There are many different types of stamps out there, not only in design, but in functionality. There are two main types of stamps in the crafting world – rubber and clear – both of which have their own benefits of use. Stamps are also available mounted to a stamping block or left unmounted. Below, we describe the pros and cons of each.
Mounted vs. Unmounted Stamps
The first thing you should consider when buying stamps is whether you should purchase mounted ones or unmounted ones. Here's a little description of each:
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.
Rubber vs. Clear Stamps
There are many advantages and disadvantages of using rubber and clear stamps, however you must decide what the most important qualities are for you. Here's a list of their key attributes:
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:
- Extremely durable - Compared to clear stamps, these stamps are far sturdier and won't deteriorate as quickly, if at all.
- Less prone to staining - Due to the material and colouring of these stamps, it's far easier to remove ink staining from rubber than from transparent stamps.
- Great image quality - As the stamping image is deeply etched into a strong rubber material, the sharpness and precision of the image can be greater than a softer material. These stamps, therefore, generally include finer details.
- Straightforward - Whereas clear stamps can be rather fiddly to use when mounting and stamping, rubber stamps are usually larger and easier to use. As they are (mostly) pre-mounted, you won't need to worry about the back of the stamp losing its stickiness over time – the block isn't going anywhere!
Clear stamps are generally made from clear photopolymer or acrylic, 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 clear stamps are as follows:
- Transparency - You can see through the stamp to ensure you're placing the image exactly where you want it, unlike with rubber stamps.
- Build up a design - It's extremely easy to combine multiple stamps together on your stamping block to build up a design or scene – this seriously extends your crafting possibilities.
- Storage space - As these stamps are stored grouped together on a thin sheet, they take up way less space than big blocks would.
- Inexpensive - As these stamps are smaller in size and come unmounted, they are usually cheaper than rubber stamps. Often you can buy a whole sheet of stamps for the same price as a nice sized rubber stamp.
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, thus providing the best of both worlds!