The Ultimate Guide: How to Refill Stamp Ink?

How to Refill Stamp Ink featured image

Inks, rubber stamps, and stamp pads or cartridges go together. Like peanut butter and jelly, they just belong together.

While rubber stamps and stamp pads are reusable, the ink can run out. And when it does, this perfect team will no longer be able to do its job.

What should you do? Refill the ink, of course!

So, how to refill a stamp with ink?

Let’s find out!

How to Refill Stamp Ink?

As you may already know, there are different types of stamps. Their mechanisms are different and so is the way they are refilled.

In this section, I’ll guide you on how to refill a self-inking stamp, a pre-inked stamp, and a stamp pad.

To make this work, make sure that you are using the same ink color as the current one when refilling. Otherwise, you might have to replace the whole ink pad or cartridge.

You also need to buy ink bottles. You can find these stamping ink bottles at any office supply store. They come in different types, colors, and sizes, so make sure to choose the right one for your stamp.

To know more about inks, check out our article on the different types of stamping ink

How to Re-Ink a Stamp Pad?

When it comes to wood-handle stamps, the stamp and ink pad are separate. When the ink runs out, all you need to do is refill the ink of stamp pads.

Rubber stamp ink pads are very straightforward to refill. These ink pads for stamping usually come in a metal or plastic container. This container encases the pad which is made with either felt or foam material. The pad holds the ink by absorbing it.

How to Re-Ink a Stamp Pad

So, how do you refill stamp pad ink?

All you need to do is add a few drops of ink on top of the pad and wait until it absorbs the ink. Make sure to spread out the ink drops evenly, so the entire pad is covered.

You can use the stamp and pad when the ink is settled into the pad.

How to Refill Self-Ink Rubber Stamps?

Can you refill self-inking stamps? While the mechanism is different from wood-handle ones, you can definitely refill ink for self-inking stamps.

Self-inking stamps come with an integrated ink pad, meaning the ink pad is a part of the stamp body. It was designed in this way to allow you to stamp automatically.

So, how do you refill a self-inking stamp?

Follow these steps:

  1. Put your stamp in a locked position.
  2. Slide out the ink pad case on the side. It should contain an ink pad.
  3. Grab your ink bottle and add a few drops to the ink pad.
  4. Wait for the pad to absorb the ink drops.
  5. When the ink has settled, you can slide the ink pad case into the self-inking stamp.
  6. Unlock your stamp and you’re ready to get stamping!

How to Refill Pre-Inked Stamps?

Pre-inked stamps also have a different mechanism. Instead of stamp pads, it uses an ink cartridge. This way, the rubber die is always inked, which is why it produces such a crisp impression — way better than any other stamp.

So, how do you refill ink for pre-inked stamps?

Here is a step-by-step guide:

  1. Check if your pre-inked stamp has a sliding or fixed ink cartridge. If it is sliding, take off the bottom cap and slide it out. If it is fixed, just remove the cap in the handle.
  2. Place a few drops of ink into the cartridge. You don’t need to wait for the ink to get absorbed since it does not use an ink pad.
  3. Slide the cartridge and put back the cap. Or just put back the cap if you have a fixed one. Wait for several hours for the ink to settle.

How to Add Ink to Stamp?

Now that you’ve finished refilling, how to put ink in the stamper?

If you have a wood-mounted rubber stamp, you can add ink to the stamp by pressing your stamp on the stamp pad.

But if you are using a self-inking or pre-inked stamp, you don’t need to ink your stamps.

Why? Because it happens automatically. Since these stamps have a built-in ink pad or cartridge, they are reinked automatically after you create an impression.

Where to Buy Stamp Pads?

I mentioned above that you need to replace the ink pad if you want to use a different color. So, if you are wondering: “Where can I buy an ink pad replacement?”

You can buy them at any stationery store or on e-commerce platforms online.

You need to remember that you need to replace them. Because if you don’t, the new and old ink colors will mix unless that is what you want the impression to look like.

How Do You Change a Stamp Ink Cartridge?

Wood-handle Stamp

When you get a replacement stamp pad for wood-handle stamps, all you need to do is use the new stamp pad. The new stamp pad comes with its casing. Just make sure that your wood-handle stamp is clean before using the new ink pad.

Self-inking Stamp

To change the ink pad for self-inking stamps, follow the steps below:

  1. Press the stamp enough to remove the ink pad from the stamp case and lock your stamp by pushing the buttons on the side.
  2. Slide the old ink pad out of the stamp.
  3. Remove the cap of your new ink pad.
  4. Slide in the new ink pad and unlock the stamp.

Pre-inked Stamps

As far as I know, you cannot replace the ink cartridge of a pre-inked stamp. You can only refill it with the same ink color as the old ink.

If you want to change the color or replace the ink cartridge, you may need to get a new pre-inked stamp altogether. This is because the cartridge is part of the stamp casing.

But if you have an ink cartridge that can slide out, it may be possible to replace it. Contact the stamp manufacturer if they offer replacement cartridges.

How Do You Make an Ink Stamp Work Again?

If your stamp is not producing impressions or not working the same anymore, one of the reasons is that the ink may have run out and you need to refill it.

How Do You Revive a Dead Ink Pad?

But if you just refilled recently, the ink may have dried out. What should you do in this case?

Spray some water over the ink pad. Give it a minute to soak and it should work again. You can spray more water if you think it isn’t wet enough.

Can You Stamp Without Using Ink Pads?

What happens if you lose your ink pads? Can you stamp without ink pads?

Yes, there are other alternatives, but they won’t be as efficient as ink pads.

Here are some alternatives:

  • Markers
  • Acrylic Paint
  • Watercolors

With these alternatives, you need a tool to transfer the ink or paint into the stamp like a brush or a paint roller. For the markers, you can ink the stamp directly.

You can also make makeshift or DIY stamp pads using dish sponges.

How to Refill Stamp Ink (FAQs)

Is It Cheaper to Refill Ink?

Yes, it is cheaper to refill ink than to buy a new stamp pad or rubber stamp. All you need to do is buy an ink bottle and you can refill your ink pads and cartridges until the ink on the bottle runs out.

Does Stamp Ink Dry Out?

Stamp inks are made of liquids like water and colored substances. If the liquid used evaporates, the ink will dry out. This is why it’s important to store your stamp pads and rubber stamps in a cool, dry place.

How Long Do Ink Pads Last?

If taken care of properly, ink pads can last years or even decades. The ink pads will last longer if you store them in a cool, dry place.

How Do You Clean Ink Stamp Pads?

If your stamp pads get dirty, how do you clean them?

Here are some tips:

  • If you have glitters, fibers, or other debris on your ink pad, you can use tape to remove them gently.

  • If you accidentally used a different ink color on a pad, you can use a wet wipe to remove the wrong ink from the pad gently.

If you also need help with cleaning your rubber stamp, check out our article on how to clean rubber stamps.


There you have it, how to refill stamp inks.

It is cheaper to refill your stamp pads than to buy a new pad or rubber stamp. So, if you want to save money, make sure that you have a refillable ink pad.

It’s not as hard as you might think, so go ahead and try it out! Let us know how it goes!

Behind the Scenes: How Embossing Stamps Are Made?

The Ultimate Guide: How to Refill Stamp Ink?

A Comprehensive Guide: What is a Rubber Stamp?

A Comprehensive Guide: What is a Company Stamp?

The Comprehensive Guide: What is a Notary Stamp?

Stamp Buying Guide: Where to Buy Notary Stamps?

Rubber Stamps We Offer: