The first thing you should consider when buying stamps is whether you should purchase Mounted ones or Unmounted ones.
Unmounted stamps are generally better if you lack storage space as they don't have an acrylic block attached to them. Instead, they have a self-cling back to stick onto a reusable stamping block of your choosing – they can then be detached and stored back on the stamp sheet alongside your other stamps.
Mounted stamps, on the other hand, come pre-glued onto a wooden stamping block; these stamps are generally more straightforward with fewer extra components to consider, but can be a little pricier.
There are many, many advantages and disadvantages for both of these types of materials, however you must decide what the most important qualities are for you.
Rubber stamps have designs deeply etched into them, are fixed onto a foam material and then mounted to a stamping block. Rubber is a strong, durable material that can withstand a lot of wear and tear as well as high temperatures, so is especially good if you're looking to use more advanced techniques. These stamps are also available as cling stamps which follow the same procedure, minus the wooden block – you'll have to mount this to an acrylic block yourself. The main advantages of rubber stamps are as follows:
Acrylic stamps are generally made from clear photo polymer and are entirely transparent so that you can see exactly where you're placing them. These stamps are unmounted, however they come with an adhesive back and are stuck onto a cling sheet, ready for you to peel off and mount onto a block – you'll then store the stamps back on the original sheet. The main advantages of acrylic stamps are as follows:
If you'd prefer to have aspects of each stamp type, some brands do produce rubber cling stamps. These stamps are a rubber image on a backing sheet with a cushiony material that sandwiches between the stamp and an acrylic or wooden block.