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How To Print
Block-Printing Method

For small stamps I just tamp the stamp onto a conventional ink pad. You don't really need to mount even the .25-inch-thick material, but you can always glue smaller stamps to a piece of wood or acrylic if you feel you need greater control.

I use a traditional block printing technique when I print my larger hand-carved stamps. This technique also works for commercially produced large, detailed stamps, such as those by Magenta. It provides greater coverage and control than the regular "stamp-pad-on-top" process.


  • Glass plate (a piece of glass from an 8 x 10 picture frame is ideal)

  • Old telephone book (this provides padding and also protects your work surface)

  • Soft rubber brayer (it is good to have several widths on hand, depending on the size of your stamp) (photo below)

  • Block printing ink

  • Carved stamp

  • Paper

  • Old wooden spoon, or a baren (photo below)
    Note: a baren is a useful tool if you plan to use this technique a lot. It applies pressure evenly and is easy to use.

The Process

  1. On your work surface place the opened telephone book next to the glass plate.

  2. Lay your carved stamp face up on the telephone book.

  3. Squeeze or place a thin line of ink horizontally across the top of the glass plate, about the width of the brayer roller.

  4. Dip the brayer roller into the line of ink and begin rolling upwards on the glass plate in even strokes, making certain not to touch the link of ink. Roll in one direction only.

  5. Roll until the layer of ink on the glass is thin and even and you hear a "snapping" sound.

  6. Roll the ink onto the stamp, making sure to completely cover the image with a thin layer of ink. Lay the brayer aside.

  7. Carefully lay the paper on top of the inked stamp and gently press down with your hand. This will "stick" the paper to the stamp (the ink is sticky) and will prevent it from shifting.

  8. Use the back of the wooden spoon, or the baren, to provide even pressure to the back of the paper, making sure to cover the entire image area. Work from the center of the paper to the edges in a sunburst pattern. You can carefully lift a corner of the paper to see the quality of the print.

  9. When you are done, carefully lift the paper from the stamp from one corner.

  10. Allow the print to dry, or apply embossing powder and heat emboss.

  11. Use up the remaining ink on the glass plate by making more prints of the same or other stamps. Re-ink the brayer roller as needed.

  12. Make sure to sign your work with your signature and the date, and if you are printing an edition (many prints at one time), number each print as "xx/yy," where "xx" is the number of the individual print, and "yy" is the total number of prints in that edition.

I guarantee that if you try this a few times you will quickly master the technique and will love it!