I’ve ran across a problem recently with a new rubber stamp. I acquired some rubber stamps from a high quality rubber stamp manufacturer. It seemed to me that every time I used their new stamps, the ink didn’t stay on the rubber very well. But after a few uses, they were fine. So, I decided to research this a bit.
It turns out that there is a film coating on the rubber as a result of the manufacturing process. I’m not sure about all brands, but based on my experience, it’s probably there on all stamps. This includes clear stamps and rubber stamps.
Back when I started stamping (about 10 years ago), I learned that to condition new stamps all you had to do was use them and clean them a few times with [a specifc brand name] cleaner. So, I thought that this was a brand specific thing. Well, yes it’s true, using the stamp and cleaning it a few times will condition the stamp . . . any stamp & any stamp cleaner. Now I know why – it removes the film coating.
If you want to condition your stamps before you use them, there are a few ways you can do this. Remember, the goal here is to clean off that film coating that is left from the manufacturing process. It is more important to do on stamps that have a large solid surface area than on fine lines. Also, it seems that the same basic techniques can be used on rubber or clear stamps.
1. Use an eraser and rub off the “film.” Then clean with your preferred cleaner and dry.
2. Use a sanding block or nail file to sand off the film. Gently, just until the stamp surface is no longer “shiny.” On the clear stamps, the surface will look “cloudy.” Then clean with your preferred cleaner and dry.
3. Use this method only with rubber stamps . . . apply a solvent cleaner (like StazOn cleaner), leave it on for several minutes and then clean off with your preferred cleaner and dry.
Do you see a common theme here? Clean the stamp with a stamp cleaner! The only difference in any of the above methods is removing the film faster or more completely first if you want to get a perfect image on the first use.
While not my only resource for this article, this was particularly thorough as to the reasons why conditioning is important: