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Beginner's Guide to Acrylic Stamping: Tips and Techniques

Posted by on 5/23/2024

acrylic stamping - acrylic stamping

Acrylic stamping is a versatile and fun technique that can elevate your crafts to the next level. Whether you’re creating handmade cards, gifts, scrapbook pages, or decorative ornaments, acrylic stamping opens up a world of creative possibilities.

Here’s a quick breakdown to get you started:

  • Acrylic Blocks: These are thick, clear pieces of acrylic used as a platform for stamps. They come in various sizes and shapes, and some have grid lines to help you position your stamps accurately.
  • Photopolymer Stamps: These stamps, often referred to as clear stamps, are made from a pliable yet durable polymer. They adhere to the acrylic block without any adhesive, making them easy to position and reuse.
  • Stamping Techniques: Stamping involves inking your stamp, precisely positioning it on your paper or cardstock, and pressing down evenly to transfer the image. Mastering these simple steps can result in beautiful, professional-looking prints.

For a more in-depth look at acrylic stamping, including tips, techniques, and essential supplies, keep reading. If you prefer a visual guide, see our infographic below.

Visual Guide to Acrylic Stamping: Essential Supplies and Basic Techniques - acrylic stamping infographic step-infographic-4-steps

Essential Supplies for Acrylic Stamping

If you're new to acrylic stamping, getting the right supplies is crucial. Here's a quick rundown of what you'll need to get started:


Stamps are the heart of any stamping project. As a beginner, start with a few high-quality, versatile stamp sets. You don't need to splurge right away. Choose stamps that can be used across various projects like handmade cards, scrapbook pages, or DIY gifts.

Fun Fact: Over 4% of people in the U.S. have stamps for crafting in their tool kits!

Acrylic Block

An acrylic block is essential for using clear stamps. It's a thick, clear piece of acrylic that serves as a platform for your stamps. They come in different sizes and shapes, including squares, rectangles, and even circles. Some have grid lines to help with positioning.

Pro Tip: Keep a variety of sizes to accommodate different stamp designs.


Inks are another essential supply. Here are some common types:

  • Dye Ink: Quick-drying and great for detailed images.
  • Pigment Ink: Slow-drying, allowing for embossing and vibrant colors.
  • Mixed Media Ink: Versatile and works on multiple surfaces.
  • Embossing Ink: Sticky ink that holds embossing powder for heat embossing.

For a detailed guide on inks, check out this quick guide on inks for paper crafting.

Paper or Cardstock

High-quality paper or cardstock is your blank canvas. Ensure it's durable and suitable for your project. The right paper can make a huge difference in the final look of your stamped images.

Pro Tip: Test your stamps on scrap paper before using your final piece to avoid mistakes.

Optional Tools

As you become more experienced, you might want to add some optional tools to your stash:

  • Dies: For cutting out stamped images.
  • Stencils: For adding backgrounds or patterns.
  • Alcohol Markers: For coloring stamped images.
  • Watercolor Pans: For a more artistic touch.

Pro Tip: You don't need to buy everything at once. Start with the basics and add tools as you become more comfortable with stamping.

Having these essential supplies will set you up for success in your acrylic stamping journey. Keep experimenting and have fun with your new craft!

Acrylic stamping supplies - acrylic stamping

Next, let's dive into how to choose the right acrylic block for your projects.

How to Choose the Right Acrylic Block

Choosing the right acrylic block is crucial for successful stamping. Here are some key factors to consider:


Acrylic blocks come in various sizes. The size you need depends on the size of your stamps.

  • Small Blocks: Ideal for tiny stamps or intricate details.
  • Medium Blocks: Versatile and great for most standard stamps.
  • Large Blocks: Perfect for larger stamps or when you want to stamp multiple images at once.

Tip: It's a good idea to have a few different sizes to match your stamp collection.


Acrylic blocks aren't just rectangular. They come in different shapes to suit various stamping needs.

  • Rectangular Blocks: Most common and versatile.
  • Square Blocks: Great for even pressure distribution.
  • Round Blocks: Easier to grip and maneuver for certain designs.


Comfort is key when you're stamping for extended periods. Look for blocks with ergonomic grips or edges.

  • Smooth Edges: Can be slippery but are easy to clean.
  • Finger Grips: Provide better control and reduce hand fatigue.

Grid Lines

Grid lines are a game-changer for precision stamping. They help you align your stamps perfectly.

  • Etched Grid Lines: Permanent and won't wear off. Ideal for perfectionists.
  • Printed Grid Lines: May fade over time but are still useful for alignment.

Example: The Perfect Clear Stamping Blocks with etched grid lines are highly recommended for getting your stamps exactly where you want them.

Choosing the right acrylic block can make a big difference in your stamping experience. Up next, let's explore some effective stamping techniques and tips to get the best results.

Stamping Techniques and Tips

Learning acrylic stamping is a rewarding experience. Here are some essential techniques and tips to ensure you get the best results every time.


  1. Choose the Right Ink: Different projects require different inks. Dye inks, pigment inks, and embossing inks each have their own uses. Learn more about inks.
  1. Even Coverage: Lightly tap your ink pad on the stamp. Avoid pressing too hard to prevent over-inking.
  1. Test First: Always do a test stamp on scrap paper to ensure even coverage and the desired color.


  1. Use Grid Lines: If your acrylic block has grid lines, use them to align your stamp perfectly.
  1. Transparent Blocks: The clear nature of acrylic blocks helps you see exactly where you are stamping.

Tip: Practice on scrap paper to get comfortable with positioning before moving to your final project.


  1. Firm and Even Pressure: Apply firm, even pressure across the entire stamp. Avoid rocking the block, as this can cause smudging.
  1. Hold Steady: Press down and hold for a couple of seconds to ensure the ink transfers completely.
  1. Use a Stamping Mat: A soft surface like a stamping mat can help achieve a more even impression.


  1. Immediate Cleaning: Clean your stamps immediately after use to prevent ink from drying on them.
  1. Mild Soap and Water: Use mild soap and water for regular cleaning. Avoid harsh chemicals that can damage the stamps.
  1. Stamp Cleaners: Special stamp cleaners are available for tougher inks like pigment and embossing inks.

Pro Tip: Use a soft toothbrush to gently scrub intricate designs.

Seasoning Stamps

  1. New Stamps: New acrylic stamps can sometimes resist ink. Season them by rubbing gently with an eraser or stamping multiple times on scrap paper.
  1. Consistent Results: Seasoned stamps provide more consistent results and better ink adhesion.

By mastering these stamping techniques and tips, you'll be able to create beautiful, professional-looking projects with your acrylic stamps. Next, we'll dive into some common mistakes and how to avoid them.

Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Even with the best tools and techniques, beginners can still run into a few common pitfalls with acrylic stamping. Let's look at these mistakes and how to avoid them.


Problem: Some inks can stain your acrylic stamps, making them look dirty and affecting future stamping.

Solution: Clean your stamps immediately after use with a stamp shammy or mild soap and water. Avoid letting ink sit on the stamp for extended periods.

Tip: Use a clear stamp cleaner for stubborn stains.


Problem: Acrylic stamps can warp if not stored properly, which affects stamping accuracy.

Solution: Store your stamps flat in a cool, dry place. Avoid exposing them to direct sunlight or excessive heat.

Tip: Keep your stamps in their original packaging or a dedicated stamp storage system.


Problem: Pressing too hard on the acrylic block can cause the stamp to distort, leading to uneven or smudged images.

Solution: Apply even, gentle pressure when stamping. Let the acrylic block do the work for you.

Tip: Practice on scrap paper to get a feel for the right amount of pressure.

Ink Beading

Problem: Some inks bead up on new acrylic stamps, resulting in uneven coverage.

Solution: Season your stamps before first use by rubbing gently with an eraser or stamping multiple times on scrap paper.

Tip: Use high-quality inks designed for clear stamps to reduce beading.


Problem: Residue from manufacturing or previous inks can affect the performance of your stamps.

Solution: Clean new stamps thoroughly before use. Use a stamp cleaner or a stamp shammy to remove any leftover residue.

Tip: Regular cleaning and maintenance will keep your stamps in top condition.

By avoiding these common mistakes, you'll achieve cleaner, crisper images with your acrylic stamping projects. Now, let’s explore the differences between acrylic and photopolymer stamps.

Acrylic vs. Photopolymer Stamps

When diving into acrylic stamping, you'll come across two main types of clear stamps: acrylic and photopolymer. Understanding the differences between these can help you make informed choices for your projects.


Photopolymer Stamps: These are made from a high-quality material that's more durable over time. They can withstand frequent use and maintain their shape and detail.

Acrylic Stamps: While more affordable, acrylic stamps are generally less durable. They may wear out faster, especially with heavy use.


Acrylic Stamps: One of the biggest advantages of acrylic stamps is their cost. They're typically less expensive, making them a great option for beginners or those on a budget.

Photopolymer Stamps: These tend to be pricier due to their higher quality and durability. However, many crafters find the investment worthwhile for the longevity and performance they offer.

Ink Reaction

Photopolymer Stamps: They handle various inks well, including solvent-based inks. They don’t react negatively and provide crisp, clean impressions.

Acrylic Stamps: These can be a bit finicky with certain inks. For example, they may not react well with StazOn inks over extended periods. The plastic material can break down, affecting the stamp’s performance.

Usage with StazOn Inks

Photopolymer Stamps: Perfect for use with StazOn inks. You can use these inks without worrying about damaging the stamp, even over long periods.

Acrylic Stamps: It's best to avoid using StazOn inks for extended periods. If you must use them, clean the ink off promptly to minimize potential damage. Save StazOn inks for your photopolymer or rubber stamps to ensure longevity.

In summary, while both types of stamps have their pros and cons, knowing these details can help you choose the right one for your needs. Up next, let's address some frequently asked questions about acrylic stamping.

Frequently Asked Questions about Acrylic Stamping

How do you stamp with acrylic?

Stamping with acrylic is straightforward and fun. Here's a simple step-by-step guide:

  1. Peel and Clean: Remove your clear stamp from the acetate sheet it came on. Clean it with a stamp shammy to remove any leftover chemicals from manufacturing.
  1. Dry and Mount: Dry the stamp thoroughly and press it onto your acrylic block. Ensure it's firmly attached.
  1. Ink the Stamp: Choose your ink and gently tap the ink pad onto the stamp. Make sure the stamp is evenly covered with ink.
  1. Position and Press: Align the acrylic block over your paper or cardstock. Press down firmly and evenly to transfer the ink.
  1. Lift and Reveal: Carefully lift the block to reveal your stamped image. Voilà! Perfect placement every time.

What can I use instead of an acrylic block for stamping?

If you don't have an acrylic block, don't worry. You have a few alternatives:

  • CD Cases: The clear plastic of a CD case can serve as a makeshift acrylic block.
  • Glass from Photo Frames: Be careful with the edges, but the glass from a photo frame works in a pinch.
  • Clear Plastic Packaging: Some sturdy, clear plastic packaging can also be used as a temporary block.

However, for the best results and ease of use, investing in a proper acrylic block, like those with etched grid lines, is highly recommended.

What is the difference between acrylic and photopolymer stamps?

Understanding the difference between acrylic and photopolymer stamps helps you make the best choice for your projects:

  • Material Quality: Photopolymer stamps are made from a higher-quality material, making them more durable and longer-lasting. Acrylic stamps, while cheaper, are less durable and can deteriorate over time.
  • Ink Compatibility: Photopolymer stamps handle a variety of inks well, including StazOn inks. Acrylic stamps, on the other hand, don't react well to StazOn inks if used for extended periods. It's best to clean them immediately after use to prevent damage.
  • Cost: Acrylic stamps are generally less expensive, making them a good choice for beginners or those on a budget. Photopolymer stamps, while pricier, offer better quality and longevity.
  • Precision: Both types of stamps work well with acrylic blocks, but photopolymer stamps often provide crisper and more detailed impressions.

By understanding these differences, you can select the right type of stamp for your needs and ensure your stamping projects turn out beautifully.

Next, let's dive into some common mistakes and how to avoid them.


We hope this beginner's guide to acrylic stamping has been helpful and inspiring. Whether you're an experienced crafter or just starting out, understanding the nuances of acrylic blocks and stamps can elevate your projects to the next level.

At Custom Creative Plastics, we are dedicated to providing high-quality acrylic products that enhance your crafting experience. From acrylic risers to display bases, our extensive selection ensures you have the perfect tools for showcasing your creativity.

If you have any questions or need further assistance, don't hesitate to reach out. We're here to help you make the most out of your stamping endeavors. Happy crafting!

For more tips and product information, visit our blog.

acrylic stamping - acrylic stamping

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