Introduction: Stamp Pad Ink With Lube

About: My name is Leonie. I'm an Australian print artist now living in Cork, Ireland. I have a YouTube channel, Spines and Splines, where I post art tutorials, and when I'm not making visual art I enjoy writing music.

Make your own stamp pad ink at home using water based lubricant, watercolour or gouache paint and kitchen sponge.


Water based personal lubricant

Watercolour or gouache paint (use the kind from a tube, not a pan)


Kitchen sponge (the cellulose kind is biodegradable, so choose this over plastic sponges)


Recycled plastic container with compartments and lid

Plastic, glass or ceramic tile for mixing

Palette knife or similar for mixing

Step 1: Preparing the Container

Find a suitable container to hold your stamp pads. It should have a lid to prevent evaporation, and if you want to keep several colours in the same tray, you can choose something with small compartments. I recycled a container from some picture framing supplies I'd bought.

I cut two cellulose kitchen cloth sponges to size with scissors and layered two pieces of sponge in each compartment.

Step 2: Ingredients for the Ink

Stamp pad ink is generally water based. It needs to stay wet on the sponge, but needs to dry fairly quickly when it's stamped onto a piece of paper.

This type of ink dries by being absorbed into the paper. It needs to have a consistency that doesn't allow a lot of spread or bleed as it's absorbed. The main ingredient that helps with this process is glycerin, also known as glycerine or glycerol. Glycerin is what's known as a surfactant, which is something that helps control the surface tension of a liquid. With stamp pad ink, the glycerin helps keep the ink from drying out on the sponge, and stops it from spreading too much as it's absorbed into the paper.

If you have pure glycerin, you can use this as the surfactant in your ink recipe. Most people don't have straight up glycerin sitting around in their homes, but many adults do have ...lube.

My water based personal lubricant is made from glycerin, water, vegetable gum and preservative, and is a perfect inexpensive, easily accessible household substitute for glycerin in the ink.

For each colour of ink, squeeze out a small amount of lubricant and a much smaller amount of watercolour or gouache paint onto a flat, non-porous surface like a piece of plastic, a sheet of glass or a glazed ceramic tile. You can experiment with paint quantities to get stronger or more transparent inks.

Step 3: Mixing the Ink

Mix your lubricant and ink together on your palette using a flexible palette knife or similar tool. When the colour is mixed in well, add water a little bit at a time until the mixture is less sticky and has a good flow.

Step 4: Transferring the Ink to the Sponges

Because the kitchen sponge is absorbent, you can use it to soak up the ink from your palette using a wiping motion. I added ink to both layers of sponge so that there would be even distribution of ink. Place the sponges back on top of one another in the tray.

Step 5: Adding Colours and Testing Your Pad

That's it! That's how you make stamp pad ink using lube!

Repeat the process using as many colours as you want, and test your ink on a few different types of paper.

Keep your stamp pad closed when you're not using it to help prevent the colours drying out, and have fun stamping!

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