Mounting Rubber Stamps
Copyright Ursula Smith 2010
You will need a couple of products in order to cut, mount and use my rubber stamps. First and foremost, you will need good rubber scissors. These are scissors that are sharp enough and strong enough to cut into a sheet of red rubber. They need to cut easily so that you can go around the shapes of the stamps accurately. I prefer the shorter noses on a rubber scissor. It allows for cutting close to the shape with less fear of accidentally cutting into the shape itself. I use the following scissors for this purpose-
Ranger Scissors .
Rubber stamps such as mine, that are unmounted, need to be set onto a foam backing that will give some cushioning when you stamp. You will also need to mount that stamp onto something stiffer than just the foam to allow a more even pressure when you use the stamp. Some folks just mount their stamps directly onto wooden or acrylic blocks without the foam, using a product that is tacky and re-usable, but I don’t recommend that. The foam for cushioning and the blocks for even pressure seem to make the best combination for a better stamped image. So I recommend the combination of EZ Mount foam and acrylic blocks.
The EZ Mount cushioning comes with two sides. If you peel back a corner of the protective covering on each side and touch the foam, you will see that one side is stickier than the other. The rubber stamp image will be mounted to the sticky side. The less sticky side is cling vinyl and that side will allow the stamp to cling temporarily to an acrylic block. You only need one acrylic block to be used with your rubber stamps mounted on the EZ Mount foam. I actually recommend having several blocks in different sizes to match more closely with the size of your rubber stamps, but that is a personal preference. As long as the acrylic block is larger than the rubber stamp, it will work fine.
Use your rubber scissors to cut around each image in the rubber sheet. Please note that the rubber scissors I recommend will cut rubber pretty easily, so you might want to practice cutting the rubber sheets on the ends to get a feel for it before diving right in and cutting out images! I find it helpful to cut an image out of the sheet of rubber leaving some rubber on all sides and then refine your cut on just that image. If you try to cut very close while the image is attached to the entire sheet of rubber, you could risk making a mistake and cutting into the image. Using small “snips” as opposed to long strokes while cutting is more accurate.
I do like to cut my images very close to the edge of the design to avoid having “ghosties“- those little lines around the edges of a design. However, when you are first starting out, you might want to avoid cutting very close to the design until you are comfortable with the whole process.
Otherwise, you might cut into the design itself.
Some sheets of rubber (mine included) come with designs that are very close together. I did that in order to get more designs for your buck! However, these can be tricky to cut. My suggestion is to cut the sheet into more manageable pieces, as described earlier. Then, for designs that are very close together, I find it helpful to bend the rubber along the edge of where the cut is to be made. The rubber will stretch and give you a bit more room to make your detailed cut: Reading and/or magnifying glasses can be helpful too- LOL!
I’ve written up more advanced instructions for cutting Rubber Stamps here. Make sure you are comfortable with cutting before you attempt the more advanced ideas!!
Once the image has been cut from the rubber sheet, place the image with the flat side down onto the sticky side of the EZ Mount foam sheet. You will then cut around the image a second time, although this is not quite as detailed a cut as is necessary around the rubber image, but still try to get somewhat close. This is sticky work, I know! Baby wipes or a little “Goo Gone” will clean up your scissors afterwards, if necessary.
Some people will place their rubber sheet directly onto the mounting foam and cut both together, and yes, this does save a step. You are welcome to try that, but I find that it wastes more of the mounting foam, and it is a bit harder to get a close cut that way. However, some folks like that way better. If you would like to try this way, you might start with larger stamps that have less detailed edges in order to get a feel for it.
Now that your image is cut and mounted, you can peel off the other side of the mounting foam and it is ready to be placed on an acrylic block. Use a block that is slightly larger than the image and stamp away!!
Tip- If you trim your rubber and mounting foam close to the edge of an image that was designed to be used for backgrounds, it is easier to stamp it multiple times to fill a space larger than the image itself. Place the image in a corner of the Acrylic Block, and it will be much easier to line up the image for the next placement without having to use an alignment tool all the time.
My last piece of advice: sometimes you find your rubber is “spotting“. That is, the ink looks blotchy when you stamp, especially with the stamps that have larger surface areas of plain rubber. This could be from several factors. It could be humid where you are stamping- sometimes this causes ink (especially dye ink) to pool. Try using a different, heavier ink- like a pigment or chalk ink. I love VersaFine ink!! I have seen some people recommend sanding images when you first get your rubber. I don’t usually do that. But if you must, you can try using a pencil eraser to rub over your stamp and sometimes that will help. Most of the time I find it is
a) the ink
b) the paper or
c) Use good ink and good paper and I bet you won’t have a problem!
For more tips and ideas see the Rubber Stamping Tips page in the Help section of my web site, Ursula-Smith.com/Blog.