Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Rubber Stamp Production 101

Do you ever watch those shows on TV about how things are made like "Made in the USA" with the Cheers guy, Norm? I LOVE those shows. Even the Food Channel has food factory shows on how Twinkies and other things are made.  I love them not just for their entertainment but also becasue of the fact that these products are MADE IN THE USA!! Not too many businesses can claim that anymore!!

Well, here in my little small town USA, I am proud to say that my rubber stamps are MADE IN THE USA!!.  Don't get me wrong..nothing at all against Canadians, who I love, but everything is being made in China now!!

I always wondered how rubber stamps were made and less than 3 months ago I found out and want to share with you the process.  It was pretty difficult finding this information but Thank God for Google!! lol!!

First thing you need to do is make your image and verses and put it together in a program.  You email the file to a photoengraver business.  The photoengraver business than makes a magnesium plate out of your images. It is very technical, lots of talk about acid etching.....blah, blah, blah. Who cares, as long as I get my plate! They mail it to me and than I'm ready to roll! Here is a close up of the magnesium board:

Next, I use a special material called a matrix board to make the mold for my stamps.  I put the plate on top the matrix board and bake it in the vulcanizer.


After the board comes out it looks like this:


Here's full size view:


Now it time to make a stamp! I cut a piece of rubber the size of my plate , layer it on the matrix mold and throw the whole thing in the vulcanizer. When its all melted it comes out like this:
It is very HOT!! (yes, I have burned my fingers a few times..)

After it cools it can either be mounted to a smart cushion that sticks to acrylic, or a 2 sided adhesive cushion that sticks to a wood block.

Here is a roll of 2 sided cushion:

Now here comes the hard part.  I had decided, since I thought it would be great customer service and a better product presentation, to cut out all the stamps!! Well, after killing my hand one day cutting and cutting and cutting..I asked my friend,Google, to help me out.  He found me a great You Tube video on cutting out your stamps with a scroll saw. Light bulb moment for me!!

So now I consider myself the Queen of the Scroll Saw....or the Scroll Saw Diva. (those are the only 2 nicknames I came up with) lol! Even Rick is amazed how quickly I turn that rubber and get the stamps cut out.


After creating, molding, melting and cutting comes packaging! The backing from the cushions are peeled off and the stamps are put into the containers.  I chose the clam shell packaging for the wood mounted sets because I have a lot of Stampin'  Up sets and I love this box! (that took forever finding these boxes!!)


And there you have....a stamp set!! I is a lot of labor but I like it and I love the emails and wonderful comments I have been receiving from people!

I hope you enjoyed your lesson for today! And yes, if you looked close enough you saw some new things  coming soon!!


Denise said...

Okay.... you are my hero!!! Thank you so much for showing how this is done. It is one of those questions I have had for a long time. I too love to know how something is made and this answered my questions. Thanks! God Bless.

Tricia said...

OH! I see an eagle. Hope it's Isaiah 40:31. It's my husband's favorite!

Angel said...

YEAH! I loved this post! And I can't wait for that next set!!!

Angie ~ Duckwaddlequack said...

Wow! Thanks for the insight into making stamps!! Go you and that scroll saw! But do be careful - I hope it has finger guards or something!

dr.fine said...

Oh Kelley, thanks for showing us how stamp sets are made...very interesting! I can't believe how much work that is for you, but thank you for going through all of it. They are beautiful!

Tricia said...

Wow! I've always wondered about this, and now I know! :) That's a wicked sounding machine though, the *vulcanizer*! lol Sounds like something from star trek!!! :)

Tejal said...

I love this bit of wonderful of you to share it..I have been pondering and pondering about this..
Great stamps!
Tejal (India)

Tejal said...

I love this bit of wonderful of you to share it..I have been pondering and pondering about this..
Great stamps!
Tejal (India)