Well, there are reasons to have a look at unmounted rubber stamps too. This is where you buy just the rubber - it's not attached to a wooden block. SOME manufactuers (definitely not all) offer their stamps unmounted. They are generally a lot cheaper, and shipping and storage is easier too. It is often the more quirky manufacturers that offer their stamps this way (oh boy, my favourite!). They are often available in themed sets, which many stampers just love.
WHAT YOU GET
This varies, so make sure you know what you are being offered. You may be looking at a sheet of uncut rubber with several images on it; the rubber images may be cut apart from each other in a rough way; or they may be neatly trimmed ready for use. You'll want a nice pair of scissors to trim your rubber really well, because any excess bits on the edge of your image could spoil your stamping. Some stamps being sold as "unmounted" actually include the wooden mounts for you to attach. That's fine too, just be sure you know what's on offer.
WHAT YOU NEED TO DO TO USE YOUR STAMPS
You have to make some choices here. The rubber needs to be attached to a solid block in some way, for neat and effective stamping. Larger images may benefit from some cushioning material between the rubber and the block. And there are quite a few ways to achieve this.
- make your own mount - get some wooden or acrylic blocks, and glue the rubber on permanently. This is an art in itself, and not one I'm expert enough in to explain properly.
- attach loop tape to each stamp, and use an acrylic block with hook tape attached for the mount. These are sold under the brand names of HALOS and MUMS, and perhaps others. You can make your own block from wood, and glue hook tape all over it. By the way "hook and loop" tape is the generic term for the product you may know as "Velcro" (that's one brand name).
- smear a nice even layer of repositionable glue onto the back of each stamp, and attach to an acrylic mount when you use it - or just glue up the mount itself!
- use a brand name mounting product - some of these are based on static cling, and some work really well. But you need to try them out, so don't commit to one system until you have had a go.
- a temporary method - put double sided tape on a wooden or acrylic block, and peel it off later
- a really temporary method - put a drop of water on a shiny acrylic block and "adhere" the stamp that way
- a real emergency method - LICK an acrylic block and stick the stamp on that way! Don't think I haven't done it (but do make sure the block is clean!).
WHAT ELSE DO YOU NEED TO KNOW?
Storage! You will get so much more use out of your stamps if you store them well. Depending on the mounting method, you can look at :
- CD boxes
- Video boxes
- envelopes in a card file box
- or some other method.
Make sure your storage method lets you look at a stamped image of each stamp - you really can't see what the stamp is if you look at the rubber (after all, it's backwards and all one colour). And make a note of the manufacturer of each stamp in your storage system. One day you may want to refer to it, and the information would be lost otherwise.
Whew, that's a lot! Hope you learned something. Please vote this guide as "useful" if you did (I have a secret ambition to become a "top reviewer"). Now, this all refers to RUBBER stamps. There are POLYMER stamps too, and that's another topic. Stay tuned.