10 Best Stamping Ideas for Card Making (With Video Tutorials!)

12 minute read

Are you looking for some fun and fresh stamping ideas for card making? We have something for everyone – from simple, stamped backgrounds to more elaborate designs. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced card maker, this post will help you add a bit of extra pizzazz to your handmade creations. Take your stamping skills up a notch with the 10 different stamping techniques here!

Layered stamping technique on a handmade card

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This quick guide to stamping ideas and techniques includes the following:

  1. Introduction
  2. What is a stamp?
    1. How do you do stamping?
    2. What inks to use for stamping?
    3. Best paper for stamping
  3. Stamping Tips and Techniques
    1. Stamp Masking
    2. Layered Stamping
    3. Kiss Stamping
    4. Two-Tone or Rock and Roll Stamping
    5. Spotlight Stamping
    6. Ghost Stamping
    7. Watercolor Stamping
    8. Tone-on-Tone Stamping
    9. Second Generation Stamping
    10. Emboss Resist Stamping
  4. Conclusion


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What is a stamp?

A stamp is a tool with an etched design that is used with an ink pad. It is often made out of rubber, acrylic, silicone, or wood. The stamp’s design is transferred onto a surface with the help of pigment or dye from the ink pad.

When it comes to paper crafting, clear acrylic stamps are often the go-to for most stampers. While rubber and wooden stamps are still beloved by seasoned crafters, photopolymer stamps have been total game-changers. With clear stamps, it is easier to see where you’re stamping, making it perfect for various methods of stamping like layered stamping. In addition, photopolymer is higher in quality compared to acrylic, therefore providing a clearer image with clean and neat lines. Its stickiness also helps the ink stick well to the design, producing a crisp stamped image.

Clear photopolymer stamp set from Altenew

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Choosing the best type of stamp for your paper crafts can be surprisingly overwhelming, especially for beginners. However, there has been a great demand for the most beautiful, unique, and versatile stamp designs over the past years, and crafting companies did a great job catering to this need. With the plethora of stamp patterns, designs, sizes, and styles come different stamping techniques that turn simple crafts into masterpieces.

How to do layered stamping

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How do you do stamping?

Stamping is done by adding ink to a clear stamp or rubber stamp and pressing it onto a surface (usually paper or cardstock) until the stamp’s design or pattern is transferred onto the surface. Here are a few basic stamping supplies you’ll need to get started:

  • Clear stamps or rubber stamps
  • Acrylic block, wooden block, or stamping tool like MISTI
  • Cardstock paper
  • Inks
  • Eraser
  • Stamp cleaner (optional)
  • Wet wipes or stamp shammy 

Here's a quick read if you're curious about the different types of stamps!

What inks to use for stamping?

Dye inks and pigment inks are two of the best inks for stamping. Each type of ink will render a different result, depending on the stamping and card making techniques used.

Pigment ink is generally made from a combination of water, pigment, resin, and other additives. It is a fade-resistant and water-resistant ink that is opaque and vibrant, making it great for heat embossing, watercoloring, and other mixed media techniques.

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On the other hand, dye ink is a fast-drying, vibrant ink that is translucent and fade-resistant. Some stampers firmly believe that this is the best ink for different methods of stamping; others might disagree. Dye ink pairs perfectly with clear stamps and rubber stamps. It creates a smooth and crisp stamped impression every single time.     

The most common difference between the two inks is dye ink absorbs into the paper, while pigment ink sits on top of the paper.

Stamping mat and card stamping supplies from Altenew

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Best paper for stamping

Cardstock is universally preferred as the best paper for stamping. This thicker, sturdier, and heavier type of paper is better than an average copy paper or printer paper, especially for paper crafting. Since it is more durable, it can hold various mediums well, such as inks and watercolor, and won’t tear easily when used for a wide range of paper crafting and card making techniques. It comes in various sizes, colors, and weights.

4 handmade cards made with one stamp and die set

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Stamping Tips and Techniques

Are you a seasoned stamper who’s stuck in a rut and desperately needs more stamping ideas for card making? Perhaps you’re a newbie to the world of stamping and simply want to learn a few basic stamping techniques. Get your stamping blocks out! From basic to not-so-basic, we’re listing down 10 different stamping techniques to help turn your projects from zero to 100!

Easy stamping idea for card making

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  1. Stamp Masking Technique

Stamp masking is such a simple card stamping idea, yet the result it creates is nothing short of fabulous! This basic technique is excellent for overlapping images. It gives your design a sense of flow and dimension. The original way of masking involves tedious fussy-cutting of each stamp image on post-it notes, which could take too long depending on how many masks you need. However, thanks to technology and crafting companies’ ingenuity, handy tools like masking paper, coordinating dies, and mask stencils have been invented.

PRO TIP! Tired of fussy-cutting your masks? Try clear embossing your base image and then stamping the overlap image onto it once it’s set. The embossing will resist the ink and give you that beautiful overlapped look. As an extra precaution, you may press a piece of scrap paper onto the stamped images to pick up the excess ink.
  1. Layered Stamping Technique

This is hands down one of the best stamping and card making techniques invented. It’s like stamping 2.0! Layered stamping adds extra oomph to any paper crafting project, whether it’s a handmade card, scrapbook page, art journal, or DIY crafts. The beauty of this basic stamping technique is that you can either use just one or two layers or all of the layers, and it will give you different but equally stunning results each time. Here are a few tips on how to do layered stamping!

Simple anniversary card with layered stamping technique

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  • To help line up the layers easily, stamp the outline image with black ink.
  • Stamp the first/outer layer with the lightest shade, medium shade for the next layer, and darkest shade for the last/inner layer. 
  • Follow the layering guide on the packaging or the company’s site. Most companies even have project ideas, color combination suggestions, layering guides, and other handy tips printed on their packaging!
  • Practice on copy paper first, especially if you are a beginner. This method of stamping can get intimidating when you first try it.
  • Use coordinating inks! If you don’t have inks from the same color family, try using one ink for all layers (choose a darker shade). This also works, but the image will pop more if you use different shades from the same color family.
  • Do you find it hard to do layered stamping? Try going from dark to light or go in the opposite order! Some people find it easier to align the stamps when starting with the inner/last layer.
PRO TIP! Not sure whether or not your stamps are layered properly? Try using a piece of acetate over the stamped image before stamping the next layer/s. This will help with the alignment if you don’t have a MISTI. You can always clean up the piece of acetate and reuse it as many times as you wish!

 Greeting card stamping idea

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  1. Kiss Stamping

This card stamping idea is as fun as it sounds! You can easily create subtle pattern effects on solid stamps through kiss stamping. Here’s how it works:

  • You need two different types of stamp images - a solid one and a pattern one.
  • Ink up your base image (solid stamp), then lightly press it onto your second image (pattern stamp). In this step, you are essentially letting the two stamps “kiss,” hence the name of this stamping technique.
  • Since the ink is still wet, this will transfer some of the pattern/design on the second stamp onto the first stamp.
  • Ink, kiss, stamp, repeat! It’s so fun and simple!

The video below will show you how to do this basic stamping technique!

  1. Two-Tone Stamping or Rock and Roll Technique

This is one of those oldie-but-goodie stamping ideas for card making that is well-loved and used by many seasoned crafters. Essentially, this technique allows you to create an ombre look on your stamped images in just a few quick steps. There are two ways to achieve the two-tone look.

2 handmade cards with two-toned layered floral stamps

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Rock and Roll Stamping Technique

  1. Stamp your image with light ink color.
  2. Next, roll the edges of your stamp around the dark ink color.
  3. Then, stamp it onto your paper. 
  4. You can use a third ink color or shade for a lovelier gradient look.
TIP! Always use lighter ink colors first and use only solid stamps for this technique.

Two-Tone Stamping Technique

  1. You’ll need a MISTI for this. First, stamp your solid layer using the lightest ink shade.
  2. Then, ink up only the edges/corners of the same stamp using a darker ink shade. To do this, hold your ink pad at an angle and make a swiping motion around the stamp, so only the outer edges get inked up.

These two methods of stamping are basically the same and will render almost the same results. However, the “Rock and Roll” technique does have the minor issue of contamination between two different ink pads, whereas you don’t get that issue with the two-tone technique.

Spotlight stamping technique on a handmade card

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  1. Spotlight Stamping

As the name suggests, this card stamping idea puts the spotlight on a focal image by using different colors that will make it pop from the background. The background and the focal image are the same; the magic lies in the different colors used. There are various ways to do the spotlight stamping technique - spotlight window, spotlight sentiment, etc. A handy little hack is to use a piece of acetate sheet as a mask so you can see exactly where you're stamping onto your focal image. In Lydia’s example card, she took it to the next level by adding dimension with her die-cut image. Watch the video below for more detailed instructions.

PRO TIP! Stamp the background image using black ink if you want a bold contrast; use gray, silver, or other soft colors for a more subtle contrast.

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  1. Ghost Stamping

Don’t let the name of this stamping technique scare you! It’s actually one of the most fun card making techniques you could ever try! The ghost stamping technique is the perfect way to add stunning, ethereal, and almost “ghost-like” images to your paper crafting projects through the magic of heat embossing.

Ghost stamping technique on a handmade card

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Here’s how to achieve this look!
  • Start by ink blending on your cardstock.
  • Stamp the image using embossing ink, add clear embossing powder, and heat emboss it.
  • Make sure the ink is dry before stamping onto it again. Ink blending makes the paper really wet, so you have to make sure it’s really dry.
  • Ink blend over the embossed images using the same color you’ve used before. This will make the images pop off and appear like subtle “ghost-like” images.
  • Make sure to darken the edges around the images to make the ghost images pop even more.
  • Then, remove the embossing powder. Remember: embossing powder will resist the ink! 
  • Finally, stamp more images onto the “ghost” images using inks from the same color family.
PRO TIP! To take embossing powder off your stamped images, place a piece of copy paper over the embossed images and run a dry iron over it a few times. The heat will make the embossing ink and powder stick to the copy paper.

 Watercolor stamping technique on a greeting card

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  1. Watercolor Stamping

Through this basic stamping technique, you get to stretch the use of your stamps and get creative with your coloring mediums. This card stamping idea takes the simple notion of watercoloring and takes it up a notch! You can use your watercolors, ink pads, or water-based coloring markers to create a watercolored effect on your paper crafting projects! Here’s how:

  1. Add ink onto your stamp using a watercolor brush pen or a regular water-based coloring marker. You may also use your watercolor ink or ink pad for this.
  2. Spritz some water onto the stamp to activate the ink.
  3. Stamp the image onto your cardstock. This will give your stamped images a messy watercolored look.
  4. You can use a wet paintbrush to move the color around until you get the desired result.

2 handmade cards with tone-on-tone stamping technique

  1. Tone-on-Tone Stamping

 One of the most exciting and popular card making techniques is tone-on-tone stamping! Simply put, you stamp your images using inks from the same color family as your cardstock color or background color. We’ve got a few hacks on how to recreate May’s card above!

  1. Start by choosing a colored cardstock and three ink shades from the same color family. TIP! Don’t use cardstock that is too bright or too dark.
  2. Ink blend onto the cardstock; work your way from the outside to the inside. 
  3. Start with your lightest shade to the darkest shade. 
  4. To create a gradient effect, overlap the color between each shade. 
  5. Ink blending takes time! It might be splotchy at first but keep at it until you get the desired results. 
  6. Make sure to use lighter cardstock/inks if you’re still a beginner at ink blending.
  7. Use a post-it note to keep your cardstock in place and avoid inky fingerprints all over it.
PRO TIP! Don’t have colored cardstock? Create your own with some white cardstock and any ink color you want! That’s the magic of ink blending!
  1. Second Generation Stamping

This is a fantastic way to get the most out of your layering stamps! Like other stamping ideas for card making, this technique can be done in a couple of different ways. First, you can ink up your stamp, stamp it onto a scrap piece of paper, then onto your actual cardstock. Since some of the ink has been “lifted off,” your second-generation stamped image will have a more muddled or subtle look. The colors will be more or less muted, and the image a bit faded but still clear.

Second generation stamping on a handmade card

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Another way to do this technique is to stamp the image onto one cardstock then onto another cardstock, without reinking in between. This will have the same result - a second-generation stamped image on your second cardstock with a softer and muted look. The best thing about this way is you get to create more stamped images, so it’s perfect when you’re in bulk creating mode.

TIPS FROM OUR CRAFTING EXPERTS: Use dye inks or hybrid inks for this basic stamping technique. Make sure to use medium and dark shades. Light shades won’t work well with this technique. Use coloring pencils to add shading to areas that are too light or not very clear.

  1. Emboss Resist Stamping

 Last but definitely not least is every embossing lover’s dream technique - emboss resist stamping! This particular card stamping idea takes advantage of the fact that heat-embossed images will resist any type of ink.

 Emboss resist stamping technique on a greeting card

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Here are a few quick steps on how to do this technique:

  1. First, add anti-static powder all over your cardstock.
  2. Next, stamp your image with embossing ink and add your chosen embossing powder to it.
  3. Heat emboss the image.
  4. Start ink blending onto your heat-embossed image. Since the powder will resist the ink, the embossed images will pop.
  5. You can use just one color to ink blend or use 2-3 different shades to add more dimension and interest.

The different stamping techniques in this blog post will help transform your handmade creations into something straight out of Pinterest or Instagram. It will turn a simple card into a professional-looking one that could give Hallmark a run for their money. If you’re a beginner, this is a good foundation for basic stamping techniques. If you’re a seasoned stamper, how fun was this Stamping 101 refresher course? 

We hope the tips and hacks we’ve provided were handy in your daily card making journey. As always, drop by the All About Crafting page for more crafty reads, inspiration, ideas, and valuable guides!

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