rubber stamps

rubber stamps

Collecting and using rubber stamps to add a little color – or a personal touch – to posted items on bulletin boards, or to liven up your written correspondence to friends and relatives is a low tech and inexpensive hobby.  In this essay, we will share some amateur photos of some of our many rubber ink stamps acquired over the years.

You can use various color inks with the rubber stamps.  Black, blue and red ink pads (and bottles for re-inking the pads) are available at most office supply stores.  Green, orange, brown, etc. are available online or at hobby and crafts stores.  To avoid having to clean the rubber surface of the stamp before using a different color ink, one can buy multiple copies of the same stamp.  That way you can use one of the stamps with red ink, and another copy of the same stamp for blue ink, etc.  When getting the right amount of ink on the stamp from the pad, not too little nor too much, the final result on paper can look quite appealing.

We have had some fun over the years decorating our greeting cards, letters and even the outside of the mailing envelopes with stamped images of various designs using several different color inks.  We also enjoy writing in different color pens in the same letter and using highlighters of different colors to add color and a personal touch to the inside of a greeting card.

There are rubber stamp designs on a wide variety of topics.  Animals, both real and mythical, are popular.  Items from natural scenery (such as flowers) are also available. Railroad heralds, logos and images of trains (both locomotives and freight cars) are also a favorite among rail fans.  (We have several rubber stamps with a rail motif.)  Cultural and religious images or symbols are also popular.  There are stamps that make a statement with words (political, social, religious, etc.).  As well, there are several companies that will make a custom stamp for you.  Just bring in or email them your design and specifications and they can make it for you.  (Shop around online and you can find an affordable dealer to work with.)

This first image is of an ocean wave.  We use blue ink with it.  We show it here first as we had it turned upside down – by not being careful in our placement of the stamps  – in the shots of multiple stamps below.  Please forgive this error, as we do not have the time to take these pictures again.  We were able to cut and rotate this portion of one of the pictures through the “paint” software application in Windows.

ocean wave stamp

This next image is of 3 rubber stamps.  One gives you a sea-horse on paper.  The next is of a cactus (from the desert), and the third is the herald of the old Santa Fe railroad (use with blue ink as the actual company herald is blue).

3 stamps

Here is another view of some stamps.  There is a pheasant taking flight, a cup of tea (or coffee), and what looks to be a Chinese lunar new year firecracker assembly.

sundry stamps

Another photo with a southwest (US) motif.

southwest motif

In this shot, we see a work of pottery, a Native American chief with feathered head-dress, and a tropical fish.

stamps 2

Another view, this time closer in.  (I could not decide which one was best.)


Here we offer an Asian motif with large decorative lantern, yin and yang (the complementarity of opposites), and a bamboo shoot on the right.  As you can see, the ocean wave stamp is upside down.

sundry stamps 2

In this shot, we throw a lot at you.  Stamps not in previous pics include the railroad crossing signal, the Nativity scene, Pegasus, and the dinosaur at bottom.

sundry stamps 4

One more “group” photo.  A little sharper definition in this shot.

several stamps

Now, we offer 3 photos of stamps depicting the Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus.  As we indicated in the text above, religious stamps can be ordered online – and not just Christian ones.


There is some history to this painting from a church in Poland (next stamp, below).  You can research it if you like on the Internet.  I believe it is referred to as “The Black Madonna” as after centuries of candle smoke in the church the painting has become noticeably darkened. The marks on Mary’s face are from attacks by vandals in the Middle Ages and keep reappearing even after repairs are made to the painting.  (We use black ink with this stamp.)

Our Lady

Our Lady of Knock refers to a Marian apparition in 1879 in Knock, Ireland. As Mary is often depicted in religious paintings as wearing blue colored robes, we use a light blue ink with this large stamp.

Our Lady of Knock

Now, to a couple of saints in the Catholic pantheon of canonized (officially recognized) saints.  St. Amelia was wooed by a young Charles (later to be known as Charlemagne) in eighth century France.  She shunned his advances and chose instead a religious life.  She appears to be holding or carrying a book which may indicate a study of Scripture.  Literacy was very uncommon in the early middle ages, and books were rare (outside of monasteries and churches) as this was centuries before the printing press was invented.  We like this stamp and use it often with a medium brown ink.

St Amelia

St. Philomena is a favorite among many Catholics as her aid and assistance to those who ask for her intercession with their prayers has resulted in many claimed miraculous cures.  Never underestimate the power of prayer.

St. Philomena was an early Christian martyr during the time of the pagan Roman persecutions of the early Christians.  I seem to recall reading that the popular belief is that she, as a teenager, was drowned in a river with an anchor tied around her neck by her murderers.

We use a medium dark green ink with this beautiful stamp.

St Philomena

Happy Easter to all!  For those Christian readers, if you do not regularly do so, consider attending church services on Sunday.


    1. Allison,

      We found these (several years ago now) online at a company in Wisconsin that sells these kind of stamps. Do an internet search using the appropriate search terms, and you will likely find the company’s website.

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