Unmounted stamps are easy to use, economical and space-saving. Much cheaper than wood-mounted stamps, they take less than a quarter of the storage space. Stamps are usually available in sheet form which you then cut up, although some companies will supply single images.

Stamps are available in two types: traditional rubber (pink, red or grey) or polymer (which is translucent). Close trimming and clear acrylic blocks allow for easy stamp positioning, as you can see through the blocks.

To cut a sheet of stamps apart is easy: all you need is a sharp pair of scissors. I recommend Kai scissors, which have a short blade and large hand section, so cutting is less tiring. It is important to cut straight through the rubber and not undercut (slanting the scissors under the image in a diagonal) as the outline will not be supported if you cut the rubber away underneath. Try to keep the scissors vertical. Ideally, leave a margin of 1-2mm around an image.

If you choose to apply your adhesive or mount before cutting, you may find your scissor blades clog up. If so, apply WD40 or baby wipes to get rid of any excess adhesive.


Stamp just as you would with wood-mounted stamps. However, if you have chosen to use a glue stick or repositionable adhesive, magnet or Halos, you will not have a cushion as with wood-mounted stamps. You therefore might find that larger images do not stamp as clearly as you would like - especially the photographic style or finely detailed ones.

An easy fix for this is to place a mouse mat UNDERNEATH the card or paper you are stamping onto. You will then find your image stamps perfectly. If using EZ-Mount, you will not need to use a mouse mat, as this has its own cushioning.


If you use unmounted stamps you need something to adhere the images to, so that you can stamp them. There are several methods:


This is a cheap fix (although not that cheap - foamcore costs around £5 per sheet) where you will cut out your stamp and glue it to the foamcore, which gives you a support for the stamp, and something to hold onto whilst you are stamping.

I have tried this, and found it very unsatisfactory for any but the smallest stamps (with large stamps the foamcore bent in the middle) and the images were not sharp or clear. Also, when cleaning, you must be extremely careful not to get the foamcore wet.


You can buy wood handles with magnets attached underneath. You then attach a thin sheet of adhesive magnet to your rubber stamps (Xyron do a magnetic cartridge, so you can run your stamps through their machine and peel off the lining paper) or else buy special self-adhesive magnets. Attach one to the other, and away you go!

My only proviso is that images can slip - so you have to be careful when stamping, as a smudged image is very irritating. You would also need to use a mouse mat under your work, to compensate for the lack of cushioning.


These are acrylic blocks with grooves cut into them. Inside the grooves are strips of hooked Velcro. You then buy the loop Velcro, which comes in 3ft lengths (about 5 inches wide) which is self-adhesive. Peel back the lining tape, place the stamped image onto this, then cut out. The adhesive is very sticky and clogs up scissors quickly (use WD40 to clean scissors).

The pros: it's easy to peel images on and off.
The cons: this method is expensive, difficult to cut, the fuzzy bits fly around (no good if you have asthma or allergies) and the main point - for me - is that small images slide around on the block.


These are my absolute favourite and I highly recommend them! Blocks are available with either straight cut or shaped sides (like the wood-mounted stamps) for easier handling. There is a variety of shapes to fit any stamp, from small and square to long and narrow, and several stamps can be mounted together and stamped out at the same time. I particularly like the oblong mount for arranging alphabet letters on, to stamp out my own headings etc.

A big advantage of acrylic blocks is that you only need to buy the sizes you actually use - and a simple set of 3 sizes (small, medium and large) will probably be enough for most stamping needs.

Clear Polymer stamps need no adhesive - they adhere with static cling.

Rubber stamps can be mounted to an acrylic block by using several methods:

  • Glue sticks (simply wash off any built-up glue when you have finished your stamping session).
  • Repositionable glue - ie: Stamporium Ultimate Adhesive or Aleene's Tack It Over & Over (just press on and peel off, over and over.)
  • EZ-Mount adheres to the block by static cling - just press on and peel off, again and again.

Another use for acrylic blocks, which you may not have thought of - a palette! Scribble on watercolour crayons or watercolour markers, use with a paintbrush - and simply wash under the tap when you are done!


These may be sold as individual stamps, but more commonly they will be sold as small sheets. Cut carefully around the images using sharp scissors, then use with an acrylic block.

Acrylic stamps will adhere to acrylic mounts by static cling: no adhesives are necessary. To use, press the stamp onto an acrylic block, ink up, and GO! When you have finished, clean your stamp, peel it off the block and store away (see below). These stamps peel on and off, over and over again.


You have two choices: either cut the stamps into individual images and apply adhesive, or apply your chosen adhesive to the entire sheet THEN cut into individual images.MAGNETS

If using the Xyron Magnetic cartridge (about 5 inches wide) or magnetic sheets, you may find it easier to cut the stamp sheet down partially, apply to the magnetic sheet, then cut out individual images afterwards.


EZ-Mount comes in an A4 sheet, as do many sheets of rubber stamps (eg: Non Sequitur) or quarter sheets (eg: Paper Artsy - so why not mount 4 mini sheets at a time?).

EZ-Mount is my personal favourite as a mounting method - built-in cushioning makes stamping a pleasure, and results are as good as with a wood-mounted stamp.

To apply, peel off the liner sheet (self adhesive) and stick to the back of the stamp, then cut out!

I like to stick an entire sheet of stamps to a whole sheet of EZ-Mount, then get the scissors out. If I don't need all the images straight away, I leave them on the mount, store them way and cut out another time.


Halos stamp mounts come in lengths of approximately 3 ft, although only about 5 inches wide - so some cutting down of images is advisable before you start. Simply peel the backing sheet off the Velcro and press down onto the rubber, then cut out individual images. Scissors get extremely "gunky" (not to mention all the little "fuzzies" that fly around) so have baby wipes or WD40 standing by. Bear in mind that small images can move around on the block.


A good, cheap temporary measure, but not a long-term solution. Use a repositionable glue stick (eg: Pritt Stick) if at all possible - or if you forget to clean your stamps and remove them from the mounts, you may find they have stuck permanently.

Only use a permanent glue stick (any brand) if you are very conscientious about cleaning up (see below).REPOSITIONABLE GLUE

STAMPORIUM ULTIMATE ADHESIVE (the one I use and recommend) or ALEENE'S TACK IT OVER & OVER (a thick white glue).

Easiest to use if you paint an entire sheet of stamps in one go - much less messy than applying to one image at a time. Allow to dry overnight - then apply to your acrylic blocks, and away you go! Stick on, peel off, stick on, peel off.

STAMPORIUM'S adhesive is wonderful for small images which are fiddly to cut around (I save the EZ-Mount for larger images which need cushioning) and I have used these over and over with no loss of adhesion. I stamped an entire calendar (14 pages including front and back cover) for Crafts Beautiful magazine - using the lettering and numbers over and over again. They still stick as well now as when I first applied the glue - and I haven't had to renew it, either. If using large stamps, use a mouse mat underneath your cardstock to help with cushioning, if you don't have EZ-Mount.

ALEENE'S adhesive is nowhere near as good - but was all you could get a few years ago. Personally, I find it loses adhesion after only a few applications and then needs renewing.



If you have used a glue stick as a temporary adhesive: peel off the stamp, and throw the stamp and mount into your washing up bowl, and clean with a weak solution of washing-up liquid, warm water and a sponge! Dry thoroughly with kitchen roll. Or use any of the methods listed below.


Leave on the acrylic block then use any of these methods:

STAMP-CLEANING MATS are excellent - just wet under the tap. Wiggle the dirty rubber into the fibres and dry off on kitchen towel. These mats can be re-used over and over (rinse under the tap and allow to dry, then re-wet the next session). Cheap, cheerful and lasts for years!

ALCOHOL-FREE BABY WIPES are excellent for cleaning stamps, hands, and also to remove most inks from the handle of the stamp (the acrylic block). Finish by blotting with kitchen towel.

OLD TOOTHBRUSH: Filthy, ink-clogged stamps can be cleaned with an old toothbrush - either dampened with plain water or with a designated stamp cleaner. Rinse off by wiping with damp kitchen roll, a damp flannel or old towel, then dry with kitchen roll.

STAZ-ON CLEANER is perfect for absolutely disgusting ink-clogged stamps. This cleaner will remove virtually any ink build-up. Finish by wiping with damp kitchen roll etc, as above.


Be very careful not to get the foamcore wet, or it will disintegrate. Use damp kitchen roll or an old flannel to wipe ink off the rubber.


These peel off the mount - use any of the above methods and blot onto kitchen roll. Polymer stamps can become a little sticky after cleaning: if this happens, simply dust with baby powder.


Unmounted stamps are popular as they take up much less space, but should be stored out of the sun (about the only thing that can damage a stamp). They can be stored in a drawer, but these methods are much better (and easier to identify a particular stamp).


If you prefer to use your stamps without adhesive (using glue stick on the back as a temporary method - see above) storage is very easy. Of course, you will have washed any adhesive off the stamp first!

This method also works for stamps stuck to foamcore or with a magnetic backing (again, there is no adhesive on the back of the stamp).

The File Box Method

Stamp the image onto the front of an envelope, and tuck the stamp inside. Store upright in a card file box, and file by category using file cards. These boxes come in many sizes and colours. Is the stamp too big for even the biggest file box? Use giant envelopes, and store flap-side upwards in a ring binder.


The back of the stamp will not be sticky, as static cling enables it to adhere to the acrylic blocks.

In a binder

Stick onto the front of transparency sheets (acrylic) with the index sheet behind this, showing through. The index sheet is the illustration of the stamped images, which will come with the stamps when you buy them. This enables you to identify your stamps. Punch holes in the transparency sheets, and store in a ring binder, on a shelf or bookcase.

It is also possible to buy purpose-made stamp storage binders, with transparency sheets already punched for use.

Photo album

Use a photo album (the sort where you peel away the protective sheet). Place the index sheet on the cardboard under the protective sheet, smooth this back down, then place the stamps on the front, over the index sheet so that you can see which stamp is which. Simple - and especially important when trying to identify alphabets and phrases. Store albums on a shelf or in a bookcase.

Don't put too many stamps in each binder, or they will be too heavy to stand up. The aim is to keep the stamps clean and out of the sun.

File them
Use the file box method (see above).

Suspension Files

Suspension file folders (the office type) also work well: the cardboard is pretty rigid and made to take weight! Cut a file in half at the fold, so you have two separate sections of suspension file with metal strips at the top.

Stick the index sheet to the file folder (fasten an acrylic sheet over the top - use brads or eyelets) then press the stamps onto the acrylic. Hang inside a desk drawer or hanging file box.


These stamps have sticky backs, so use the binder, photoalbum or suspension file methods (above).


Buy self-adhesive hook Velcro strips, and stick down one side of a transparency sheet or photo album page, with the index sheet underneath the image (as above). Press the stamp onto the Velcro strip (the stamp has the loop Velcro on the back).

Alternatively: use the File Box method (see above).

Suspension Files for Halos

Suspension file folders (the office type) also work well as they are made to take the weight. Cut a file in half at the fold, so to give two separate sections of suspension file with metal strips at the top.

Stick the index sheet to the file folder (you might like to stick an acrylic sheet over the top, to save wear and tear - use brads or eyelets) then stick strips of self-adhesive hook Velcro above the indexing. Press the stamps onto the Velcro strips and hang in a desk drawer or hanging file box.

©Susie Jefferson for Blade Rubber Stamps 2009
Susie Jefferson is a regular teacher of popular Classes at Blade Rubber