How to Troubleshoot Poor Quality Stamp Impressions

Rubber stamps are a low-cost and effective way to leave a crisp, clear impression on documents, envelopes, paper bags, and more. A high-quality rubber stamp can last for years, but dirty or worn-down rubber dyes — or not following stamping best practices — can cause faint, smudged, or illegible stamp impressions.

If you’re having trouble getting a perfect stamp impression, you’ll want to troubleshoot some common issues.

Are You Following Stamping Best Practices?

To get the perfect stamp impression you will want to make sure you are following stamping best practices. This includes:

  • Making sure that you are stamping on a hard, flat surface. If your surface is not level, or you’re not able to apply proper pressure, you may not be able to get a good impression.
  • If you are using a wood handle stamp with a separate ink pad, you will want to make sure your ink pad has the proper amount of ink on it. Too much or too little ink will cause the stamp impression to be illegible. You will also want to make sure to tap your stamp several times on your ink pad to pick up a good amount of ink.
  • Line up your stamp where you want to make your impression and press down evenly. If using a large wood handle stamp, you will want to use a slight rocking motion.

Learn best practices for a quality stamp impression here.

Are You Stamping on a Non-Porous Surface?

Non-porous surfaces include any surface where the ink will not absorb into the material, but remain on the surface, such as photos, CDs, glossy paper, plastic, metal, and cellophane. Stamping with a normal rubber stamp and ink likely won’t work on this type of surface.

For the best results, we recommend using a Quick Dry Stamp and an ink suitable for the application and dry time.

Learn more about stamping on non-porous surfaces here.

Are You Stamping on Fabric?

Similar to non-porous surfaces, fabric requires a specialty ink to work effectively. Using a fabric ink on a fine, tightly woven fabric will get you the best results. We also recommend using a larger pattern or design with few small details to get the best stamp impression.

Learn how to stamp fabric here.

Wood handle Stamps: Is Your Rubber Stamp Clean?

If you’re using a wood handle stamp, cleaning it properly will be one of the most important parts of ensuring it has a long life. Cleaning your stamps is also essential to getting that perfect stamp impression. Here are some tips for cleaning your rubber stamp:

  • Avoid submerging the stamp in liquid. This can warp the wood and weaken the adhesive between the rubber dye and wooden base.
  • You can use soap and water or a stamp cleaning solution and scrub gently to clean the stamp. Wipe dry with a cloth rag — stamps should be dry before storing.
  • Avoid scrubbing too hard or using products that contain alcohol. This can damage the stamp.
  • Store your stamps in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight to prevent drying and cracking.

Learn more about cleaning stamps here.

Self-Inking Stamps: Does Your Stamp Need Re-Inking?

If your self-inking stamp impressions are getting light, you can re-ink your stamps to prolong the life of your stamp and get better stamp impressions.

For example, when re-inking a Trodat self-inking stamp, push the stamp down slightly and pull the ink pad out. Add 10-20 drops of Trodat / Ideal Ink on the inked side of the pad, just enough to saturate the pad. Once the ink has absorbed into the pad, push the pad back in.

Other brands of self-inking stamps work similarly, but exact methods for removal and the number of ink drops vary from brand to brand and product to product. Make sure to always use the appropriate brand of ink for your stamp, since another brand’s formula may not mix correctly and damage your stamp.

Learn how to re-ink different brands of stamps, including Trodat, 2000 Plus, and MaxLight.

Self-Inking Stamps: Do You Need to Change Your Stamp Dye?

In some cases, you may want to change the stamp dye of your self-inking stamp to switch out the text or prolong its life. To change your stamp dye:

  • Hold the stamp upside down and push down so you can see the stamp dye.
  • Wipe the stamp dye to clean off the ink.
  • Peel off the stamp dye and place the new stamp dye on the stamp.

This will work for date stamps or regular self-inking stamps like Trodat or 2000 Plus. Watch the video on how to change the stamp dye here.

When is it time to replace your rubber stamp?

Stamps that get dirty, dusty, or damaged can lose their details and design. Rubber can also dry out and crack when stored incorrectly. Any of the following may damage your stamp beyond repair:

  • Submerging the stamp in liquid.
  • Scrubbing the stamp too hard or using products that contain alcohol when cleaning your stamp.
  • Using the wrong brand of ink when re-inking your self-inking stamp.
  • Storing the stamps in direct sunlight or extreme humidity or heat.
  • Storing stamps in wicker or metal baskets.

If you’ve damaged your stamp and the troubleshooting steps haven’t worked, it may be time to replace your rubber stamp. The StampMaker carries a large assortment of stamps for a variety of uses, including industry specific stamps, business stamps and home and hobby stamps. Many of these stamps ship the next business day and all of our products are backed by our guarantee.

examples of the StampMaker newsletter

Sign Up For Our Email List

Get stamp ideas and promotions, plus a line to the newest stamp and embosser products to save you time, money, and frustration.

We do not share your email address or flood your inbox!

Volume Discounts

Large volume orders quoted quickly and competitively! Discounts & Quotes

Approved U.S. Government Vendor

Government & Federal Orders

Shipping starts at $6.25
Please Wait... processing