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How to Make Your Own Rubber Stamps: Homemade Ideas for Custom, Hand Carved Stamps

Updated on August 19, 2015
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Rose is a full-time freelance writer who frequently writes about education, special education, DIY projects, food, Milwaukee, and more.

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Rubber stamps are fun and relatively easy to make at home. You can make a wide variety of different types of stamps with craft supplies and recycled materials that you already have on hand. If you do need to purchase materials, they will most likely be inexpensive, such as cork board or craft foam, or will last a long time, such as an X-ACTO knife. Rubber stamps are an easy project to make with kids of a wide variety of ages. This is an appealing project for adults who are looking for ways to customize their homemade greeting cards, art journals, fabric creations, and more. Happy crafting!

Why make your own stamps?

As rubber stamps are readily available at most craft stores, some people wonder why you would make your own. There are a few popular reasons that people choose to make their own stamps.

  • Cost factor. Purchasing large numbers of rubber stamps can be expensive. It is almost always cheaper to make stamps than to purchase them.
  • Customization and personalization. If you craft on a regular basis, you know that one of the easiest ways to get exactly what you want is to make it yourself. Instead of spending hours hunting for a particular stamp or shelling out money for a custom order, you can make it.
  • Choice of materials. While there are a number of methods for purchasing American made stamps from individual artisans, some people may feel more comfortable using stamps that are made from items of their choosing.

Irresistible: Resist Stamping Techniques

Tips For Making and Maintaining High Quality Stamps

  • Follow the instructions and advice. When you are attempting a new technique, it is always best practice to double check the directions and follow them in full the first time. Don't start experimenting right away if you aren't sure what you're doing.
  • If you're using an X-ACTO knife and/or linoleum carving tool, make sure that the tools are sharp. Nothing will be more frustrating for carving designs, particularly intricate designs, than a dull knife. If your blade is dull, swap it out for a new one before you begin a new stamp project.
  • Clean your stamps after each use. I know that this is easier said than done, especially with kids, but one of the best ways to ensure sharp stamp designs after multiple uses is to keep your stamps clean. This isn't necessary for single use stamps, such as potato or cardboard tube stamps, but it is for any lasting stamp.

Tip: Don't forget that you need to carve your design backward!

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Eraser Stamps

Erasers are one of the most popular materials for homemade stamps. They are inexpensive and readily available. Look for bulk details during back to school sales and through web sites that sell school supplies, such as Office Depot and Oriental Trading. Erasers are ideal for smaller stamps.

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Wine or Champagne Cork Stamps

If you've been saving your wine or champagne corks and haven't been sure what to do with them, this may be a great option for you. You will be limited to smaller designs, but otherwise the possibilities are endless.

How to make wine cork stamps

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How to Use Wooden Blocks for Stamps

It's not a surprise that wooden blocks make a great base for stamps, as they are widely used for commercial stamps. Some homemade stamps, such as corks, don't need a base. However, if you'll be using foam stickers, cork board, or another thin material for your stamps, wooden blocks will be a good choice for a base. You may be able to find a good deal on plain wooden blocks at a craft store. Alternatively, look for specials or hunt garage sales for kids' blocks.

How to Carve a Stamp Print Block 101 Part 1

Stamping Carving Blocks

Many people like to use carving blocks for their stamps. You'll see it mentioned in a number of stamp tutorials. These blocks have a similar consistency and texture to erasers. They are one of the largest materials available for making handmade stamps, creating a lot more flexibility for size and shape of designs. Currently the most popular brand is Speedball, which offers blocks in multiple sizes.

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Potato Stamps

Does this make you think of preschool? Who hasn't done potato stamping at some point? If you have some older potatoes in the kitchen that you aren't inspired to use any time soon, turn them into stamps instead. This is a classic project for kids, but you can take your time carving more intricate designs for your own projects as well. Additionally, instead of taking the traditional idea of cutting a potato in half and carving a design on each side, cut a potato down to make smaller designs.

I used a cardboard tube to create the circles on this sketchbook page.
I used a cardboard tube to create the circles on this sketchbook page. | Source

Tip: Many homemade stamps work well with acrylic paint as well as ink pads!

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Cardboard Stamps

Alisa has a number of very inspired ideas for using cardboard tubes with painting, including stamping. You have to click through to the post to see all of the possibilities for this simple material. Cardboard stamps are a great painting project for preschoolers, but don't discount the simple shapes for more advanced art endeavors as well.

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Sponge Stamps

Sponges are tougher to manipulate than some of the other popular stamping materials, but this is a great option for geometric shapes and other simple designs. As sponges are considerably larger than erasers and corks, they can make a great, textured material for covering a larger surface quickly. If you're making a project like the one on the right with a background color, consider using a sponge to do the work.

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How to Use Leather Scraps for Stamps

For those who craft with leather or who have acquired leather scraps, you can use leather scraps for stamps in a very similar fashion to craft foam and cork board. Cut the designs that you like and then attach them to the base of your choice, such as a wine cork or wooden block. The tutorial below uses the scraps with wooden blocks. It includes the brilliant idea of using extra leather scraps to stamp the designs on top of the wooden blocks so you can tell the stamps apart easily.

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Bottle Cap Stamps

One of the most popular materials for bottle cap stamps is foam stickers. You can simply stick a foam sticker on a bottle cap and stamp away. I also recently came across a tutorial for using cork board for bottle cap stamps. (See the Fishes Make Wishes link below.) Cork board is more involved than stickers as you will have to cut the designs that you want, but it is inexpensive and provides endless options for shapes and designs.

[http://www.flickr.com/photos/76283671@N00/184621354/ - no longer active] Lainey purposely cut little dents in her letters to give them an older look.
[http://www.flickr.com/photos/76283671@N00/184621354/ - no longer active] Lainey purposely cut little dents in her letters to give them an older look. | Source

How to Use Craft Foam to Make Stamps

Craft foam is another material that is inexpensive and perfect for making your own stamps. It is very flexible, which makes it easy to cut as well as mark. Some people cut simple shapes and glue them to wood or another strong base. Other people take it one step further and make impressions in their designs to create more detailed pictures, such as feathers on a bird or scales on a fish. Click on the Homeschool Printables link to see an example of this latter concept.

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Clay Stamps

There are tons of tutorials out there for making various types of clay pendants, magnets, etc. that involve making carvings or prints in clay. You can apply this same concept to clay stamps. Polymer clay is one of the most popular and readily available types of clay for stamps, but the possibilities for types of clay are endless.

There are so many ways that you can use handmade stamps!

 
Stamping Projects
 
Greeting Cards
Journaling
Wall Decor
Mixed Media
Wood Decoration
Fabric Creations
Other Stationery Products
Gift Wrap and Gift Tags
Clothing

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    • randomcreative profile image
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      Rose Clearfield 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      It is so great to hear that, DommaLeigh! Thanks for the feedback. :)

    • DommaLeigh profile image

      DommaLeigh 4 years ago

      By the way my grand kids loved making the stamps. We used my child safe pumpkin knives. I helped make the first letter of their names to show them how, than they attacked my potato bin. What they made was interesting shapes but they had fun making me pictures with them. thanks so very much for the hub.

    • randomcreative profile image
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      Rose Clearfield 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks so much, Kevin!

    • Kevin Peter profile image

      Kevin Peter 4 years ago from Global Citizen

      Very useful hub on making rubber stamps easily. Your ideas are described well and in a neat manner. Congrats.

    • randomcreative profile image
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      Rose Clearfield 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks, Vicki! I know, right? There are so many possibilities.

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      What a neat hub, so descriptive and well laid out. Great ideas, too. Who knew there were so many different ways to make your own stamps? Very cool!

    • randomcreative profile image
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      Rose Clearfield 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks, Alise-Evon! I'm glad that this was helpful. You're right that making your own stamps offers lots of possibility for self-design as well as saving money. Enjoy!

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      Alise- Evon 4 years ago

      Thanks for a very helpful hub. I like the idea of making your own stamps because of the chance to self-design; plus, it's a lot less expensive. There were great ideas in here that I had not thought of.

    • randomcreative profile image
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      Rose Clearfield 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks so much, MomsTreasureChest!

    • MomsTreasureChest profile image

      MomsTreasureChest 4 years ago

      Very creative! Great ideas and instructions, thanks for sharing!

    • randomcreative profile image
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      Rose Clearfield 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks, Vimural! That's great.

    • Vimural profile image

      Vimural 4 years ago from Tucson

      I love the ideas! Never even thought of the possibilities.

    • randomcreative profile image
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      Rose Clearfield 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      That's great, DommaLeigh!

    • DommaLeigh profile image

      DommaLeigh 4 years ago

      I think I just found the next activity for the grand kids next visit!

    • randomcreative profile image
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      Rose Clearfield 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      It definitely can be! Thanks. :)

    • gail641 profile image

      Gail Louise Stevenson 4 years ago from Mason City

      Making stamps sounds like lots of fun. Very interesting!

    • randomcreative profile image
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      Rose Clearfield 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks! That's great. :)

    • Mixed Media Art profile image

      Michelle 4 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

      Wow! You certainly have included every type of stamp I can think of!

    • randomcreative profile image
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      Rose Clearfield 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      That's awesome, Natasha. :) I'm glad that you found some new ideas here, too.

    • Natashalh profile image

      Natasha 4 years ago from Hawaii

      I recently made a stamp for myself because I just couldn't find the design I needed. I was pretty happy with the results! You have some ideas that hadn't occurred to me, though - thanks!

    • randomcreative profile image
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      Rose Clearfield 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      That's great, Lady Wordsmith! Homemade stamps will be a great addition to your store bought collection. Happy crafting. :)

    • Lady Wordsmith profile image

      Linda Rawlinson 4 years ago from Lancaster, UK

      Oh, this hub is just divine! I love it! :)

      I have a small collection of shop-bought stamps, but had never considered that there might be so many ways of making my own. I'm definitely going to try the bottle top ones with my kids, and the clay ones, and the eraser ones. We used to do potato printing, but I think we're all ready and old enough and dextrous enough to try something a bit more fiddly now :)

      Voted up, because this is gorgeous.

      Linda.

    • randomcreative profile image
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      Rose Clearfield 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks, Cyndi! You're right that many of these stamps not only produce professional quality prints but look professional. Hopefully this will be a great resource for anyone who enjoys making greeting cards. :)

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Sageleaf 4 years ago from Western NC

      Great ideas here! I love all the different ways you listed to make stamps. They're professional-looking, too. I know this will be a gold mine for people who like making greeting cards. :)

    • randomcreative profile image
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      Rose Clearfield 5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks so much, Riverfish!

    • Riverfish24 profile image

      Riverfish24 5 years ago from United States

      Epitome of creativity- that's what you are. Excellent hub!

    • randomcreative profile image
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      Rose Clearfield 5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      krsharp, thanks! Cutting the word backward is such an easy mistake.

      Thanks so much, Julie!

    • Julie DeNeen profile image

      Blurter of Indiscretions 5 years ago from Clinton CT

      Your creativeness never ceases to amaze me!

    • krsharp05 profile image

      Kristi Sharp 5 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      I love stamping! This is plum full of ideas for different ways to make stamps. The bottle cap stamps look like fun and I would totally have bypassed cutting the word backwards....great tip! -K

    • randomcreative profile image
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      Rose Clearfield 5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      That's great, Jill! Have fun making some of these new ideas with your kids.

    • JillKostow profile image

      Jill Kostowskie 5 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Wow!!! My kids will love making and using their own homemade stamps!! Thanks for sharing this wonderful idea and all the tips and directions that went along with it!!

    • randomcreative profile image
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      Rose Clearfield 5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      That's awesome, Lady Rain!

      Josh, no worries! I'm glad that you enjoyed this. Thanks for sharing it with your mom and sister.

      Melovy, that's neat! I'm sure that your girls will still enjoy this. You're right that stamps are a great option for making Christmas cards.

      Carol, yes, for sure! I didn't even include apple in here, but that's another great choice for homemade stamps.

      NateB, thanks! That's great that you learned a lot from this article.

      Thanks, HouseBuyersUS!

    • HouseBuyersUS profile image

      HouseBuyersUS 5 years ago from Centreville, Virginia, USA

      very creative idea...never thought of this kind of things before...thanks for sharing this wonderful post...

    • NateB11 profile image

      Nathan Bernardo 5 years ago from California, United States of America

      Well-written and clear ideas presented, things I never thought of before. Interesting that there are cheap and available material for crafting rubber stamps. I have not made rubber stamps before but lots of ideas for stamps flashed in my mind while reading. Learned lots of new things here.

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 5 years ago from Arizona

      I had no idea you could make your own from different materials. I have never done stamping except with an apple. Very good hub and Voted UP.

    • josh3418 profile image

      Joshua Zerbini 5 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Haha sorry Rose! I had just commented on a hub of Melovy's :). Good save Yvonne! :)

    • Melovy profile image

      Yvonne Spence 5 years ago from UK

      Oops, I think Josh has got us confused!

      This is a great hub Rose! We used to do a lot of stamping when my kids were little: mostly with bought stamps and a few potatoes. If I had seen this hub then we would have made many of our own stamps instead. I am now inspired to give this a go, as it could be fun for making Christmas cards. I'm sure at least one of my girls will still be keen to get stamping again! And you make it look so easy.

      Thanks for sharing all these great ideas.

    • josh3418 profile image

      Joshua Zerbini 5 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Yvonne,

      I want to start off by saying that I am truly enjoying all these innovative ideas and clear step by step instructions! I am definitely going to share this hub with my mom and sister! They will appreciate it, thanks for sharing Yvonne!

    • lady rain profile image

      lady rain 5 years ago from Australia

      When I was at school, I used to cut my erasers to make heart shapes and flower designs. Haven't done that for a long time now LOL! The bottle cap stamps look pretty cool.

    • randomcreative profile image
      Author

      Rose Clearfield 5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Yes, for sure! You're right that the eraser idea is so simple.

    • CWanamaker profile image

      CWanamaker 5 years ago from Arizona

      Wow I didn't know that there were so many easy ways to make your own stamps. Very innovative. I like the eraser idea - I hadn't thought of that one. It's so simple!