Introduction: Make a Roller Stamp. a Big One!

About: I'm a teacher (physics, grades 7 to 10), Maker and product designer. (Check out full of experiments, projects for Maker Education and kits for Bibberbeests!). Besides that, I write childre…
Using a rolling pin, a used inner tube and some sticky tape, you can make a really cool roller stamp. By really cool I mean really big. You can make prints as wide as the largest roller pin you can find (43 cm wide is standard), and as tall as you wish. Have a look at the video...

If you can't play the video, don't be sad. Take a look at it here...

Easily print your own postersdesign 60 times in a jiffy. Design and make your own wallpaper. Or customize t-shirts, bags and curtains using textile paint. Or... or... or... If you make a roller stamp yourself, please post a pic of the results!

The trick is to use a rolling pin as a roller, and pieces of inner tube as stamp rubber. Roller pins are really cheap, and available in various sizes (Ikea sells them in different sizes, their biggest model is 43 cm wide and costs €2,49 / $3,06). Used inner tubes are for free at your local bike shop (at least in The Netherlands. Bike shops here don't have a use for worn inner tubes. Tsssssskkk.....).

The making of the roller stamp itself is as easy as it gets. So invest your talent and time in making a good design and cutting it out of an inner tube.

Step 1: Stuff You Need

I found two proper ways to stick inner tube rubber to a rolling pin: Using super glue and using double-sided sticky tape. Each way has it's advantage. See step 3 and 4.

For the roller stamp you need:
- Inner tube. Discarded by the bike shop, picked up by you. €0,- / $0,-
- Rolling pin. Choose your size. For starters, pick a small model. €2,50 / $3,10
- Super glue (I used a kind that stays flexible when it hardens) €4,- / $5,-
- Double sided sticky tape (used for carpeting). €2,50 / $3,10

Total costs per roller stamp: around €4,- / $5,-

Tools needed:
- Cutting pad
- Hobby knife
- Scissors (nice, sharp scissors! Not-so-nice, blunt scissors ruin your design)

To print, you will need anything fluid that leaves a mark. Ink pads are fine, of course. But also good is paint (gouache or acryl) or ink-from-a-bottle.

Step 2: Setup

The roller stamp I made consists of two "images", each cut out of a strip of inner tube. But you are the king/queen of your own flatland around the rolling pin, of course. 

To start with:
  • Cut a piece of inner tube that about fits around your rolling pin. Just for starters, to get a grip on the size of your design.
  • Cut the strip in two halves.
  • Clean the inner tube pieces. The inside is full of chalk powder. Get rid of it, using water and (a little) soap.

Step 3: Stick It to the Roller Pin Part I: Super Glue

I found two ways to stick the rubber parts on to the rolling pin. In this step and the next, both are explained.

Before we get to sticking, you need to cut your design out of the inner tube.
I used a soft pencil (6B) to draw on the inner tube rubber. It's hard to get a picture of, but the lines are easy to see in daylight. Using a white crayon might work as well.

Beware of the stamp-effect: Your design will be printed as a "mirror image". Keep this in mind when you choose which side to glue on the rolling pin!

Using super glue is pretty straightforward: Spread out the glue on the rubber parts, and make sure you reach all the edges.
When it is important that your design is not printed as a mirror image (when you use characters, for instance) add glue to the readable (positive) side of the letters!

Step 4: Stick It to the Roller Pin Part II: Sticky Tape

To fix your design made of inner tube onto the rolling pin, you can also use double-sided sticky tape (the kind that is used for fixing carpets on the floor).

To do this, it is wise to fix the strip of inner tube to the tape _before_ you start cutting. So...

- Take a piece of double sided sticky tape that is larger than the strip of inner tube rubber.
- Peel off one side of the sticky tape's protective paper
- Stick the inner tube firmly against the sticky tape
- Cut away the pieces of sticky tape around the inner tube. You have a kind of "inner tube sticker" now.

Now draw your design on the inner tube, as in the previous step.

Cutting out the parts from the rubber is a bit trickier than when you use super glue. The sticky tape tends to cling to the scissors. This is not a problem when your design consists of "easy to cut" shapes.

Sticking the rubber parts on the rolling pin is _very_ easy now. Just peel of the second protective layer from the sticky tape, and stick.

Step 5: About Layout, Ink, Paint and Roller Stamping

Please see the comments with the pictures in this step. I made a landscape using water-based ink, paint (goauche) and regular "ink for stamping". Every kind of ink or paint clings to the inner tube differently, and let itself transfer to the paper differently. So just start experimenting, and let you surprise by the results!

The fun part of course is making a pattern or drawing that can be "rolled out". For the sake of simplicity, I made a landscape, and drew a girl with a kite in it by hand.

Step 6: Stamp!

To use the roller stamp, you need ink. Of course you do.

Inking pads (for "regular stamping") are perfect, but you can use paint (gouache) or water soluble ink as well.

You can clean the roller stamp using a moist cloth. Both the super glue and the sticky tape should be water proof. However, because the rolling pin is made of wood, my advice is not to soak your self made rubber stamp.

Enjoy stamping! If you made a cool roller stamp, please post a picture of it!
Alchemy Goods Inner Tube Reuse Contest

First Prize in the
Alchemy Goods Inner Tube Reuse Contest