Different Rubber Stamp Inks and Their Uses

rubber stamp ink uses

For whatever you’re planning on stamping, it helps to know the basics about different rubber stamp inks and their uses. This ensures you’re using the right ink type for the job – be it paper or fabric you’re going to be stamping on. Below are some of our key considerations for selecting the right ink for your custom rubber stamp.

Dye-Based Rubber Stamp Inks

For most types of paper, dye-based rubber stamp inks are your best bet. It’s permanent, dries incredibly quickly, and a good all round ink. Dye based inks have a consistency that is similar to water. These inks are generally not waterproof, so you need to ensure you do not use on top of (ie layering) any water-based mediums, such as pens or paint, because the ink will run into that ink, as well. Because many of these dyes are free of acid, they tend to fade over time, especially when in sunlight, so consider what paper or fabric you’re going to be using beforehand.

Pigment Ink

Pigment ink is more thick and rich when compared to dye-based ink with a consistency that is more like mayonnaise, interestingly enough. The colours of pigment ink are vibrant, bright, and usually come with a pad that is more spongy in texture. Unlike dye-based, pigment ink dries on top of the paper instead of soaking it, and takes longer to dry when it comes to regular paper. These inks will not dry on glossy paper, so when using pigment ink on glossy paper, you’re going to need to heat-set it using an embossing gun.

Embossing Ink

These types of rubber stamp inks come in pads that are tinted or clear ink, and are used to stamp an image before using a gun to heat emboss. If you’d rather not use a gun for this type of ink, you can always use an embossing pen, which actually makes it easier to emboss certain details of a stamped image, such as the Christmas tree lights.


When it comes to being the ultimate in permanent ink, for custom rubber stamps the StazOn brand takes the cake. You can use it on paper, metal, glossy paper, leather, ceramic, glass, transparencies, and even on plastic. On a non-porous surface, it only takes 5 minutes to dry, is archival, and even acid-free.

Distress Inks

Distress inks are a lot different when it comes to other pads that are dye-based, considering they stay wet on the rubber stamp and whatever is being stamped longer, which gives you the ability to shadow and blend the image using water if you wish.
Distress ink is fantastic for those who want to play around with ink and water, as you can spritz the rubber stamp print with some water, move the paper or fabric around, and watch all of the colours spread.

Woodruff and Co Ink Pads

We tested dozens of ink options before deciding on the best dye based ink for our custom rubber stamps. The ink pad we offer uses a great quality acid-free quick-drying archival ink. The pad has a fine felt to assist with even application of ink across the stamp. After drying, the ink used is smear resistant but not waterproof. It may bleed on highly porous surfaces such as rough cardboard or wood, but dries matte and flat on paper.

Photo credit: Arnolds Auzins


  • Bec McIntyre

    Hi Josephine, StazOn is the ink you’re looking for! It’s permanent once dry, and waterproof. It can be used on coated surfaces too. Just be careful using this ink with polymer stamps (our traditional stamps are made using a photopolymer process) as the ink can degrade the polymer.

  • JOsephine Jakobi

    Hello, I’m looking for a stamp pad ink that is permanent and weather proof, for stamping on a variety of surfaces outdoors. Can you suggest something that will do the job? Thanks. JJ

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