on a variety of surfaces and is great for numerous craft applications such as fabric, wood, paper and painted surfaces.  It must be heat set on fabric.

Embossing (or Thermal Embossing) A technique using stamps with embossing or pigment ink, embossing powder and a heat source to create raised images.  Stamp image with ink and immediately sprinkle with embossing powder over stamped image.  Tap excess powder and reserve for future use.  Heat image with embossing tool until powder melts.

Embossing Ink Slow drying ink used for Thermal Embossing.  See Embossing above.

Inking a Stamp There are several ways to ink a stamp:

1.Using Felt Ink Pads – Tap stamp firmly onto ink pad until stamp is evenly inked.  Raised felt ink pads can also be picked up and patted on stamp to apply color.

2.Using Foam Ink Pads – tap stamp gently onto ink pad until stamp is evenly inked.  Raised foam ink pads can also be picked up and patted onto stamp to apply color.

3.Using Brush Markers – Use only water based brush tip markers as solvent or alcohol type inks will stain and dry rubber out.  Brush markers are used by applying the brush tip marker directly onto the stamp.  Multicolor impressions are achieved by using additional colors on various areas of the stamp.  Remoisten inks prior to stamping by breathing on the inked stamp or huffing.

4.Using Wedge Sponges – Use the flat edge of this sponge to apply inks or paints to the stamp in a patting motion.

5.Using Stamp Cleaner – Used to clean ink from stamps.  Use applicator top to apply cleaner to stamp, them pat stamp dry on paper towels.

6.Using A Stamping Mat – A durable foam mat used as a work surface for stamping.  The mat gives slightly allowing the best ink impressions.  Particularly useful for oversized stamps.

7.Using A Stamping Paint – A highly pigmented, acrylic paint specially formulated to be permanent on a variety of surfaces.  This paint has a slower drying time than acrylic paint to allow the user to apply different colors to a stamp for multi-color impressions.  Fabric must be heat set on reverse side to make permanent.

8.Using A Wedge Sponge – Used to apply paint to stamps.  Load paint or ink on flat edge of sponge.  Pat paint or ink onto surface of stamp.  Also used as a tool to sponge color onto a variety of surfaces such as paper, fabric and wood.

Masking A technique of covering a stamped image to protect it from subsequent applications of color.  A method used to create foregrounds and backgrounds.


1.Stamp foreground image onto surface first.
2.Re-stamp image on a second piece of paper or Post it Note™.
3.Cut the second image out.
4.Align cut out image (or mask it) over the first image or foreground image.
5.Stamp second image overlapping the mask
6.Remove the mask.
7.The second stamped image appears to be in the background.

Mirror Image Stamp A flat rubber stamp used as a tool to create a reverse or mirror image of a rubber stamp.


1.Ink a rubber stamp design.
2.Stamp on Mirror Image Stamp
3.The use the Mirror Image to stamp the image onto paper.
4.Image will be reversed.
5.This imprint will be light because it is a second generation print.  Image can be touched up with markers if desired.

Rubber Stamping History

Can you make a common denomination between rubber stamping and Myan civilization? Rubber Stamping is, beyond a doubt, one of the fastest growing crafts today. With its inexpensive materials and creative limitless boundaries, rubber stamping provides millions with hours of fun and creativity. Here’s a brief history:

• Spanish explorers were the first to talk about a “sticky substance” that bounced, used by South American Indians. Though it didn’t revolutionalize the world at that time, these same Indians were using a primitive form of rubber stamping to “mark and tattoo” images on men and women.

• In 1736, Charles Marie de la Condamine, a French scientist studying the Amazon, sent a piece of “India Rubber” back to France.

• Rubber got its name in 1770, when the scientist Sir Joseph Priestly made a comment about a substance “excellently adapted to the purpose of wiping from paper the mark of black lead pencil.” Hence the “rubbing out” of pencil marks gave it the term “rubber”. Up until this time, people wishing to erase pencil marks had to use bread crumbs.

• Rubber Stamping owes much gratitude to a hardware store owner who decided to quit his job to solve the “sticky problem” he had heard about. Though his persistence was tested time and again, even filing bankruptcy and going to jail for failure to pay debts, Charles Goodyear eventually discovered that heat was the secret to rubber’s “curing”.

• As early as 1866, a man carved information in a flat piece of rubber and mounted it to a curved block of wood. This 4″x 6″ mounted rubber stamp was being used to print information on bath tubs.

• Early rubber stamps consisted mainly of words and phrases used to mark packages and manufactured products. Stamping suppliers began to spring up in Ohio and the West.

• Rubber stamping as a hobby took off in the early 1970’s with companies such as All Night Media (1974) and Hero Arts (1974). Soon the craze had caught and many other companies decided to cash in on a hobby that would last for decades.

• It wasn’t until a boom in the 1990’s that rubber stamping became so popular with millions of crafter’s worldwide. As thousands of companies begin to produce rubber stamps, the availability and unique designs became common everywhere!

It’s no wonder why rubber stamping has turned into a worldwide crafting phenomenon. Women and men alike have found hundreds of creative uses for rubber stamps, from scrapbooking and cardmaking, to gift bags and 3D artwork. Give it a try, you’ll see!