Cardmaking 101 – Types of Stamps

Last week I started a new Cardmaking 101 Series. If you haven’t checked out that post yet you can go see what I recommend for a Basic Supply Kit for Cardmaking. This week I will be talking about the types of stamps, sticking to wood mount, cling, and clear. You can watch the video below to learn more!


For all of my stamping today I will be using Stampin’ Up stamps. Yes, I realize there are so many more great companies out there, but I wanted a fair comparison between the types of stamps and Stampin’ Up carries all the types of stamps I am talking about today, and they’re good quality stamps. So without further ado here’s a little more about each type of stamp.

Wood Mount Stamps

Wood mount stamps have most definitely been around the longest, and what I started with when I started stamping and cardmaking 8 years ago. These stamps are made from deeply etched rubber (red rubber the majority of the time) and are mounted with foam onto a wooden block. They always stamp beautifully and because they’re made from rubber , which is pretty sturdy, they can achieve such fine detail with their designs.

A few pros and cons of wood mount stamps:


  • They’re made from red rubber, which I said above, means they always stamp beautifully and can achieve very fine details.
  • Wood mount stamps come with wooden mounts, so they are ready to use and be stamped right when you get them. There are no extra mounts or tools needed to get them to work.
  • Wood Mount stamps typically will last longer than other types of stamps if you take care of them. Keep them out of direct sunlight and clean them after each use (just use a baby or cloth dampened with water). You don’t want to soak the wood or foam with water, because it will end up warping the wood and destroying the adhesive on the foam.


  • Because you are paying for the wood that comes with the stamp, they are more expensive than other types of stamps.
  • Often wood mount stamps do not come in sets, you purchase each stamp individually. The only company, that I know of, that does sell larger sets of wood mount stamps is Stampin’ Up, and they are pricey.
  • Finally, because each stamp is mounted on a wooden block, they are bulky and take up ALOT of space. This is a major issue for me, because I work in a small space.

Cling Mount Stamps

Cling mount stamps are rubber stamps that have a foam backing attached to them. That foam backing is not sticky, but rather has a slick, clingy surface that allows it to attach to an acrylic block. Because they are made from rubber you get a gorgeous image and can hold up to very fine details in images. You do need acrylic blocks to use stamps, as they do not come with the wood mount.

A few pros and cons for cling mount stamps:


  • They’re made from rubber, so you do get that degree of detail that you just can’t achieve with other materials. Cling mount stamps also stamp beautifully as well.
  • Because these stamps come without the wood mount, they are quite a bit less bulky, which means they take up less storage space and are a bit easier to manage and handle.
  • Cling mount stamps also have a cheaper price point because you’re not paying for the wood mount.


  • You do need acrylic mounting blocks to use these stamps, which is an extra purchase. However, you can reuse those acrylic blocks over and over again. They last a lifetime.
  • The cling on the back of these stamps can be temperamental. At time they just don’t want to attach themselves to an arylic block. The majority of the time this is due to either a dirty acrylic block or the cling on the back of the stamp is dirty, but it can be frustrating.
  • I’ve noticed that there just aren’t quite as many options out there for cling mount stamps. This could be just my experience, with the companies I buy from, but it’s what I’ve noticed when shopping around.

One type of stamp that more often than not does come in a cling mount form is background stamps. Most come in a 6″ x 6″ format so they are quite large. You can watch the video above to see the best way to stamp these.

Cling Mount Background Stamps

Clear Mount Stamps

Clear stamps are just what they sound like, a clear stamp that you can see through. When buying clear stamps I HIGHLY recommend checking the packing and making sure you are buying clear stamps that are photopolymer stamps. If you’re not sure a good indication that you’re buying high quality stamps is if they’re made in the USA. Other materials are used, primarily acrylic, to make clear stamps as well, but these do not stamp near as well and will leave any beginner stamper frustrated. Clear stamps are a bit newer to the market, but quickly making there way to prominence. Just like cling stamps, you do need acrylic blocks in order to use these stamps. One con you will not see in my post is that they stain, and that is because it is not a con. **If your clear stamps stain, that is a good thing!!! That means they are high quality photopolymer.**

A few pros and cons for clear stamps:


  • Because clear stamps are so compact and thin they are very easy to store. They normally come in a set on a backing sheet and can be stored in the plastic pocket they come in.
  • Clear stamps have a cheaper price point than the other two types of stamps. The average set is roughly 4″ x 6″ and costs $15 US.
  • The majority of clear stamps come in a coordinating set, which can be very nice. You can mix and match stamps between sets as well.
  • Clear stamps have a quality that none of the other stamps do. Because they are clear, you can see through them as you are stamping them. This allows for easy placement, restamping an image if needed (the majority of the time, with me, it’s needed), and many techniques (ie. stamp layering, spotlight stamping, etc. etc . etc.). A picture below shows just how easily you can see through the stamp to line up your images.

Clear Mount See Through


  • Because the material is a bit more “squishy” and not as sturdy as rubber, you lose a bit of the finer details with these stamps. You can also mistakenly press these stamps too hard and you end up with thicker lines than intended.
  • With clear stamps you do need to purchase acrylic blocks in order to have a mount. Again, this is a one time purchase, you can reuse the blocks over and over again, but it is an added expense none the less.
  • Clear stamps can be a bit more “high maintenance”. They need to be stored out of direct sunlight, you cannot use certain cleaners with them (it’s best to just stick with baby wipes or a damp cloth.), and just like with cling the “sticky” side can be temperamental. If you do lose the stick, these stamps can be thrown into a bowl of warm (mild) soapy water and laid out to dry. This will allow them to have that “sticky” affect again.
  • One last con I did not add is that your good quality photopolymer stamps stink. Literally. I’m a bit sensitive to smells, with my migraines, and I know that smell means they’re high quality and that’s a good thing, but they stink. LOL, just thought I’d prepare you.

Below is a photo of acrylic blocks. These are needed for cling and clear stamps. They are a one time purchase and can be reused time and time again. Acrylic blocks come in MANY sizes and shapes. Some can have grid lines, wavy edges for an easier grip, and they can have a variety of thicknesses as well. The blocks can be easily spot cleaned between uses with a baby wipe and can be more thoroughly cleaned with an alcohol wipe, in the top rack of your dishwasher, or with warm soapy water. (Do these at your own risk. Some people warn of crazing when using alcohol products on your acrylic blocks. It hasn’t happened to mine though.)

Acrylic Blocks

Here’s  look at how each stamp performs. You can see they all have their advantages and disadvantages, but each can stamp beautifully.

Stamped Comparison

I wanted to share these next few sets of pictures to show the difference between bulk. The first two picture are the profiles of the stamps mounted.

Front View ComparisonSide View Comparison

Here are the profiles of the three different types of stamps unmounted. I think these are really eye opening on just how much space wood mount stamps take up.

Unmounted ComparisonUnmounted Comparison 2

So now that I’ve covered all the different types of stamps that you can purchase and a few of the pros and cons of each, I want to give you my recommendation for purchasing your first stamp sets. For the most part, the stamp sets you purchase will be influence highly by your style of cardmaking. You may have a more vintage flair, or maybe you create things that clean and simple. Either way, and with every style in between, that will help you determine which stamp sets to purchase. Also, you may want to step back and see what type of card you send out the most. Do you find yourself sending a lot of birthday cards, hello, thinking of you, or maybe you just do Christmas cards, these types of questions will also help you determine which sets you’ll want to purchase. But I have listed below, what I believe, is a good starting point for all stampers.

Recommended Starting Sets

  • An alphabet/number set will allow you to personally customize any card and also help you build obscure sentiments that you may not have.
  • A sentiment set is most definitely a set you want to purchase first. There are alot of “fun” sentiment sets out there, but I would recommend starting with a standard happy birthday, thank you, hello, etc. set. I would also highly recommend a standard font that will go with any type or age group card.
  • I would also highly recommend a shape set. Whether you choose a set that has all the shapes or you just want a line or circle etc. set I would definitely suggest purchasing one. These sets allow you to build backgrounds, then you can just stamp on a sentiment to complete you card.
  • Finally, I would suggest you purchase your first set in your style. Once you get started you should have a pretty good idea what card designs and style you tend to lean towards and design. You may also find you like to color your images, so you’ll want a set you can color. Or maybe you find yourself loving to build backgrounds and you’ll want another shape set. Either way, find what works for you and what you love the most and purchase a set that just makes you happy!

I hope you have learned a bit about all the different types of stamps and I’ve made the purchasing process a bit easier for you! If you have any questions or any certain videos you want to see in the Cardmaking 101 Series, you can leave them below!!

There is no supply list today, I would just recommend starting your search at an online stamp store! Thanks so much for stopping by today! Happy Crafting!!

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