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The Craft of Rubber Stamping

Updated on November 13, 2015

Lacey stamped valentine


So What is Rubber Stamping?

It is a manner of taking a soft vinyl eraser-like substance (vulcanized rubber) which has been carved with letters or designs to deliberately mark paper or other material.

Today it is one of the biggest crafter's hobbies and rakes in millions every year for small business owners. How did it start? Let's see if I can find a little history about rubber stamps.

Charles Goodyear

The word "stamp" refers to a marking device. Prior to rubber, stamps or seals were made of metal or wood. In 1844, Charles Goodyear was experimenting in his kitchen. He mixed rubber and sulphur and discovered that it was still pliable the next day. He dubbed it vulcanized rubber (referring to the Roman God of fire)

James Woodruff

About twenty years later, dentists used vulcanized rubber set in plaster moulds to make inexpensive bases for false teeth. James Woodruff, whose uncle was a dentist, experimented making letter moulds with the vulcanized rubber.

L.F. Witherell

About the same time, Witherell claims he accidentally discovered the rubber stamp when he was trying to resolve a problem with paint running under the stencils and creating blotches on the pumps that he manufactured. He then cut the letters out of rubber and attached them to a piece of wood to stamp the pumps.

Anyone can be a stamper, using rubber stamps to do scrapbooking, making your own greeting cards, or even decorating your walls. Some artists use rubber stamps to make contemporary art. Universities even offer classes to learn how to make your own stamps by using lino tools. Others take their old shoes, and make rubber stamps out of the soles.

Stamps usually use an ink pad to transfer the design. They come in many colors, sizes and shapes. They use different types of ink including pigment or dye based, and chalk. You can even use a magic marker to transfer color to the stamp and a variety of other methods including using watercolor.

Through the years, several techniques have been refined by those who are addicted to rubber stamping. Techniques include:

  • overlapping stamps
  • merging images
  • applying lighter colors first and then finishing with the darker ones
  • combining colors by stamping multiple times on same place
  • or using embossing ink

More techniques here.

Rubber stamps made from used shoe soles and linoleum

Crafters are some of the nicest people on the planet. They usually will share their ideas with others. Here are a few rubber stamping sites that offer free instructions and downloads:

Free templates and ideas for stamped cards.

Keep on learning and creating!!


Submit a Comment

  • elayne001 profile image

    Elayne 7 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Yes, you are heart4theword. Glad you enjoyed it. Aloha!

  • heart4theword profile image

    heart4theword 7 years ago from hub

    Awesome Hub! LOVE it:) Can you tell I am crafty? Great job:)

  • elayne001 profile image

    Elayne 7 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    'appreciate your comments sagebrush_mama. Scrapbooking is a fun hobby and good way to preserve your memories.

  • sagebrush_mama profile image

    sagebrush_mama 7 years ago from The Shadow of Death Valley...Snow Covered Mountain Views Abound!

    What an interesting hub!

  • elayne001 profile image

    Elayne 8 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Thanks for stopping by Sage. I love stamping with my grandchildren. They come up with some great designs.

  • Sage Williams profile image

    Sage Williams 8 years ago

    Great hub, have always liked seeing the projects that people make with rubber stamps. It's a great craft even for young children. I enjoyed reading this hub.


  • elayne001 profile image

    Elayne 8 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Thanks Handmade-Crafts - it really means something special coming from you.

  • Handmade-Crafts profile image

    Handmade-Crafts 8 years ago

    A fantastic hub. Thank you for sharing.

  • elayne001 profile image

    Elayne 8 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Great hearing from all of you. Seems rubber is as popular as ever. Let's get stampin'.

  • LianaK profile image

    LianaK 8 years ago

    Wonderful hub. Love the creative talent out there. Someday maybe I will have time to develop some new talents such as these. Thanks for the wonderfully fascinating hub :)

  • torimari profile image

    torimari 8 years ago from Pennsylvania

    Neat hub. I just found my mum's stamping collection and embossing much fun. Very informative.

  • gracenotes profile image

    gracenotes 8 years ago from North Texas

    I have about 125 stamps and have done many projects over the years. I also like to use interesting paper.

    It was interesting to hear about the evolution of the rubber stamp!

    I made a card, sent it to a friend of mine, who immediately framed it and hung it in her den. That was a great compliment.

    I must say, in recent years, I haven't kept up with the latest techniques. But it's fun to do, when you can find a few hours.

  • breakfastpop profile image

    breakfastpop 8 years ago

    Just recently, I started getting interesting in stamping. Knowing me, I will soon own hundreds of stamps!

  • myownworld profile image

    myownworld 8 years ago from uk

    I love such creative hobbies...and this reminds me that I must teach my daughter this once she's older! Some of those stamps are so detailed, aren't they? Great hub...! :)

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 8 years ago from United States

    Nice hub. That is a nice hobby.

  • elayne001 profile image

    Elayne 8 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    So excited that you all are enjoying this hub. I had a lot of fun doing it and have many projects to get going on. Stamp away folks!!

  • Hello, hello, profile image

    Hello, hello, 8 years ago from London, UK

    I am so thrilled to have learned and read about a subject i never knew enything about it. Thank you so much.

  • Ann Nonymous profile image

    Ann Nonymous 8 years ago from Virginia

    I just bookmarked it!

  • Ann Nonymous profile image

    Ann Nonymous 8 years ago from Virginia

    I LOVE stamping! In fact my mom is a designer for a line of rubber stamps so of course how could I not like to stamp! We have oodles of stamps. Stampin' Up, etc...But I keep all her designs on the shelf!

    Excellent hub and very interesting! Thanks!

  • RTalloni profile image

    RTalloni 8 years ago from the short journey

    What a neat hub! Thanks!