Significance of Rubber Stamps:
Before you start your own rubber stamp business you should know what a Rubber Stamp is? Making Rubber Stamps is a craft which has been appreciated worldwide. Rubber Stamping has been used in offices for long, maybe a century ago.
In a simple form, Rubber Stamp is an image or pattern, carved on a rubber sheet, which is vulcanized and then mounted on a piece of wood, metal, glass or plastic with an acrylic handle. The impression is then coated with different types of ink to transfer it onto another object. The rubber sheet pattern is inked with the help of an ink pad or the rubber sheet is mounted in a device which is self inked and then it is embossed on the other object to transfer the impression.
Broadly speaking, Rubber Stamps Business can be divided into two categories depending on their use
- Office Rubber Stamps Business and
- Art Rubber Stamps Business
Rubber Stamps are gaining popularity day by day, especially for decorative (Art) Stamps, which are used for decorating the paper, making special greeting cards, children toys and many other things. Rubber Stamps can be used in many ways. These can be used on paper, Greeting Cards, Invitation Cards, Furniture, Clothes, Glassware, Interior decoration and different types of crockery. These may be in a single color or in segments of different colors to make the impression more beautiful, decorative, and attractive.
With the advancement in technology, rubber sheet has been replaced by other polymer materials. Many sets of images can be used with this material and therefore it is economical.
Making of stamps is rapidly becoming popular as a home business. You just need a small room in the corner or basement of your house to start your own rubber stamp business. The equipment required to start the business is a computer, a laser printer, a good quality Stamp Making Machine, internet connection and the Raw Material.
Different patterns of Rubber Stamps are readily available in stocks in Stationery stores, for example date stamps, approval stamps, cancellation stamps and various decorative stamps. However, if someone intends to make special customized impressions like logo of a company, he/she will have to get it made through a special order. Rubber Stamps can be made unique and wonderful by just following some simple processes. The size of the stamp varies with the design of the impression and the space requirement of the item on which impression is to be made.The size of the Rubber Stamp also plays a role in making the impression more attractive.
How To Make Rubber Stamps:
Rubber Stamps can be manufactured in a number of ways. We shall discuss those in the following paragraphs.
Traditional Rubber Stamps:
These are the stamps made by vulcanizing rubber in a press, made for the purpose. It is the cheapest method of making Rubber Stamps in bulk. It is a batch process. A mold is used for its production. A number of impressions can be joined together to make one mold. These impressions can be cut carefully to make separate stamps after the manufacturing process is over. The mold can be repeatedly used to make large quantities of the same stamps. Molds used in rubber stamp business, for custom made stamps, have one time utility and therefore the stamp becomes more expensive.
To start with, a master plate made of metal or polymer on which the artwork is raised is manufactured. Actually this master plate is expensive and if you do not have repeat orders of the same pattern, one time cost of the stamp will be much higher. The master plate is pressed into a matrix board (which work as a negative plate) containing raw rubber stamping gum. The master plate and the matrix board are put into a vulcanizing press which provides heat and pressure. The matrix adopts the shape of the master plate. The matrix is then cooled to make it hard. The total procedure takes about 10 minutes. The mold is then cut to make individual stamps which are fixed on mounts.
Rubber Stamps Engraved by Laser:
In this process the production is controlled by computer and customized stamps can be made easily. However, it needs high capital investment and the cost of maintenance and running the machine will be much higher than the traditional method.
The raw rubber used in the traditional stamps does not work here. We need an evenly distributed smooth layer of rubber to face the high temperature of the laser beam. A good quality rubber with suitable compression strength and ink transfer properties will only work here. Laser Speed, its wattage and the density of the rubber determines how deep the rubber will be engraved. The higher the wattage of the machine, the deeper it will engrave. The dust created due to cutting by the laser is regularly removed to have good quality stamps. Moreover, dust and residue on the mirrors, lenses and other exposed surfaces will create trouble for smooth processing. Therefore, regular maintenance of the machine is a must.
Rubber Stamps made of Liquid Polymer:
These stamps are made by use of precisely controlled Ultra Violet (UV) light. The image or text is printed by means of a laser printer on a transparent paper called Vellum. The negative of the artwork and the sachet containing the polymer is put in between two glass plates 2-3 mm apart. When the UV exposure is complete, just cut the sachet and wash it to remove the unexposed polymer. Then put it in the machine for 10 minutes for curing. The complete process takes about 30 minutes. These stamps do not contain any rubber but still these are called rubber stamps.
This process has a lower capital investment and produces almost clear, professional quality rubber stamps at a lower price. These stamps can be made without any specific skills.
These are the most commonly manufactured rubber stamps now-a-days. However, before starting your business of making the rubber stamps, the following points need attention:
- All photo polymers will not make rubber stamps. Best polymer is named as ‘Polymer in a bag’ .
- Polymers which solidify in ordinary light are not recommended. Those working under UV light are better.
- Structural backing of the stamps is required for sticking on the mount. Stamps with good structural backing can be mounted with the help of a clear silicone based product called InstaGrip.
The rubber images can be sold unmounted to reduce shipping and packaging charges. The client can mount the images in the manner he likes. However, since a number of images are produced on a single sheet to reduce handling, wastage, cost and time, you must trim the images and separate them for individual clients.
In case the stamps are to be mounted, you need to trim them around, preferably with a scroll saw, so that the images are cut clean. The images are then attached to the mount with the help of InstaGrip or some other adhesive. Then the stamp is indexed by labeling it i.e. you put an impression of the stamp with a permanent, waterproof ink on the mount, so that it can be identified.
Selection of the Stamp Making Machine:
There are a large variety of Stamp Making Machines on the market. The machine is basically your main investment in the business of rubber stamp making and therefore you have to be very careful in choosing the right machine.
The old technology machines could be cheap but are very cumbersome and a lot of time is consumed in molding, pressing and cooling. Some machines also use lead which is a toxic material and is not good for your health. Sometimes the replacement of parts of the machine becomes difficult due to non-availability.
Modern Technology has made the Stamp making business very simple. Now the Rubber Stamps can be made accurately and quickly by means computers. The modern machines have replaced rubber with cheaper polymer based materials. These machines are expensive but their production cost is low and these last longer. Modern machines can make any type of impression and image without any problem. Stamps can even be made from photographic images.
It is therefore, recommended that investment be made to acquire a good quality modern machine to make good quality stamps.
How To Start Your Rubber Stamp Making Business:
You can start your Rubber Stamping business by taking care of the following steps:
You need to make a business plan before you proceed to do start your own rubber stamp business. Specific requirements for a business plan would be:
- Resources for funding the business
- The investment required
- Market position
- Cost of the Rubber Stamps
- Sale Price
Your equipment and raw material should be of good quality. The quality of your product, would play a major role in advertising your business. Be careful in purchasing handles. Always purchase good quality handles.
There should not be any spelling mistakes in the text of your stamps. Spelling mistakes will create a bad name for your business.
Negotiate with the shippers for the minimum rates to deliver your products to your clients.
Marketing should be through the Internet, magazines and newspapers.
How To Promote your Business Online:
It is easy to start your stamp business with predesigned stamps. You have to research the market, decide the process you want to follow, establish some retail accounts and ship your products with your logo thereon for promotion. Your product must be unique and competitive.
In the mean time, you may create your own website or a blog to promote your business. Your website should be very attractive. Participate in school craft fairs and distribute your business cards with your name, logo and website URL, wherever you get a chance. You may also join some Rubber Stamp Manufacturing Forums. You must regularly post to your forum and introduce yourself as an expert in Rubber Stamps manufacturing.
Take your order online and ship the orders to your clients as per his instructions. Arrange online payments by the clients through Credit Cards.
It usually takes time to establish rubber stamp business but once you have some regular loyal customers you can easily make good profit out of it.