Making Rubber Stamps

The craft of making rubber stamps is one of the most popular hobbies in the world. It combines two very impressive and attractive skills that involve working with your hands to create something special. The process of using your hands to create something beautiful or effective, or both, makes the process of making rubber stamps something special. Whether you are trying to get into the hobby or trying out new styles, the diversity of rubber stamps is what makes it an amazing world to get into.

There aren't too many things that you need to start making rubber stamps, which is another thing that makes the entire hobby more attractive. Without too much initial investment, anyone can get into the hobby of making rubber stamps in their own home, with nothing but a work-table to get them started off. Then there's the whole range of designs that they have access to. Basically, anything that can be made in relief-work, can be made on a rubber stamp.

Supplies for making Rubber Stamps

The whole process begins with an understanding of how stamps are made, and we aren't talking about the wooden or plastic mounting. The first thing you need is stamp-grade rubber dies - this is hard enough to allow you to carve into and soft enough to compress a bit when you press it down on a surface. Most people end up putting a cushion between the stamp and the mount, which can be anything like foam or softer rubber, and it helps increase the amount of pressure you can apply on your stamps.

You can find the rubber die, pre-cut in strips, in most hobby stores that sell stamp supplies. There are also a few specialized stores that cater to stamp-makers, or you can go to individual rubber stamp-makers, who might also make something specific to how you want it. You can get the cushions and the mounts from these stores as well, which can be cut into the right shape and fixed onto your stamps.

The next thing you need are tools and in most cases, these are extremely basic tools that include a scalpel, to cut the rubber into the right shape; a good-quality glue, to stick everything in place, and some transfer paper. If you are planning to make the mount on your own, then you might need to get some basic wood-working tools that will help you get into the process of making mounts in the shapes you desire.

The Process of making Rubber Stamps

This is the part where you actually start working on making rubber stamps and you begin by choosing the design you want on your stamp. This design can be any 2-dimensional design that you wish to place on the stamps and you can choose any image from the Internet or sketch out a design on your own. The first step is to print the design on the transfer paper and you can do that with any printer as such. When printing a design, all you need to ensure is that it's a mirror-image of the actual design because when you use the stamp, the impression will come out the right way up.

Once you have transferred the design onto the stamp, you need to start your relief carving. You need to carve out the area around the lines of your design, ensuring that your lines are the highest points of your relief-design. That will ensure that when you press the rubber stamp down, you get the shape you intended. This is the most tedious part because a small mistake here will ruin your entire design. Once you have carved out the entire design in the right way, you will end up with a replica of the mirror-design on your rubber die, and that's when you start cutting the die in the shape of the rubber stamp.

Your rubber stamp can be square, round or any shape that you like, and while some hobbyists prefer cutting out the die to the exact shape of the design, you can start by simply lowering the level of the surrounding areas and creating an embossed effect for your design - this is easier to start off with and in the beginning, if you have a simply design, it should be easier & quicker to do as well.

The next step in making rubber stamps comes when you need to cut the cushion out in the shape of the rubber die. This needs to be an exact replica to ensure that none of the cushion picks up ink and puts an unwanted impression on the surface. Once you have cut the cushion, you need to stick the cushion onto the mount with glue. There are many manufacturers who make glue specifically for this process and it should be quite easy to find out the right one for you. Glue also ensures that you can put your cushion back in place in case it comes off anytime during usage.

After the cushion is stuck firmly to the mount, you can move onto sticking the rubber die onto the cushion and that, in essence, is the entire process of making rubber stamps. Testing the rubber stamp to see the kind of impression it makes is also very simple - all you need is a stamp-ink pad and just try out by dipping your rubber stamp into it and making an impression on a piece of paper. You can keep fine-tuning your design, even after it is stuck to the mount, by carefully working with the rubber die.

Remember to start off with simple designs and once you get the hang of things, it's quite easy to move onto more complicated things and spread your wings in the world of making rubber stamps.

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