By following a few simple guidelines you can save money by creating rubber stamp artwork that a stamp manufacturer can download without any design input; stamp manufacturers love it when artwork arrives that is ‘ready’ for production.
You may currently be paying $12.00 for an unmounted, mass produced stamp in the shops, buying the same size stamp direct from a rubber stamp manufacturer will be about $9.00 and be custom made for you!
The following design guidelines assume that you have scanned a drawing into your computer or have located a piece of artwork and imported the image.
The easiest stamp to make from a manufacturing point of view is one where the artwork has a line thickness that does not fall below the minimum required. The minimum line thickness that is recommended is 0.2mm (0.00787 inch or 0.57 point), if it does fall below this, the ‘wall strength’ of that part of the stamp is compromised and may become distorted. Having said this, you can convert an image with fine lines to one suitable for stamp making.
Computer programs work with image data in a number of different ways, for example programs like CorelDraw work with both Vector images (lines) and Bitmap images (pixels), CorelDraw is also the preferred program for making rubber stamps from images.
When scanning a drawing into your computer it will always load as a bitmap image, (a bit like a photograph in a newspaper). This can be sent directly to a stamp manufacturer as long as it is a black and white scan and the line thicknesses do not fall below the minimum. If the lines are too thin you can convert the bitmap image into vector data by applying a trace to the image. Programs that have tracing ability place a vector line around the lines or can be set to follow the lines, these lines can then have a thickness applied to make them suitable for rubber stamp making.
Complex drawing and illustrations can also be made into rubber stamps; these may not contain many lines and look more like photographs. It is best to send a few different options of these to your stamp manufacturer; one option would be to increase the brightness of the image then convert the bitmap to a simple black and white image. Here it is best to select a rubber stamp manufacturer that is familiar with these types of images, see below recommendations.
All images that enter your computer have an extension relating to what format they are in. You may have an image from a scan, a clipart disk or downloaded from a clipart service. Some are .eps and .wmf files (Vector line format more common for logos or line drawings) and others jpeg an .gif (Bitmap pixel photos and illustrations)
Both image formats can produce excellent stamps; however simple images are always best in .eps and .wmf format to allow you to easily manipulate line thickness in the event the lines are too thin.
Online Clipart Services
There are many online clipart services that provide excellent clipart for rubber stamping; the best images are from services that are subscription based that charge a yearly or per image fee. If this does not suit and you really want to save money you should find out which service your rubber stamp manufacturer belongs to, it costs nothing to search through the clipart service that he belongs to as he will be the person downloading the images. This bit of lateral thinking and finding the right manufacturer will save you lots of money because you will never have to pay for the clipart. Clipart.com is one of the best services that some manufacturers subscribe to; I estimate that over 3 million images at Clipart.com are suitable for stamp production and they are fine with manufacturers using the images for rubber stamps.
The craft stamp industry is very large indeed and most people are still buying stamps that are mass produced because they don’t know how to get a ‘custom made’ stamp manufactured. So if you are into card making or scrapbooking and want to find that ‘special stamp’ you should find yourself a manufacturer, it doesn’t matter where they are in the world as unmounted stamps are thin and lightweight and can be posted easily.
A network of stamp manufacturers that offer stamps made from online clipart services can be found online, at [http://www.stampsearch.com.au] various manufacturers will make unmounted stamps from clipart or your own artwork and send the finished stamps anywhere in the world.
Robert de Rooy is based in Australia and has been involved with the rubber stamp industry in the Pacific region for over ten years; he has provided consultation to the development of [http://stampsearch.com.au] and operates http://www.instastamp.com.au manufacturing stamp making equipment for people wishing to enter the rubber stamp making industry.
how can i organise my rubber stamps?
at the moment i have all my rubber stamps (the sort u use in card making not in stamp collecting/off letters) in a medium sized box. some are mounted, others unmounted (like those from “darkroom door”) and clear cling stamps. i dont have that much storage space so i cant split them up into smaller boxes (i’ve tried) and if i stack them in somesort of order it doesnt take long for them to be in chaos again
Any suggetions to help change this?
An Iris Cart (draws with wheels) would work for the mounted stamps and then you can sort them out according to theme or frequent use. You could store some other supplies in there also.
A binder with sports trading card holders could work for your UMs. Stamp them out on trading card like sheet, and then house them in the correct pocket.
Clear and Unmounted Stamp Storage Solution
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