Basic Stamping

Rubber Stamping is a creative and fun way to make greeting cards, scrapbook pages, home decor, and a variety of other craft projects by transferring artistic designs to almost any surface. Choose from a huge variety of techniques for adding color to your images including stamp pads, markers and colored pencils. By applying ink or paint to a stamp you can decorate anything from scrapbooks to T-shirts to furniture and walls.

You can start stamping with very few supplies. Simply make your selection from these basic product categories: Stamps, Inks, Paper (or other surface), and Plus (SIPP). More stamp images to mix and match multiplies the fun. The Plus category of Embossing Powders, Glitters Plus, punches, die cuts, etc. is optional, but offers an endless variety of project enhancements.

A Stampendous Impression Every Time –

Choosing your stamps – The highest quality stamps will be deeply etched and carefully trimmed to eliminate problems with stray ink marks. They may be mounted on wood blocks or available as Cling Rubber™ or Perfectly Clear Stamps™ which use interchangeable acrylic blocks as handles and are easier to store.

Inking your stamps – Be sure to choose an ink appropriate to your stamp type and surface. See our Tip on Ink Pads and Markers for more detail.
  • For wood-mounted and cling rubber stamps, any ink formulated for stamping will work well.
  • For Perfectly Clear™ Stamps we prefer VersaFine™ ink for a clean, crisp, complete impression.
  • For coloring with alcohol markers or stamping on acrylic painted surfaces, Memento™ is the best choice.
  • For a permanent impression on non-porous surfaces you'll need StazOn™
  • Ink your stamp lightly and completely.
    • Set your stamp on the pad with no downward pressure and twist, twist, twist to cover the surface.
    • Next, tap lightly on the pad (tap, tap, tap) to ensure good ink coverage without inking the extra rubber or stamp mount.
    • Pressing too firmly on the ink pad causes ink to puddle under the stamp and produce uneven coverage. It also causes non-printing rubber areas to pick up ink.
  • Check your stamp – Always look to see that your stamp is well inked and that no excess rubber has been inked before stamping on to your project. Keep cotton swabs handy for correcting errors, moisten them first to avoid threads of cotton on your design.
  • Press firmly when stamping – When your stamp is cleanly inked you can press firmly over the whole design of your stamp. If your image is large, hold the stamp securely steady with one hand and press firmly over the whole design with the other hand. Perfectly Clear™ Stamps need less pressure than rubber stamps.
  • Don’t rock the stamp – The best impressions will be achieved when you stamp straight down, hold the paper down, press firmly, and lift the stamp straight up. Rocking the stamp side to side can produce a blurred or double image.
  • Keep your stamps clean - You'll get the best images from clean stamps. Some need to be cleaned before use to remove manufacturing residue. Particles of glitter, embossing powder, dust, etc. can ruin an image. Clean after use.

Paper Makes a Difference

Papers are available in many colors, textures, sizes, and decorative shapes. Some papers are acid free and safe to use with photos for archival quality albums. Stamping on smooth, glossy papers will show off the brightest marker color impressions. Stamping on matte papers that are soft or textured give a look that is enhanced by colored pencils or watercoloring.

Embossing metallic colors on dark papers is elegant. The primary concern with paper is whether or not you are using the correct ink. Glossy or coated papers such as vellum and acetate will not work well with pigment inks like VersaFine™ and VersaColor™. You will need to use a permanent ink on these surfaces like StazOn™. VersaFine™ is perfect for use on more porous papers and will give you a clear, crisp image which can be watercolored when dry.

VersaColor™ and VersaMark™ are stickier, wetter inks that work well to hold embossing powder on a page to allow time for heat setting. If you have a question about a particular ink/paper combination, just email us at

Card Sizes

The most popular U.S. card size for stampers is an A2 sized card. This can be created by cutting an 8.5" X 11" sheet of cardstock in half either vertically or horizontally and folding the resulting piece in half.
  • If you cut the sheet in half horizontally you'll get an 8.5" X 5.5" panel. Fold it in half to make a card in portrait orientation with the fold on the left or in landscape orientation with the fold at the top.
  • If you cut the sheet in half vertically you'll get a 4.25" X 11" panel. Fold it in half to make a card in portrait orientation with the fold at the top or landscape orientation with the fold on the left.
  • Of course many variations are possible such as square cards (often 6" X 6" cut from 1/2 of a 12" X 12" cardstock sheet), or a larger, A7 card made from a 10" X 7" panel of cardstock folded to 5" X 7". These are popular for including photos on cards.
  • Large cards, smaller cards, and square cards may require extra postage to mail.
  • In the UK the standard card size is A5 which is 15cm X 20.3cm