Monday, February 8, 2010

Types of Rubber Stamps

Hi Everyone!

I have to send off Congratulations to all of the Saints fans out was quite a game ~ they fought hard and if the Colts had to loose to someone it was a good thing to loose to the Saints.

Today I wanted to address a subject that I got lots of questions about after I posted the Rubber Stamp Scrap Bar Stamp.


There are lots of people out there that have just started or are only familiar with one or two types of rubber stamps on the market. Since most box craft stores only carry wood or acrylic stamps that's very understandable. Unless you know they are out there you don't go looking for them so here goes...while it may not be complete I think it's a great start!

Types of Rubber Stamps

Wood Mounted -

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This is probably the best known type of stamp out there. It's what most of us associate with when the term rubber stamping is used. These types of stamps usually consist of a rubber "die" (the piece of rubber with an image/design/word pressed into it), a layer of foam and a wood handle as shown in the photo below. These stamps usually have the image on the handle and can range in size from a tiny 1/4" square on up to virtually any size.

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While these do present a storage issue once your collection begins to grow they are still the most popular type of stamp on the market.

A variation of the wood mounted stamp is the type of stamp set you can purchase from Stampin' Up representatives. This stamp comes unassembled ~ each set consists of a rubber die mounted on a piece of foam with a very sticky adhesive, a wood block for each stamp in the set as well as a sheet of clear stickers to place on the wood handle. You must trim the stamp images from the full sheet of images, remove the backing paper and stick it to the handle. Finally you can attach the sticker to each handle.

This photo shows the unmounted image plus a stamp which has been assembled.

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You might also find a Quad stamp...this is a square wood block which has 4 related images ~ one on each side. These are great to start collections of various images. This are some of my fav's from Judikins.

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Acrylic Stamps

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This is probably the next best known type of stamp on the market. You can find acrylic stamps everywhere in all sorts of styles, sizes, themes and designs. I did a little comparison of acrylic stamps vs. wood mounted rubber stamps a while back. It will help answer lots of questions about this type of stamps. To use these stamps they must be mounted to an Acrylic Block Handle or something similar.

Close To My Heart (ctmh) is a stamp company similar to Stampin Up (representatives sell the stamps) has converted their stamps over to acrylic stamps which are sold in sets and look like the following image....

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Semi Mounted Stamps

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These types of stamps are sold with a backing most commonly called EZ Mount Foam. This type of system is basically a rubber die image which is mounted onto a piece of foam but instead of a sticky backing like with wood mounted or Stampin Up type stamps the back of this foam has a very smooth slick surface which makes it compatible with Acrylic Block Handles used with Acrylic Stamps.

The Angel Company (TAC) is a representative type company similar to CTMH & SU offers this type of stamp sets (the blue stamp in the above image).

UnMounted Rubber Dies

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Unmounted stamps are simply pieces of rubber with the stamp image pressed into it. They can be sold as individual stamps (as shown in the first photo) or in full sheets/sets (as shown in the 2nd photo). These stamps are usually the most inexpensive type of stamps you can purchase since the mfg. has no additional costs associated with foam, adhesives, handles, etc. They are also much cheaper to mail and store as well.

You will need to trim these stamps prior to use as shown below. This is where you generate the rubber scraps that I used in my Rubber Scrap Bar Stamp and Mosaic in Minutes posts.

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There is also a line of rubber stamps called See D's (shown below) that is sold as unmounted rubber dies with a slick coating on the back which can be used with Acrylic Block Handles. I'm not sure if they are still being sold though because I couldn't find the mfg. web-site anymore. I know there are many of these stamps still being sold on retail sites as well as on Ebay & Etsy.

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HALOS Mounting System is also a variation on the unmounted type of stamp. When you trim your rubber dies you apply a Velcro hook material to the back of the stamp. The HALOS acrylic handle has strips of Velcro loop recessed into the handle which is used for mounting.

Alternative Types of Stamps

Now, those are all of the most popular main stream type of stamps on the market BUT they are not the only ones...there are LOADS of other types of stamps out there....

Hand Carved Stamps ~ People have hand carved stamps for centuries from all sorts of materials including wood, cork, metal, erasers, potatoes and more!

There is also a modern alternative offered by Speedball. It is a carving block from a soft pink material. It's perfect for creating your very own hand carved stamps! Speedball also offers a handy little tool with interchangeable tips to assist you in carving your stamps.

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Pre Inked Stamps - These are similar to what you could find in offices in the 70/80's. They are self contained units...stamps and inks all in one.

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Hand Held Vintage Style Stamps ~ This type of stamp is what I consider the vintage type of rubber stamp...a word/image on the end of built in handle. They come in all styles, shapes and sizes.

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Foam Stamps - Foam stamps are an inexpensive alternative for bold, large stamped images. While not as detailed as rubber or acrylic stamps they are great for backgrounds, large titles or short words. Many scrapbook companies have started offering foam stamps which can be quite pricey but the stamps available in the craft section are still quite reasonable.

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Magnetic Stamps - Making Memories has a line of small images and alphabets which are used in conjunction with a metal block handle.

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Compressed Sponge - A fun alternative in stamping is to create your own die cut stamps using Compressed Sponge material! This material comes in a thin sheet which is thin enough to use with steel rule die cut machines. Once cut you simply wet the die-cut sponge with water to bring it to life. You may then stamp your images by using acrylic paints. (I'll be sharing a post about this material and giving some away very soon so be sure to check it out!!)

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ColorBox Moldable Foam Stylus - This is a fun and funky way to create stamped images. The stylus is a handle fitted with small shaped pieces of foam (black mold-able, white blending). The black piece of foam can be heated under a light bulb, pressed onto a texture, stamp, etc. and it will retain that design. Then you can stamp using ink or paint. Once you are finished it can be re-heated and reshaped!

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Blue Mold-able Blocks & Ranger's Cut & Dry Foam Pad - These materials are very similar to the Colorbox Mold-able Foam but only on a larger scale. The blue block & the grey side of the Cut & Dry Foam can be heated with an embossing gun, pressed onto a texture then used to stamp the design. As with the Colorbox material both of these are also reusable...simply reheat & mold! (you can see in the photo a portion of a design I had previously used on the Cut & Dry Foam)

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Round Rolling Stamps - There is another stamping system which incorporates the use of round wheels which have a stamp die wrapped around it's circumference. These wheels may be used in a plastic handle with a built in ink pad or a Stamp-press machine. There are also a few smaller individual rolling stamps which are fixed into a plastic handle. These types of stamps must be rolled across ink pads to use. (Sorry, I don't have any of these so no pics.)

I'm sure there are a couple of other types of stamp systems out there but I can't remember what they are is a system where acrylic pieces are slid into a handle then stamped and another is one used on a curved piece and the stamp is basically rocked on the paper.

I hope this has answered many of the questions that many of you have but if not, please feel free to ask...

I'm always willing to help when I can!


  1. again I learned a lot here...I do not have all the types you mentioned...wondering if the colorbox stylus system is currently sold somewhere near me lol...ty again Roni! cher

  2. Thank you for a very informative and interesting post, Roni!!

  3. Wow Roni what an in depth post! I thought I had seen all the stamps there were out there but you managed to introduced a few new ones! Thanks so much for the information!

  4. Hi Roni -

    Great post! A lot of great information. A question, have you tried Just Rite stamps? If so, have you had any problems using them? I bought quite a few of them about 6 months ago, alpha sets, oval ones, etc. And when I tried using them could not get good images. I did what they advised, rubbed them with an eraser, then lightly sanded and some worked, others did not. I got frustrated and put them away. I've not touched them since then. Maybe I gave up to soon because I see lots of blogs where folks get great results. So I'm thinking I'm the only klutz :o)

    Thanks for the info.


  5. Elaine ~

    No, I haven't tried the Just Rite stamps ~ sorry... I have a suggestion to try though. I have noticed that if I have trouble with a particular stamp when I stamp with something like Archival Ink or Staz-On it eliminates those problems. Not sure what it does but I usually get great images afterwards. So I'd say pull em out, give Staz-on or Archival Ink a try then see if it doesn't fix your problems.


Thanks for your thoughts and comments!