Stamping Advice Needed

April 30, 2016 | 26 Comments

Today, I want to ask you some questions!

As you might have noticed, I have been really loving stamped headings in my daily sketchbook over the last few weeks. I have been using the Southport Alphabet by Kelly Purkey which I love as it is bold but condensed.

It is the first stamping (or anything remotely close to scrap-booking) that I have ever done… so basically I am fairly clueless.  My two big issues have to do with ink! (ah! ink is always an issue – isn’t it?)

1. Is there an ink out there that is permanent but won’t bleed through thin-ish paper such as Stillman & Birn Alpha. I am using StazOn (solvent ink) which if I don’t press hard doesn’t bleed through too much. The other cheaper Pigment ink I bought is much stronger.
2. How do you clean the ink off the stamp (hmmm, StazOn ink stays on!!!)
3. Also if the stamps are losing the stickiness on the back side, is washing them with soap and water the best way to restore them. (Ha! I always add an extra point don’t I?)

I am finding the ritual of stamping the date at the end of the day rather therapeutic and a great motivation to finishing off my pages. I don’t care too much if the stamp is a little crooked or doesn’t come out clearly… I well and truly embrace imperfections in my sketchbooks!

The bleed-through is a little bit of an issue at the moment, but I am much less precious about my sketchbook than you would expect me too.  I don’t mind a little bleed through. Whoa! has that shocked you???

See here is the impact of the Thurs 28 stamping – I can live with that. But, just for the record I had scanned the sketch before I stamped…

and I will admit that I am trying to stamp so that the bleed through misses important sketches!

Thanks in advance if anyone can help me… especially if there is a suggestion for an Australian supplier of ink and cleaner! Thanks!

PS. There are some fantastic comments on yesterdays post….

PPS. I am getting lots of great answers to this stamping question on my Instagram feed as well – here is the link to read those suggestions.


  • Cassandra Epalle says:

    Liz, you can clean off the stamps with baby wipes. And if you have a big mess a bit of hand wash can be a big help.

    I have been experimenting with the Tombow Dual Brush Pens all month for International Fake Journal Month with Roz. I have a photo album of the journal on my facebook page. It turns out that you can use them for stamping. And they do not go thru to the next page. Plus they are really fun because you can color and draw on the stamp. Being dye based they are not lightfast.

    • Liz Steel says:

      Ah! good old baby wipes hey? thanks Cassandra. Love the idea of the tombows and if in a sketchbook they might be ok.

  • To clean the stamps I use a paper towel with a little water and then dry thoroughly before putting them away. I always use black ink so I don’t mind if some of it stays on the stamp. I use an ink labeled “archival” but I don’t remember the brand. I have used it on moleskine paper and there is no bleed through and I don’t think it is solvent based as there is no smell.

    • Liz Steel says:

      thanks Carolyn… the solvent ink doesn’t come off with water sadly… but like you I am mainly doing black so it is not the end of the world

  • Emie says:

    Staz-On ink Makes a specific cleaner for it which works well…. water doesn’t work well with it. I also find it best to have scrap paper handy and remove any excess ink before using the cleaner. As for the bleak through…. it has to do more with the paper than ink.

  • I found my ink and the company is called Ranger. Hope that helps.

  • Kate says:

    Liz, I don’t know anything about stamping but I have sort of a related question. some time ago, I thought I saw a red chop mark on one of your sketchbook pages, and a date mark (in red) that also reminded me of a chop mark. Do I remember these correctly, or have I completely lost it?

    American architect Frank Lloyd Wright used a square drawing of his name in red on his drawings, and I thought you might too.


    • Liz Steel says:

      yes Kate… VERY sharp memory – I have a chinese chop that says the chinese equivalent of “elizabeth”. thanks for reminding me of it… I love it and used it for my trip to Singapore but then wasn’t sure of its relevance to me. I would love one with English

  • Sietske says:

    Not an answer to your question but I sometimes cut my own stamps from those white plastic erasers.

  • Megan says:

    Staz on has a specific cleaner it won’t come off with normal stamp cleaner or a baby wipe. Over time the stamps do lose the stickiness but you are correct to wash them and that should improve their ability to stick to a mount.

  • Liz Steel says:

    thanks for all the advice everyone … so much appreciated!!!

  • I use stamps a lot, and carve my own with linoleum block print cutting tools. I need to check out my various stamp pads, one of them is pigment ink that takes FOREVER to dry, and so I wouldn’t recommend it but can’t remember which it is. Ranger does work well, and Memories makes both acid free pigment and dye ink pads, which latter I prefer. I’ll try to remember to check the brand of the gooshy one when I go out to the shed!

  • Carmela Sunnyvale says:

    Hi Liz
    These 2 links give good info on waterproof vs non-waterproof, lightfastness vs non-lightfastness, and permanence in various inks. I’ve found wiping off the inks immediately after use helps–I keep an old wash cloth handy, but paper towel or scrap paper works OK, too. Staz-on cleaner works well, but avoid inhaling. All stamps will discolor over time. If I’m switching colors, I test the stamp on scrap paper to make sure the ‘old’ ink is not transferring. The new ink helps remove any lingering old ink, I find. I use mostly dish detergent (Dawn) and water for cleaning after each use.

  • Rebecca Deeprose says:

    Mementos’ ‘Tuxedo Black’ will do the job well. Washing and drying your stamps will renew their stickiness and while memento won’t bleed, you also won’t be left with stained stamps. I use baby wipes to clean mine..saves extra elbow grease later.

  • liannallama says:

    1. Try ranger archival ink
    2. The stamps will get stained and still function properly. You can try stazon cleaner if it bothers you. I use a special stamping scrubby pad with a bit of water or stamp cleaner on one side and the other side dry but it’s not necessary. Others use a damp cloth or alcohol free baby wipes. Some people never clean their stamps (look up Tim Holtx–he’s awesome)
    3. Clear stamps you can wash in a colander with warm water and a bit of dish soap to remove the oils which is what makes them stop sticking.

  • Since these things are inside your sketchbook, I don’t think you need to worry quite as much about waterproof and lightfast? If that is the case, here’s something I use with rubber stamps of all kinds, which allow you to be precise in your placement and distribution of color: Tombow brush markers. You can brush on the ink with a sideways motion, and make every element of your stamp a different color if you want. (I’m not talking so much about lettering here as about pictorial rubber stamps, but you can obviously do the same with letter stamps.) When you are done brushing on the ink, hold the stamp up near your mouth and breath on it the way you would to clean the lenses of your eye glasses, just to make sure the ink remains damp, and stamp! As far as cleaning, there is a rubber stamp cleaning solution I buy, along with a sheet of sponge that has a “hairy” backing–you squirt a couple of drops on the hairy side, and then gently rub your stamp back and forth across that, and it takes off the ink. The “hairs” ensure that you reach up into all the nooks and crannies. But you can also use dish soap and wash them gently.

  • RosA says:

    Hi Liz,
    I’ve been looking at your lovely artwork and following your blog for a while now, but my forte is stamping and mixed media, (with a bit of watercolour thrown in!
    If you are using Stazon you really need the Stazon (solvent) cleaner. My black stamp pad of preference is Ranger Archival Ink (Jet Black). A great all-round black ink, but you will need proper stamp cleaner, not just water. There is a question mark over whether you should use Stazon (and its cleaner) on clear stamps, but it is OK on red rubber. Don’t leave the lid off the Stazon (for any time at all). It will dry out very quickly. If you are using baby wipes, the alcohol free ones are recommended.
    The “sponge with a hairy backing” is a stamp “scrubber” you can get from craft shops, but a cheaper alternative can be found at the hardware store in the paint dept.
    A good place to start for buying your stamps etc is CraftonLine (Qld) or you could take a trip to Catchy Crafts in Hornsby 🙂

    • Ros Crompton says:

      Hi RosA. I am just perusing the comments with a few pointers coming together including a trip to Catchy Crafts. You’ve grabbed it all as I would have expected with your skills. Agree with your preference for Archival ink as an all-rounder. Judikins has a good cleaner and rubber conditioner however it’s not that important. Important to treat clear cling stamps differently from rubber using soap and water. Good to catch up with you in another sphere.
      Best to you,

  • Pat Wafer says:

    This is all so interesting. Now I want a date stamp. Love the idea about using the Tombow markers. I love them because they have no odor and last a long time.

  • Liz Steel says:

    Oh! thank you SO SO much everyone. There is so much great advice here! I really appreciate it. thanks!

  • jeanette sclar says:

    Alene’s “Tack it Over and Over” Is a glue designed to make things re-positionable. You spread it on the item and let it dry (like you would do with rubber cement) before you stick it down. It lasts a long time before you have to re-glue and is available at craft stores and online.

  • Jennifer Rumford says:

    VersaMagic Chalk stamps are regularly recommended in the Hobonichi world for not bleeding through the Tomoe River paper. If there is chalk in the ink that would help soak up wetness.

Leave a Reply