Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Warehouse Wednesday: The Birth of a Frantic Stamper Cling Stamp

The Birth of a Frantic Stamper Cling Stamp

Have you ever wondered how a rubber stamp is actually made? For smaller manufacturers like Frantic Stamper it is a multi-step process, requiring a lot of hands-on work. Today we'd love to share the steps involved in getting a high-quality, deeply etched, closely trimmed, cling-mounted rubber stamp into your hands.

The process starts with the creation of the artwork. The artwork is produced with black ink on a white background. A high quality photo-copier can be used to resize the artwork if desired (this is how artwork is prepared for stamps in multiple sizes.) Once the artwork is ready, it is carefully cut out and laid onto a sheet with other artwork, making sure there is enough space to cut between images. A clean copy of this layout is then made and sent to an engraver.

The engraver uses a chemical etching process to produce a magnesium etching of the layout of images. This magnesium etching is raised wherever there was black on the layout, and indented where there is white (a positive etching). Some rubber manufacturers use a different process (called Rigelon) to produce a photopolymer on metal plate, but that produces less depth in finished stamp, which can mean less detail in the image. Frantic Stamper uses only the best in deeply etched magnesium. (Note... this is not a Frantic Stamper plate, but it does represent the kind of plate we use.)

Next the magnesium plate is pressed into a special kind of board called matrix, and is "cooked" under pressure in a vulcanizer. The raised areas of the magnesium plate press into the matrix board, which hardens and gets very smooth once heated. This matrix becomes the actual mold for the rubber stamp as it is indented wherever the black lines on the original images were, and raised where the white was (a negative image).

Here is a photo of a vulcanizer, and of a matrix (the matrix created with the above magnesium plate.)


The above is a one-time process (although occasionally matrix will require replacement.) Now we can finally start pressing rubber.

Raw rubber sheets (actually, it is a combination of rubber and sulfur that is sold in rolls or sheets, ready to be vulcanized with heat and pressure) are placed on the matrix mold, and then they are placed into the vulcanizer at a set pressure and temperature to cure the rubber. Once they are cured (about 8 minutes per sheet), they are set aside to cool a little, and then are removed from the matrix mold. The rubber sheets are ready to be sold as unmounted sheets, or, they can be mounted onto a foam sheet and trimmed into individual stamps.

Frantic Stamper uses a cling foam mounting sheet. It has a very sticky adhesive on one side, so it can adhere to the rubber, and a plastic cling layer on the other. We mount the rubber sheet onto the foam mount and then trim each individual image by hand with scissors.

Once the rubber is mounted and trimmed we are ready to ship it to you. When you get your stamp you can use it on an acrylic block right away and stamp it with your favorite ink. We think you will be pleased with the quality of our Frantic Stamper stamps, their deep etch and the close hand-trimming. Check out our collection at Frantic


  1. Cool! Thanks for sharĂ­ng!

  2. I always wondered how stamps were pressed!