Introduction: Make Pro-Rubber Stamps

Picture of Make Pro-Rubber Stamps

last year, my friends gave me a nickname "Humorist" because of some of my jokes nobody understand (I admit it's quite fair).

But I realised that I'm not the only one to make strange jokes and sometimes I want to approve some of those jokes!

So why not creating my own LABEL?
And I went with the idea of making my own STAMP!

Stamp somebody : IT'S HUMORIST APPROVED !!

This Instructable shows how to:

     -Make the stamp itself ( of course )

     -Make a very fine tool for engraving

     -Make a nice inkwell for your Rubber Stamp

Step 1: Preparation.

Picture of Preparation.

First step; preparing your job.

We will need a plaster tile to engrave the stamp.
But plaster has tu cure and dry before being engraved.

so let's do it first.

All you need is a plaster tile in which your stamp can fit ( lets say 15cm X 15cm ),
with a thickness of 1cm (thicker will be too long to cure, and thinner too fragile).

To get a flat surface I poured the plaster in a cereal box cut in halves.

(if you're a bit impatient like I was, accelerate the drying process by putting the tile in your oven at 50°C)

finally you'll get this

Step 2: Design the Stamp

Picture of Design the Stamp

While it's drying, we have time for the stamp

First of all, you have to decide what your stamp should look like.

Make a drawing with Inkscape.

DRAW the REAL drawing you want to see, NOT reversed.

-- Draw the contours
-- Fill with parallel lines the zones where ink should be present
-- Check that every path outlines closed zones.

Step 3: Create a Path and G-code for Engraving

Picture of Create a Path and G-code for Engraving

Now you've drawn your future stamp,

use Inkscape's Gcode tool plugin

and create Gcode using "Path to G-code" function

(view full size picture to see the detail.)

Once you have your Gcode, check it with NCPlot. (look for free NCPlotV1.3)

Step 4: Prepare Engraving

Picture of Prepare Engraving

To engrave the plaster you'll need a fine tool

This tool is about to scratch plaster quite fast, and so engraving it.

You'll need:
     -a small rod, or a broken drill bit.  ( Pic 1)
     -a small grindstone. (Pic 4)
     -two rotating tool. ( pic 5 )

The rod turns fast and is fixed.

Slowly approach the grindstone to the end of the rod to reduce it's diameter to the diameter of a pin ( or smaller )  (Pic 5,6 and 7)

Then stop spinning the rod and slowly grind one side of the point.
do the same on the other side of the point.

Finally grind the very end of the point.

You should get a very small rectangular / parallelepipedic  tip. (Pic 9)

Step 5: Engrave

Picture of Engrave

It's time for engraving your stamp.

If you have a CNC router, It's time to power it up.

    ( Otherwise, you can engrave by hand, having transferred your drawing to the plaster )

Put the flat surface under the drill.
Start engraving.

The following video shows in 8x speed the engraving of the smiley
(note: I chose a larger drill bit for higher speed because this pattern isn't as detailed as the "APPROVED" stamp)

Step 6: Make a Frame

Picture of Make a Frame

We now need to pour some sealant plastic onto the engraved plaster, for it to cure with the appropriate shape.

But we also want this plastic to be a bit thick (0.5cm)

so we make a frame from junk wood or anything else.

Step 7: Fill With Plastic

Picture of Fill With Plastic

( and wait ...)

In the previous steps we made nothing more than a mould.

We need to fill it, and the best material I found is construction site sealant.
It's both strong and a bit soft.

You can also use Silicon

Pour it into the mould
Make sure it goes EVERYWHERE in the mould
Smooth the Surface
Let It Cure

The sealant I used Cures in the Air  by evaporating it's solvent.
So I helped it a bit by offering it a journey in the oven, at 30°C

Step 8: Remove Plaster.

Picture of Remove Plaster.

It's the easiest part.

Simply remove the plaster by breaking, and detaching it from the sealant.

FIRST TIP :  To break the plaster into a lot of easily removable parts, position the plate absolutely parallel to the ground and smash it on the floor.

SECOND TIP : Dunk it into hot water so the plaster softens.

THIRD TIP : To remove SMALL PARTS, use a screwdriver.

FINAL TIP: If there is still some plaster stuck, use acid to dissolve plaster and a brush to remove the residues.

Step 9: Mount the Stamp on a Support

Picture of Mount the Stamp on a Support

We now need to make a neat stamp.

First we cut the excess of plastic around the stamp.

Report the stamp's outline on a piece of wood and cut it to it's shape.

Polish the edges and add a nice handle!

Then, to stick the rubber surface to the wood, use the same plastic you used before.

MAKE Sure you correctly orientate the stamp with the handle.
Let it dry/Cure on a Flat Surface so the stamp will be flat too!

Step 10: Make an Inkwell

Picture of Make an Inkwell

You now have a very nice stamp.

It only miss an INKWELL

Let's do it from scavenged materials :

an old Metal box (tea box for me) And a Printer

Take out of an old printer, a kind of sponge material. if you don't have one a real sponge may work too.

Step 11: Forming the Box

Picture of Forming the Box

The box I had, and the one you may find, was too tall.

I had to shorten it a bit.

Step 12: Make the Sponge

Picture of Make the Sponge

We can't let the sponge as it is because it would be too messy.
So we need to cover it with some fabric.

Look at the comments on the pictures, I detailed all steps.

Step 13: Conclusion.

Picture of Conclusion.

Et Voila !

Some superb stamps for your own desires!

Remember, If you don't have CNC, It's no problem, you can engrave by hand!

If you want to make stamps with your kids, replace plastic by play dough, it'll be great fun ( it will make temporary stamps but, if you make a stronger plaster tile you can form as many as you want and this quite fast  )

I hope you enjoyed and I can't wait seeing your stamps!!


leugim (author)2010-11-28

This is a great instructable! Especially because of the use of silicon for the actual stamp.

I have a question, though. For us lowly mortals without direct access to a cnc router:
Would it work if I -instead of engraving the plaster/skipping the whole plaster part-
1- send to laser-cut a 1mm mdf with the design (this would be cheaper than cnc-routing)
2- glue the design to a base
3- continue your instructable , framing, filling with glue?

My primary concern beeing if I would be able to get the sealant/plastic/silicon of the mdf.
Do you think it's posible that way?
Plot-cutting the design out of vinyl would not provide enough depth(less than 1mm) for the stamp to work, would it?

Do you know why elephants travel in groups?
The one in the center carries the radio.

Do you know why an elephant stampede gets started?
They have run out of battery.

Mindmapper1 (author)leugim2013-10-04

If you have access to a laser then laser engrave the stamp. See my instructable on how to do this.
I have just made some for a photographer as part of his promotional materials.

jovolomo (author)leugim2010-11-29


It a good question! And I would have the same concern about the sealant/silicone sticking too hard to the mdf.
(I keep in mind that sealants are originally made for clinging hard to anything!!)

But I think it must work in certain condition : Not clean surfaces!!

I would try greasing/coating the contact surfaces ( all exposed mdf and base ).

I'll try at home next WE with oil, butter, paraffin oil, wax, dish washing liquid, soap... and post results!.

For the vinyl idea, I think you're right, if should be too thin.
Unless you cut several vinyl sheets and pile them. ( then it might be ok for stamping flat and hard surfaces.)

( I didn't knew the 2 part of elephant joke, very funny)

jovolomo (author)jovolomo2010-12-04

Hi, I made the tests on MDF.

I used ( from the left to the right ) Paraffin Oil, Sunflower Oil, Wax, Soap, Dish washing liquid.


Oils are absolutely not appropriated.

Wax and dish washing liquid are ok,


To get this perfect result you see ( it's a capital M )
you just take a dry soap, and rub it against the wood to cover it perfectly.

I used then a brush, to remove excess of soap. (part of it is stuck to the wood, we want this, and the other part is kind of powder we want to remove, especially in the corners

If you tried something else, share your experiences!

leugim (author)jovolomo2010-12-04

Wow! You certainly have my respect!
I had fairly big sufaces and went with a poliester plaster (the one used for cars before paint). I have that stuff lying around in 1kg cans I never seem able to finish.
When sanded relatively fine (like grit 600+) you get a hard and smooth surface which is ok for pulling out the silicon. I used oil(cooking) and had a much easier time to get the silicone off.

It didn't occur to me to use just soap. looks like extremely good results! I will definitedly try it out. Next is a rather intricate design..

Thanks for the testing!! I never have the patience to do it that throughout.

Pravin SinghR made it! (author)2017-11-04

i made it

soilwork made it! (author)2015-11-11

I took your idea to make the bits, I made a 1/32" and 3/128", for quick test I used Hot glue instead silicon or rubber, this instructable is awesome, thanks for the idea of the homemade carvings..

zipties (author)2015-01-15

Hello all. Is the resulting stamp material flexible enough to bend? I want to make a texture stamp to use on soft clay, The stamp needs to be firm enough to make an imprint on the soft clay and flexible enough to bend over curves.

jovolomo (author)zipties2015-01-16

Hi! the rigidity of your stamp will depend on the polymer you use. I used a construction site sealant, and it was quite strong yet gently flexible.

If you use silicone it will be more flexible but less strong.
if you use resin it surely will mark your clay but wont bend much.

but for your clay I would take the same sealant as me.

zipties (author)jovolomo2015-01-16

Thank you, my friend. I will post the results :)

t.rohner (author)2010-11-29

Hi there, nice idea, but if you have access to a milling machine, chances are, that you have access to a laser cutter/engraver as well.
It is a very common application to directly engrave on stamp rubber. Most Laser cutting/engraving software lets you import graphics in vector or bitmap format. The stamp function automatically mirrors it and makes a negative. You only need to determine the engraving depht and flank angles.(The default depht and angles are usable for most stamps, only if you have very fine details, you may need to tweak there.)
I'm selling and servicing Lasers for this and other applications for over 10 years, so i made my share of fun stamps during that time ;-))

jovolomo (author)t.rohner2010-11-29

thanks for appreciating.

From what I see on internet and on Instructables, lots of people, and I'm one of them, build their own cnc machine because they have neither access to a cnc router nor to a laser engraver.

but I agree with you, it would be easier with a laser cutter/engraver, and as you said, it's how half of the stamps in the world are made.

And honestly I'd love to have a Laser cutter; Don't you have one for me?

t.rohner (author)jovolomo2010-11-29

Well, we sell a Austrian made "Rolls Royce" type of machine. These machines come with a 3 year warranty on every part. We use expensive built American Laser tubes from Synrad or Coherent. Last Friday, i had a customer bring in his 10 year old machine, to install a refilled tube.(The CO2 diffuses out with time.)
Those refilled tubes cost more, than a comparable machine from China.(Well, at least comparable from the raw numbers...)
I was once called to a customer with such a chinese machine. I really got the creeps. No security interlocks at all, you could open the cover with 110W of invisible laser rays rummaging around. I wished the customers retina much luck for the future...
So given the fact, that you need to refill the tube after a certain time, it's maybe not such a good idea to have one around privately. If you share it with maybe 10 people, the cost can be divided. I have heard, that in the U.S. there are centers, where you can use such machines and that's what i meant with having access to it.

LaserMartina (author)t.rohner2011-04-04

Do you sell Trotec laser engravers? Is it a better system than Epilog or GCC?

t.rohner (author)LaserMartina2011-04-04

I install, service and give trainings on these machines. I'm the techie, not the sales rep. But from what i have seen on shows and what i hear from customers, Trotec plays in the highest league.
They are very service-friendly as well.
We sold these machines into industrial production and also on campuses comparable to the MIT. (also to Mom and Pop operations, especially in the stamp business ;-)
These people evaluate thoroughly, before they buy something.

But i also hear good reports about Epilog and also GCC.

So if you get your hands on one of these "brand" machines, you should be ok.

jovolomo (author)t.rohner2010-11-30

I should look around, if there is this kind of centre where people share tools.
It would be so amazing!

Alberta Leong (author)2011-01-07

interesting! i love stamping!

caitlinsdad (author)2010-11-26

Very nice! Is the joke that you have a French name but the approval stamp is not in French?

jovolomo (author)caitlinsdad2010-11-27

First of all, Thank you!

The joke isn't about having a French name on an English stamp, It's more about stamping people who made strange jokes.
That way, with an "Humorist Approved" on the cheek or on the forearm you can't deny you made that weird joke; And it's fun to see it.

I'll try to get you a picture of someone being stamped!

Shades of Grey (author)jovolomo2011-01-04

You could stamp all the jokes on here too! Easiest way is with your profile pic, but that changes every other comment too. Another way is to insert a picture into your reply (.gif, .bit, .jepg, etc)! Either way they would have your "stamp" of approval. Just a thought. Love the idea and the 'ible.

jovolomo (author)Shades of Grey2011-01-04

Thanks for appreciating!

I may not change my profile picture for the reason you said ( and because I love my little light bulb )
but yes, I would definitely insert a stamp picture in future replies, if the joke deserves it.

And from what I've seen all jokes that are already here deserve it, and should be considered as approved!!!

Thanks for the idea!!

puddingpet (author)2010-11-29

I am not sure if it would effect the silicone, but you could rub a light layer of petroleum jelly on the plaster mould I think it would come off easier. I did that in class to make a positive of a seashell in elementary like that.

jovolomo (author)puddingpet2010-11-30

It might be! I'll see if I can try this this WE with Leugim's tests.

puddingpet (author)jovolomo2010-11-30

Just make sure if you have something like a sharp corner to poke it with a cue tip or something like that or else it might end up a little rounded

Uncle Kudzu (author)2010-11-30

Pretty nifty! I've directly hand-carved rubber erasers to make stamps, but they were pretty crude and blocky.. More detail could be gotten using the plaster even when carving by hand.

Thanks for sharing!

jovolomo (author)Uncle Kudzu2010-11-30

You're Welcome!

jovolomo (author)2010-11-30

is this allowed? making advertisement in Instructables comments Zone?

klixtopher (author)2010-11-28

Another easy way to find centre on your circle (if you used a compass to draw it) is this:
Draw circle.
Leaving compass set at radius place point anywhere on circumference, mark a line crossing circumference, place point on new line at circumference intersection, repeat around entire circle.
Connect lines across from each other, they should intersect in the middle.
One tool, no measuring.

jovolomo (author)klixtopher2010-11-29


//Your explanation is unclear to me. May I ask you to put a drawing to illustrate?//

OK, sorry, I just understood while writing the end of this reply.

However, is the radius you use ("Leaving compass set at radius") the radius used to draw the circle?
In that case, if you have drawn the circle, wouldn't it be easier to refer to the small hole left by the compass pin?

klixtopher (author)jovolomo2010-11-29

Yes, the radius is the one used to draw the circle, and yeah I guess that you could use the hole, I use this method for so many other things I guess I just blanked XP However you could measure the diameter divide by two and set your compass to that.

klixtopher (author)2010-11-28

NIce work.
Here are a couple of my favorites:

What's brown and sticky?
A stick.

Haiku's can be fun.
But sometimes they don't make sense.

jovolomo (author)klixtopher2010-11-29


Like the Haiku's.
I just made it to sb sitting next to me, he didn't catch it.

However I didn't catch the stick one.
Does "a stick" have an other signification I wouldn't know?

fly_boy_bc (author)jovolomo2010-11-29

Really? You don't get it?

Q. What is brown and "sticky"?

A. A stick!

"sticky"="Stick like".

jovolomo (author)fly_boy_bc2010-11-29

Ah OK, of course!!!

It's so obvious, I didn't thought about it!!

timdomul (author)2010-11-28

what kind of acid do you use to remove plaster?

jovolomo (author)timdomul2010-11-29

For my first stamp I used hydrochloric acid, because I missed vinegar.

But any acid should do the job, from WHITE VINEGAR ( good and safe one) to sulfuric acid (Dangerous one).

timdomul (author)jovolomo2010-11-29

oooo ok thanks a lot! ;)

jovolomo (author)timdomul2010-11-29

You're welcome.

9ale7 (author)2010-11-28

like the way you made the engrave tool.

jovolomo (author)9ale72010-11-29

Poor student's way !!

shudson_us (author)2010-11-28

My favorite two jokes that few if any of my friends get --

How many SURREALISTS does it take to change a light bulb?

How many PERFORMANCE ARTISTS does it take to change a light bulb?
Five, one to scream at the lightbulb while wearing a Viking helmet, one to sing "Baa,baa, black sheep", and four to fill a bathtub with brightly colored power tools.

the physicist heisenberg was driving down the highway when pulled over by the police. the cop asked him "do you know how fast you were going?" heisenberg replied "no, but i know where i am".

jovolomo (author)bottom-dragger2010-11-29


jovolomo (author)shudson_us2010-11-28


I especially like the first one!!

the other one is quite true too!

I think you totally got the concept! and if you were close enough to me I would stamp your forearm!!

pdub77 (author)jovolomo2010-11-28

I've never had to explain a joke to so many people:

Two cows are in a field. One turns to the other and says, 'have you heard about that mad cow disease that is going around?' The other cow says, 'what do I care? I'm a helicopter.'


jovolomo (author)pdub772010-11-28

I Love it !!

HollyHarken (author)2010-11-28

You don't give any instructions on how to ink the stamp pad or what kind of ink to use. Please clarify.

jovolomo (author)HollyHarken2010-11-28


The red colour you see on my stamp pad is diluted food colouring.
I simply diluted it in a small amount of water (too keep maximum colour density) and then poured it onto the stamp pad.

I used food colouring because it can be removed from clothes ( please verify if yours does )

Otherwise if you want to stamp paper or other material, I would buy stamp ink. This kind of ink is usually not water based, and is more appropriate for paper.

Try on Ebay, you may find some bottle of ink for few money.


DavidRobertson (author)2010-11-26

Actually curing is not just the evaporation of the sealant's solvents, it is polymerisation or cross-linking of polymer chains.

jovolomo (author)DavidRobertson2010-11-27

Thank you for the precision.

Actually it's true, but I wanted to keep it simple in the way that, when you use it, it's seems to dry, and you don't see small chains clinging one to an other.

But you're absolutely right!

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