Seeking advice: Cost-effective custom stamps

I’m working on a project (maybe I’ll share it at Weekend of Wonder!) that would involve creating a series of reusable stamps based on black-and-white line art, either cast out of rubber or some other suitable ink-transfer medium. I’m looking to make about 36 individual stamps, each around 2" x 2" in size.

While I’ve found plenty of vendors who can make custom rubber stamps the cost would be prohibitive for this project since they would run around $25+ for each design and I don’t have a grand to drop for materials. But I’m a pretty crafty person and I’m willing to think outside the box for this project, so I was thinking there must be another approach that could work. Anyone have relevant experience or ideas?


  • I am experienced with 2d design software
  • The stamps would have to retain a fair amount of detail (so the “carving up a rubber eraser by hand” approach wouldn’t be practical)
  • 2" x 2" or larger size
  • I could do some of the final assembly by hand if that was more cost-effective (for example, if a number of designs were etched on a single large rubber sheet that I could cut apart and mount to wood backing)
  • I’ve had some printmaking experience but I’d like stamps that can be used by hand rather than requiring a letterpress or other equipment

Photopolymer plates? Hitting up someone with a 3D printer? Some chemical process that hadn’t occurred to me? Interested in input or ideas.

Having gotten an amazing stamp in 24 hours based off an image that I can only imagine was scanned in, how do they do turnarounds so fast on stamps? Is there tech that can be copied?

As far as I can tell the one-off custom stamps are generally created by putting a sheet of rubber in a laser engraving machine, which I sadly do not own.

I would definitely look into services where you order a big sheet of something cut per a file that you provide, then slice it into the individual 2"x2" stamps that you need.

Also, I’ve never tried it for ink stamps, but you may want to consider brush-on and spray on rubber coatings, which are used in applications like truck bed coatings or making grips for tool handles.

Some crazy ideas:

  1. Use a vinyl cutting service to cut a sheet of vinyl with the negative image of the design you need (to be used for masking). Apply the vinyl to a surface, then spray or brush on the coating. (I guess it would have to be a really thin layer) Remove vinyl. Maybe sand the rubber surface lightly so that it’s a little less slick and accepts the ink.

  2. Use a vinyl cutting service to make several copies of the design so that you can stack the vinyl thick enough to work as a stamp surface. Or do those cutter places cut with different materials?

  3. Use a Custom Printed Circuit board company to route out the design from a blank PCB backing. (This can be cheaper than you’d think) Then spray the rubberized coating on that. The problem is that it would require you to draw your designs with PCB design software. Which is free, but still…

So far the best option I’ve found is to group all the designs onto a couple of 8"x10" rubber stamp sheets and then cut them into 2x2 squares and mount them onto blocks myself. Still not cheap but a lot less then having them made individually.

I actually have access to a vinyl cutter but it can’t do the kind of detail I’m looking for.

Maybe find a local Hackerspace?



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