Unmounting Wood Rubber Stamps Tutorial

I have been trying to make my craft supplies fit in a bit less space, but still be well organized. So, I decided it was time to do the somewhat daunting task of unmounting most of my wood backed rubber stamps. There are a few stamps that I did not unmount that I want to keep to put out – some are beautiful pieces of art and others are sentimental. But now, instead of having a bunch of shelves of stamps, I have one shoebox of mounted stamps and the rest are in a stack of CD cases.

I started googling…and I found several sets of instructions and a half dozen different ways of doing it. There were some things I found consistent in the instructions, so I picked a set that seemed similar to what several people had done. The first problem I ran into was that the instructions said to buy “vinyl”, not specifically “cling vinyl”. So, my first pass at this resulted in stamps that would not cling to my glass block. I was smart enough though to experiment with a couple of cheaper stamps that I wouldn’t cry if they died in the experiment. However, no stamps were killed and all were able to be saved.

I posted the question about them not clinging to the OWH Facebook page, and Sandy was kind enough to give me the clue that I needed “cling vinyl”. I went searching around the internet and the best deal I found was on ebay searching “cling vinyl sheet”. Many of the stamp companies that were selling them on their own sites were significantly more expensive than what I found on ebay.

You can get a bit fancier beyond what I did. One lady took and stamped all of her stamps on tissue paper, and then adhered that under the vinyl so she could see the image on the back of the stamp. I also took on some of mine and wrote the company they came from – I did this directly on the vinyl at the end with an “industrial super permanent ink” Sharpie pen – a regular Sharpie will just rub off.

Supplies Needed:

  • Sharp Scissors
  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Aileen’s Tack Over and Over
  • Exacto Knife
  • Sponge Brush
  • Paper Towels
  • Self Adhesive Foam Sheet(s) – that is adhesive on both sides
  • Cling Vinyl Sheet(s)
  • Standard CD Case(s)

    The adhesive and foam brush I used.

1. Unmount wood from the stamp by first microwaving the stamps (stamp side up) for about 10 seconds. I put about 6 at a time in the microwave. Pull them out and use your hands to pry the stamp from wooden base (don’t do this with a fresh manicure). Whether or not the foam comes with it is not important. But what is important is that you get it off cleanly so you have a fairly smooth surface on the back of the stamp. If I were to try to adhere vinyl to the stamp below, that big chunk of foam missing in the middle would make it hard to get the vinyl to stick and then to get the vinyl to stick to the glass block. If you have any that come out like this, use your exacto knife to gently work the rest of the foam off. If it is a really thin layer of foam sometimes it will just come off by rubbing it with your finger.

Here's what you don't want! Since it did not come off cleanly, I used an exacto knife to get all of this foam off.

2. As you unmount the stamps separate them by the ones that have foam backing and the ones that do not.

3. Trim any excess rubber away being careful not to cut the image. This will help you fit more stamps on a vinyl sheet as well as make it easier for you to visualize the edges of the image when you are stamping with it.

4a. Stamps that still have the foam:

  • Pour some of the Tack Over and Over into a small container you can throw out. I used a paper cupcake liner for this. Then using the sponge brush apply this to the back of the stamp.
  • Be sure to get an even coat and that it does not run down the sides of the stamp.
  • Your finger tips will get coated in glue while holding the stamp in place. Use the wood handle on the sponge to hold the stamp down while you get your finger off of it.
  • Let this glue dry.
  • Once dry, stick your stamp to the side of the vinyl sheet that does not cling. Stick them all on the vinyl close together, just leaving enough room to cut them out.

    Stamps ready for glue.

Stamps stuck on vinyl, ready to be cut out and trimmed down.

4b. Stamps that are just rubber, no foam attached:

  • Place the back of the stamp onto the self adhesive foam sheet. Stick them all on the foam sheet close together, leaving just enough room to cut them out.
  • Expose the adhesive on the other side of the sheet and stick this to the side of the vinyl sheet that does not cling.

    Stamps that came off without their foam and stuck on a self adhesive sheet of foam.

5. Trim the stamps away from the sheets. While this sounds simple, this is the most tedious and time consuming step. I did mine while watching TV. You need to use good sharp scissors for this step. I used my precision tip on some of the tight corners and small curves around the stamps. When you cut the ones that were bare rubber that you put on your self adhesive foam, your scissors will get adhesive on them. No worries, just clean them with some rubbing alcohol when you are done.

Here's the final product. This now sticks to a glass block and takes up a fraction of the storage space.

6. Group them however you prefer (ie by designer, by theme) – I prefer by theme – and put them into standard CD cases. You can get fancier here and create labels for the spine of your CD case and/or stamp your images onto a piece of paper to put in the CD case. It is important to get “standard” not “slim” CD cases. You need the thicker cases to hold the stamps. After cleaning out what I could find around the house, I found the best deal for these on Amazon. I was able to order the ones without the CD trays in them, which was great. The ones I found around the house, I popped out the actual CD tray and threw those in the recycling bin.

Now almost all of my stamps, the ones that I bought that cling as well as the ones I converted, are now all stored in CD cases.

Now that your stamps take up less space, you can fill that space with more craft supplies!

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