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What is a Rubber Stamp?

A rubber stamp is a hand-held device that uses a type of ink to leave behind an impression of a design or message on a surface. Rubber stamps originally get their name from the engraved rubber on the bottom of the stamp that reproduces your specific design or message. Today, there are many different forms of ink stamp devices such as:

An opened blue ink pad to the left with a wood rubber stamp being pressed to the right.

What does the saying "Rubber Stamp" mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, rubber stamp means to approve, endorse, or to mark with a rubber stamp.

A Short and Brief History of Stamping

People have been using a device to leave behind an impression for thousands of years. A few early stamping techniques include:

Wax Seals

While many of us have probably never used a wax seal, you might be familiar with the idea from various T.V shows and movies. Wax seals were used to not only seal correspondences but were stamped with a unique design, which today we call a logo, to identify who sent the letter. You can still purchase traditional wax seals today.

Woodblock Printing

The earliest form of woodblock printing was used in Asia. Woodblock printing is the process of carving out an impression into the wood and then using ink to impose the design onto the desired surface. Woodblock prints were used to print the depiction of stories through images and text. In Asia, they were commonly used to create books, scrolls, and art prints that were usually commissioned by someone of status.

Metal Stamping

The first use of metal stamping was to create coins. Metal stamps are engraved with an impression carved out of the metal itself. This creates are very hard surface to be able to leave an indented impression behind on hard surfaces such as metal. Additionally, many leatherworkers will use metal stamps to impose an impression on leather. Both rubber stamps and metal stamps can be used on leather. Rubber stamps require a permanent ink to leave behind an impression on leather, whereas metal stamps will impose an impression directly into the leather, however, specific tools are required to do this.

What Are Rubber Stamps Used For?

Today, rubber stamps are often used for a variety of purposes such as office administrative work, tools in the classroom, creative crafts, and DIY projects as well as an affordable alternative for branding their small businesses. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes and can be used on many materials. Other uses for rubber stamps inlcude:

  • Business branding on packaging and mailers
  • Lables, documents and paperwork
  • Snail mail and correspondences
  • Craft projects
  • Card making
  • Weddings
  • Kids Crafts
  • For teachers: Grading, feedback, homework
  • Book idenification for libraies and classrooms
  • Signing paperwork
  • Notaries
  • Bank Deposits



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hello phone case with red, yellow, and blue ink pads to the right.

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