Are Clear Stamps Better Than Rubber Stamps?

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Curious about clear stamps? Wondering whether clear stamps are better than rubber stamps? You’ve come to the right place!

Chances are you have heard about them or seen your favorite YouTuber or other people using them. Clear stamps have become increasingly popular among stamp users due to the advantages they offer over traditional rubber stamps.

But is that really the case? Are clear stamps better than rubber stamps?

In this article, we’ll take a look at the differences between clear and rubber stamps, as well as answer some of the most common questions that people have about clear and rubber stamps.

So, let’s get started!

Clear Stamps vs. Rubber Stamps: The Basics

What are Rubber Stamps?

What are Rubber Stamps

Rubber stamps are the usual stamps you see in the office supply store.  Rubber is the traditional material for stamps. It was the best stamp material for decades because it is durable and provides clear impressions.

There are several types of rubber stamps: self-inking, pre-inked, and wood handle stamps

Since rubbers are opaque, you can’t easily control the position of the design when stamping. You might need the aid of a stamp positioner like a small T-square or 90-degree ruler and a plastic sheet. Or you can trust your gut and stamp away.  

What are Clear Stamps?

If rubber stamps are made of rubber, what are clear stamps made of? The stamp material is clear or transparent. 

You might have heard of acrylic, polymer, photopolymer, or clear rubber stamps. All these names refer to the same type of stamp —clear stamps. This means that you can see through the stamp to what’s underneath.

You might also come across silicone stamps. These are also transparent but less stiff and don’t hold the ink as well as photopolymer stamps. However, silicone stamps are cheaper, so it is a good alternative.

Clear vs. Rubber Stamps: Key Differences

What is the difference between clear and rubber stamps? Let’s break it down.

1) Quality of Impression

The manufacturing process of rubber stamps usually involves pressing them into a mold or using a laser engraving tool. For clear stamps, manufacturing involves pouring resin into a mold with a negative and curing it under a UV lamp.

Due to the manufacturing process, rubber stamps produce a more detailed and sharper design than clear stamps. You won’t quickly notice it for bold and simple designs. But as you get into more intricate designs, you will see the difference in quality.

Here is a side-by-side comparison of a clear stamp and a rubber stamp impression from A Stamp Above.

Clear vs. Rubber Stamps Quality of Impression

Rubber stamps provide a sharper and cleaner imprint. You can clearly see the lines of the design. In contrast, clear stamps give a softer impression. Some people prefer the impression rubber stamps make, while others prefer the clear stamp impressions. 

The impression also depends on how you use the stamps. Rubber stamps make a sharper and clearer imprint when you apply more pressure. However, pressing too hard with clear stamps could result in a smudged image. It could take some time to get used to using both stamps.

2) Ease of Use

Clear Stamps

As I mentioned, clear stamps are transparent. Clear stamps make it easier to position the stamp design exactly where you want it. You can see what’s underneath the stamp design and use that as a guide to stamp in the right place.

To use a clear stamp, you must remove the design from the acetate sheet it came with. Stick the back of the clear stamp into an acrylic block. Ink it and stamp it on the paper.

In contrast, rubber is opaque; you can’t see through it. If you want to stamp an image precisely in the right place, you need to use stamp positioner tools like a small T-square or 90-degree ruler and a clear plastic sheet.

So, how do you position your rubber stamps?

how do you position your rubber stamps

Follow these steps:

  • What you can do is put the transparent plastic sheet over the paper first and make sure that the stamp position you want is close to the edge of the plastic sheet.
  • Place your small T-square or 90-degree ruler on the edge of the plastic sheet.
  • Align the edge of the handle of your stamp on the T-square or 90-degree ruler to make an impression on the plastic sheet.
  • Since you place your plastic sheet over the paper, you’ll see how your stamp will be positioned. You can make adjustments during this step.
  • If you are okay with the design position, you can remove the plastic sheet and use the small T-square as a guide to stamp directly on the paper.

As you can see, using rubber stamps requires more steps and time than using clear stamps. However, there are two alternatives to make the process easier. These two alternatives only work with wood-mounted stamps.

Alternative Method 1: Removing the Rubber from the Wood Block

The first alternative is to change the wood mount of the rubber stamp to acrylic. For this method, you’ll need mounting cushions or adhesive strips and acrylic blocks; you can buy these at the craft store.

Follow these steps:

  • Remove the rubber from the wood block. You should be able to peel it off easily. If not, you can microwave your stamp for 10 seconds max.
  • Rubber stamps usually have a cushion or foam between the wood and the rubber to make stamping easier. Ensure the cushion peels off with the rubber.
  • You can cut off some excess rubber, but ensure the design is not cut off.
  • Get your mounting cushions or adhesive strip. The cushion or adhesive usually has two sides; the first is sticky, while the other isn’t. Place the back of your rubber stamp on the sticky side.
  • Cut off the cushion or adhesive based on the shape or size of the rubber stamp.
  • Then, you can press the non-sticky side of the cushion or adhesive strip to the acrylic block.
  • You should be able to use it the same way you use clear stamps. The rubber stamp is still opaque, but the acrylic block is transparent, which can help with stamp positioning.

Alternative Method 2: Buying Cling Mount Rubber Stamps

The second alternative is to buy cling-mount rubber stamps or pre-cut rubber stamps without wood blocks. It’s similar to purchasing clear stamps. You just need to remove the rubber design from the sheet and place it on the acrylic block.

You might notice that rubbers don’t stick well with acrylic blocks. Usually, this kind of rubber stamp set comes with a plastic sheet that you can place at the back of the rubber stamp to help with the adhesion or add some ‘cling.’

3) Durability and Longevity

Rubber stamps tend to be more durable and last longer than clear stamps.

Clear stamps can harden and become gooey over time. Since clear stamps are soft, they can tear if you are not careful when removing them from the plastic sheet backing or acrylic block.

When you get clear stamps, use them immediately or remove them from the plastic sheet backing. If you don’t, the stamp might become sticky, and it will be harder to remove later, and it will be more likely to tear or degrade.

Both materials can degrade, but clear stamps are more prone to wear and tear than rubber stamps. However, with proper care and maintenance, both stamps can last for years.

4) Maintenance

Do clear stamps stain? Due to the transparent nature of clear stamps, a slight change in color or opacity will be very visible. 

Don’t throw your clear stamp away if this happens. A clear stamp staining is completely normal and is usually caused by the ink used in the stamp. You can’t ensure you can clean the ink off the stamp 100% of the time.

This happens for rubber stamps, too, but it’s not always visible because rubber is opaque. However, you must clean your clear stamps more often than rubber stamps.

For a comprehensive guide on stamp-cleaning methods, you can check out our article on how to clean rubber stamps. You’ll be guided on step-by-step cleaning instructions on how to clean different types of stamps, including clear stamps.

You also need to condition your stamps before you use them. You can condition your stamp using fine-grit sandpaper or a standard rubber eraser. 

5) Storage

Clear stamps are often sold in plastic sheet sets, which you can store in slim packaging. This makes clear stamps easy to store.

However, you’ll need to use acrylic blocks when using clear stamps. These acrylic blocks are bulky and may take up a lot of space. You can use these blocks on different sets of stamps, so they make up for the space they occupy.

It is also easier to misplace or lose clear stamps because they are transparent.

Rubber stamps often come with bulky wood blocks. One block corresponds to one rubber stamp, which may take up a lot of space in your storage.

However, you can buy cling-mount rubber stamps instead and use them on your acrylic blocks. Cling-mount rubber blocks are similar to clear stamps, which you can store in slim packaging and use one block for multiple rubber stamps.

The best storage conditions for clear and rubber stamps are in a cool and dry place, away from direct sunlight or extreme temperatures.

6) Cost

Clear stamps are more affordable than rubber stamps. However, you need to make an initial investment by buying a set of acrylic blocks. These acrylic blocks are also helpful if you use cling-mount rubber stamps.

Clear vs. Rubber Stamp: What is the Best Material for Stamps?

Now that we have covered the differences between rubber and clear stamps, let’s answer the million-dollar question: are clear stamps better than rubber stamps?

The answer is it depends. If you are looking for a clean and crisp impression and durability, rubber stamps are better. But if you are on a budget or want a stamp that’s easy to use, then clear stamps are the better option.

Ultimately, it all comes down to what you are looking for in a stamp. Of course, no one is stopping you from getting both stamps for your collection. If you can’t decide on one type of stamp, why not get both?

Clear Stamps: Common Questions and Concerns

Do Clear Stamps Dry Out?

Clear stamps could dry out and lose their stickiness. If this happens, you’ll notice that the clear stamp will not cling to the acrylic block and will slide right off. You can fix this by washing and drying the stamp.

What Are Clear Stamps Called?

Clear stamps are also known as acrylic, polymer, photopolymer, silicone, or clear rubber stamps. Any stamps that are clear or transparent in nature are called clear stamps. They just use different materials.

What Ink is Best for Clear Stamps?

Pigment, archival, and chalk ink work wonderfully with clear stamps. Dye ink does not work well with clear stamps because the ink tends to bead up.

Why Do Clear Stamps Yellow?

In most cases, clear stamps turn yellow over time. This happens because most clear stamps are made using light. Your clear stamps may stain from the ink, too. Since the stamps are clear, any discoloration is noticeable.

Are Clear Stamps Reusable?

Yes, clear stamps are reusable. Just make sure to clean or wipe the ink off your clear stamps before storing or using them again.

How Do Acrylic Stamps Work?

An acrylic stamp is a type of clear stamp. So, you can use it the same way you use your other clear stamps. Remove the acrylic stamp from the plastic sheet packaging, place it on an acrylic block, ink the stamp, and press on the paper.

How Long Do Photopolymer Stamps Last?

Photopolymer stamps can last for decades if you store and adequately take care of them. Sunlight, heat, and humidity can damage your stamps and cause them to deteriorate.

How Do You Clean Clear Rubber Stamps?

You can clean your clear stamps the same way you clean your rubber stamps. You can use the following cleaning methods:

  • Baby/hand wipes
  • Stamp cleaner
  • Stamp shammy
  • Microfiber cloth

How Do You Store Clear Rubber Stamps?

The most important thing you should remember when storing clear stamps is to keep them in a cool and dry place. You can store your clear stamps in the same packaging it came with. But there are other storage methods like stamp pockets, pull-out drawers, or DVD case-like containers.

Can I Make My Own Clear Stamps?

Yes. Whether it is a rubber or clear material, you can make your own stamp. However, the stamp-making process is different in the two materials. For clear stamps, you’ll need to invest in materials like photopolymer resin, negatives, a UV lamp, and more. 

What’s the Clear Plastic Sheet That Clear Stamps Are Stuck to Called?

When you buy a clear stamp, you’ll notice that they are stuck to a plastic sheet. These sheets are acetate sheets, and they are used to protect and store your stamps.

Rubber Stamps: Common Questions and Concerns

Which Ink is Used in Rubber Stamps?

Rubber stamps typically use dye ink. Dye ink is a fast-drying ink that has a water-like consistency. It is commonly used on regular paper surfaces and the ink used in most self-inking stamp pads.

Do People Still Use Rubber Stamps?

Rubber stamps are still in use today. You can use them for business purposes, such as signing documents or in mailings. You may also see them used by teachers or parents to mark books and papers. Arts and crafters also use rubber stamps to create colorful designs or decorative words.

How Long Do Rubber Stamps Last?

The lifespan of a rubber stamp depends on how often you use it and how well you take care of and store it. You can use rubber stamps repeatedly, but they will eventually wear out.

Can You Use Acrylic Paint on Rubber Stamps?

Apart from standard ink used to make an impression, you can also use acrylic paint on rubber stamps.

Do You Wash Rubber Stamps?

It is essential to clean the rubber part of the stamp after each use. You can clean it with soap and water or wipe it off using stamp shammies. You can also use a stamp-cleaning solution. But I don’t recommend soaking the cushion and handle of your stamp. Other parts of your stamp may get damaged, and the adhesive may loosen.

Can I Use Clear Stamp Ink Pads for Regular Rubber Stamps?

Stamp pads usually work on all stamps. However, some types of ink may not respond well to certain stamp materials.

Can I Make My Own Rubber Stamps?

Yes, you can make your own rubber stamps. You’ll need some rubber blocks and carving tools to make one. For a complete guide on the stamp-making process, check out our article on how to make your own stamps.

Are Clear Stamps Better Than Rubber Stamps (FAQs)

Are Rubber Stamps Better Than Acrylic?

Clear stamps like acrylic are better than rubber stamps in terms of cost and ease of use. Clear stamps are usually more affordable than rubber stamps. They are also easier to position and use because they are transparent. But rubber stamps are superior in some cases, too.

What is the Difference Between Rubber Stamps and Polymer Stamps?

The main difference between rubber and polymer stamps is the material. Rubber stamps use rubber, and polymer stamps use polymer. Polymer stamps are clear, so you can see what’s underneath, while rubber is opaque.

What’s the Difference Between Clear Stamps and Cling Stamps?

Clear stamps are made of clear material like photopolymers. They are transparent, allowing you to see through and position the stamp. Cling stamps are rubber stamps backed with a neutral-colored foam or adhesive film. Rubber doesn’t stick well to acrylic blocks, so you need to add some ‘cling’ sheet to make it stick.

Conclusion

In some cases, clear stamps are superior to rubber stamps.

But rubber stamps still hold their place in the world of stamping, and they’re still an excellent option for many users.

The bottom line is that you should use what works best for you.

And no one is stopping you from using both!

Have you ever used a clear stamp? What was your experience like? Please share it with us! You might be interested some of our other blogs below. Happy reading 🙂

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