Common Rubber Stamping Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Rubber stamps
Learn how to create great looking rubber stamping projects every time. Getty Images: Kryssia Campos

When you start any new project, there is likely to be a learning curve to climb. Luckily, rubber stamping is a relatively easy craft to start - however that doesn't mean that there aren't some pitfalls ready to trip up someone new to rubber stamping. Here are ten mistakes that novice rubber stampers make and how to avoid them!

My Images Doesn't Look Like the Image on the Stamp

One common mistake that new stampers make is to get demoralized when their finished stamped image doesn't look like the finished image on the rubber stamp or rubber stamp packaging.

This is because these images have often been colored by professional artists. Stamp companies pick attractive images of the stamp being used to sell the stamp. This has pros and cons as while it may provide inspiration for how the design may look when colored, it may also be difficult for a novice or beginner stamper to achieve.

Solution: Remember that if your finished image does not look like the finished image on the packaging or stamp, that you are likely to be comparing your work with a professional artists – so don't be too hard on yourself! Experiment with different coloring techniques and find out what works best for you.

My Images are Blotchy or Uneven

While making a rubber stamped image should be very straightforward, it is sometimes surprisingly difficult to achieve good, consistent results. It can be very frustrating to stamp an image onto a piece of quality paper only to find that it is smudged or blurred.

The key reasons why images are less than perfect is that too much pressure has been applied, pressure has been applied unevenly or that too much ink has been applied to the stamp.

Solution: Try standing up to stamp an image, this will help you apply an even pressure. If you have problems stamping with large stamps, try placing the stamp on a flat surface with the inked side up and carefully placing paper onto this before rubbing it with your hand or a brayer.

Make sure that the ink is evenly applied to the stamp.

I've Make Cards for All My Friends and Family – I'm Bored Now!

Rubber stamping isn't just about making handmade cards (although there is no doubt that this is a great use for rubber stamps!). There are many other ways that you can use your stamps. Other materials such as glass, fabric, clay and more can be used for stamping.

Solution: Try something new like stamping onto polymer clay, shrink plastic or fabric. You've made lots of cards for other people, now is the time to make something for yourself. Rubber stamped jewelry is a great way to use your stamps and make a treat for yourself at the same time.

I've Blown My Craft Budget

With so many attractive stamps, embellishments, papers and other delights available, it is hardly surprising that some stampers find that they have blown their craft budge in a shockingly short space of time. One key mistake that beginners make is to assume that they need to buy everything available. This is not the case! Remember that projects in magazines, books and websites often feature a specific stamp or brand of product, however other stamps or products can easily be substituted that you already have in your collection.

Solution: Keep to the key basic supplies when you are started. If money is tight then consider money saving tips and try incorporating recycled products into your projects.

I Don't Have the Right Stamp for a Project

A beginner stamper could spend a small fortune buying stamps for every occasion! Beginners often feel that they must have stamps for every occasion whereas in reality a few all-purpose stamps can be used in many projects. Simple floral images, for instance, work well for weddings, birthdays, invitations and more.

Solution: - buy stamps without greetings and that are not too seasonal to ensure they can be widely used. Think 'out of the box' when you are working on a project. A snowflake stamp, for instance, when stamped in bright colors simply becomes an interesting design, rather than a wintery snowflake.

Consider digital stamps, they are often lower priced than traditional rubber stamps and can be a good way to add to your image collection.

My Photo Realistic Stamps Don't Stamp Well

Photo realistic tamps are stamps that have been formed from photographs and often feature people or animals. This are a popular form of stamps and much loved by altered art and mixed media artists. These stamps are, however, relatively tricky to stamp with. Beginner stampers are much better off starting with simple outline stamps before moving on to photo realistic stamps.

Solution: Gain confidence working with simple stamps before moving onto photo realistic stamps and other more specialized stamps.

My Handwritten Sentiments Spoil My Projects

Few of us have perfect handwriting and unless you have beautiful handwriting or calligraphic experience, it is often difficult to write a great looking sentiment on a handmade card. While it is possible to buy sentiment stamps or stamps with words or text incorporated into the design, many beginner stampers find that they don't have the right sentiment stamp for a card. Writing a sentiment onto the card is one solution, however a more convenient way and one assured to give good results is to use printable sentiments.

Solution: Print sentiments and greetings and attach these to a card or other project. The sentiment can be made so it blends into the design by inking or coloring the edges. Tearing the paper creates an attractive feathered edge and makes the sentiment look more 'designed'.