RUBBER STAMPS 101
by 7734

I know what you're thinking... "What’s next, fucking macramé?"

Ok hear me out. Not all rubber stamps have to be cute bears and unicorns. Start thinking shrunken heads, skulls or a business card stamp to be used on a handful of stolen cards from your favorite haunt or victim.

Like all my projects, I've got a down and dirty budget plan to get something done. If you need a quick and cheap stamp, grab a potato and cut it in half. Now carve out your image or text so it appears backwards on the spud. Use whatever ink or paint you can find and stamp away until it falls apart... don't plan on using the potato again. Want something small and cheap that lasts? Use an eraser and repeat the same process above. Rinse the eraser off after you're done and save it for another day.

Now, on to the old-school method for making rubber stamps. The stuff they taught you in shop is still the most popular method to make a rubber stamp. This is a vulcanized rubber stamp. A matrix is exposed and cured to a very hard material. Rubber is placed over the matrix and the vulacanizer applies pressure and heat to form a rubber stamp. A substrate (rubber sheet) is added to the back of the stamp and the mount. The vulcanized stamps look pinkish-red and are a high quality stamp made to last for years if cared for. The problem with the vulcanized method is cost. Vulcanizers are not cheap and the matrix creation is a process on to its own.

This brings us to a newer process that is reasonably priced and easy to make. The process uses UV PhotoPolymer chemicals and a small UV light source. My first attempt to find a local source for the PhotoPolymer was a



waste of time... I called local Twin Cities companies that listed similar products, but nobody knew what the hell I was talking about. Most of the products and information available online were kits being sold with a mysterious goop or StampMagicGoo type names. These kits ranged from $50 - $1,000. After a good day of searching I found M&R. These people are located in New Jersey and sell direct if you don't act like a dork. Tell them that you want to try Photopolymer stamp making, and ask if they have a small kit for sale. The kit I purchased had a large amount of each product listed at the end of this article. Just a guess, but I imagine you could make enough stamps to cover two 11" x 17" sheets.

Lets start a stamp by printing out a transparency sheet filled with designs. The part of the design that you want to show up in ink on the final should be clear and flipped backwards. The part you don't want should be solid black (see silk screenin' 101 for more on transparencies.)