Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Rubberstamping 101: Scrapping with Stamps

Scrapping with stamps, rubberstamps that is… Rubberstamping has been extremely popular in the card-making arena for many years now, but in the last couple of years it has started making its way into the scrapbooking world. There are so many things you can do with rubberstamps in your scrapbooks. The versatility and durability of stamps make them a perfect addition to your scrapbooking toolbox. In this article, I will provide a few ideas and insights on incorporating alphabet rubberstamps into your scrapbooking layouts. There are a large variety of fonts, sizes, mounted or unmounted rubberstamps available on the market today.

To me, scrapbooking and stamping compliment each other and blend perfectly. Alphabet stamps can be used any way that a letter sticker would normally be used in scrapbooking, but provides much more versatility. By choosing inks that match page colors and photos, customizing a stamped title or journaling is easy. Although the initial investment is slightly higher than stickers, stamps are a good value since they can be used repeatedly, in many different ways on different pages. Also rubberstamps are not consumable, creating an added value of the ability to create cards, tags and gifts even beyond the scrapbook with them for many years to come.


Rubberstamps come in one of two ways, either mounted or unmounted.

Mounted means that the pieces of rubber with the letters are permanently glued to a wooden block. You then store the mounted stamp as a whole; you just pull it out, use it, clean it and return it to storage. They are convenient to use, but generally cost more and you may run into storage issues eventually.

Unmounted means you will receive just the rubber when you purchase them. Many times you will need to trim the rubber around the image to prepare it for use. Unmounted stamps do not come with the wooden block or the mounting cushion. These can be bought separately if desired. You will need to find a mounting system that works for you. There are some great systems for mounting and/or using unmounteds that are relatively inexpensive. I just recommend you try before you buy if you can. Unmounted stamps are a huge cost saver running you about half the cost of mounted stamps with minimal storage requirements. You will need just a couple of clear acrylic blocks in various sizes to use with your unmounted rubberstamps. Tip: I recommend placing your project onto a mouse pad or magazine when stamping with unmounted stamps, to provide a cushion, this will create a better image.


Mounted rubberstamps are a little more complicated to store than a die cut or sticker. There are several storage options available to you:

1. Use old shoeboxes or pizza boxes. They have the perfect depth and are very cost effective. They are easy to mark and categorize your stamps by theme.

2. Use plastic drawer containers. Depending on the number of drawers in the unit will determine the price. These provide relatively easy access to your stamps and can still be categorized. This is the method I use for my mounted stamps and to make it even more organized, I take gallon size Ziploc bags and cut a piece of cardboard to fit in side it, then I can place the stamps onto the cardboard and sort them by themes. Easy to pull out of the drawers and take with you to crops.

3. There are also a number of companies that produce storage systems designed specifically for rubberstamps. The price varies depending on size. Most of these are portable and are easy to take to crops.

If you go with unmounted rubberstamp, you can store your stamps in 3 ring binders or CD cases and they do not take up near the space the wooden stamps do.


Before you begin to stamp you will need some stamps and inks. Most inkpads are acid-free. I would generally start out with a dye inkpad in black and a versamark pad. As your skills increase you may want to pick up a few other colors, some pigment inkpads, embossing powders and a heat gun. I highly recommend if you are a beginner to practice the following steps on a scrap piece of paper to get the feel for it, before you do the final project.

1. Choose a stamp and an inkpad.

2. Flip your stamp over so the rubber side is up. Lay stamp on desk surface.

3. Hold your inkpad (cover open) upside down and tap it over the rubber image until covered with ink. You do not need to press down; simply tapping the inkpad should do the trick.

4. Once the image is covered with ink, turn it over and place the rubber side straight down on your paper. Press firmly without rocking the stamp. Ensure even pressure across entire stamp – especially important when using large stamps.

5. Lift stamp straight up and off the paper, you should have a clear, crisp stamped image.

6. Wait for image to dry completely. Re-ink the stamp between each image.

7. If desired, you can color image in with colored markers, pencils, watercolors, chalk, or paints.

8. Clean stamps with alcohol-free baby wipes or a stamp cleaning system.


Lettering stamps are one of the most versatile stamps you can own. You can use them for journaling, titles and captions. The possibilities are endless.

Borders. Borders are great ways to accent a page. The borders can be placed on the side, the middle, the top or the bottom of your page. Rubberstamp word images in all different directions. Stamp the words multiple times to get dark and light impressions of the words. Be sure and stamp off the edge of the border and it is ok to overlap words a little – creates a fun look.

Frames. Call attention to a treasured photo by framing it with an embellished cardstock mat. One fun technique is to rubberstamp words or maybe the name of the person in the photo directly onto the photo mat around a photo. You can use different color inks, or one color of ink on different colors of cardstock and frame the photo.

Titles. A title is an important element, and sets the theme for the rest of your layout. Having several different sets of alphabet stamps allows you to create different and professional titles. Don't be afraid to mix and match different letter styles for a very unique look. Letter stamps are extremely popular and available in virtually every size and style. Letter stamps are a good value because one letter set can be used over and over, but look different each time. By choosing different colors, mixing and matching letter styles, or embossing letters with various textures, titles will be both eye-catching and unique. Take it one step further by decorating stamped letters with small images or texture stamps. Try stamping each alphabet letter on individual tags and adhere to your layout.

Accents. Nothing is more frustrating than working on a page and realizing you don't have the right accent. With a healthy supply of stamps you'll never be at a loss for that perfect accent. You can keep it simple by using a single letter as a monogram, which could be stamped on cork, clay, or any number of fun surfaces. Another fun thing to do is rubberstamp words on twill and string across the page. You can rubberstamp on transparencies and overlay photos. You can create your own word page pebbles using glossy accents over the stamped word. Creating embellishments can help the scrapbooker match any theme or mood perfectly.

Journaling. One of my favorite journaling techniques to use, is to print out my journaling in a larger font, leave a word here and there blank through out the journaling, then using the rubberstamps to fill in the spaces with word, then you can change fonts, colors, etc. You can of course rubberstamp out all your journaling, add dates, places, names, etc.

Backgrounds. Create your own background papers using words or even a single alphabet letter in all different fonts, and even different colors. For a very subtle look use versamark ink pad and it will look like a watermark in the background.

If stamping directly onto a scrapbook page seems intimidating, remember that stamped images can be stamped on cardstock, cut out and adhered to scrapbook pages like stickers.

Stamping is an easy way to create personalized, unique pages. From lettering to backgrounds, images to journaling, stamps provide endless opportunities for adding style and pizzazz to scrapbooks.

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