I'm a big fan of using rubber stamps. They're an incredibly versatile business tool - you can use one stamp in so many different and creative ways. And, it's one of the most affordable tools available for customising almost anything, so they're particularly useful for small businesses with tight budgets or when you're starting out.
There are several different types of stamps on the market, but the most flexible and versatile option is a traditional rubber stamp. This type of stamp has a raised design, making it great for stamping on a multitude of surfaces [not just paper].
They're designed to be used with a separate ink pad, which means you can use the same stamp with ink in every colour of the rainbow, as well as different types of ink, giving you the ability to stamp a whole bunch of different surfaces with the one stamp. Everything from paper and cardboard, fabric, timber, concrete and more - there are many surfaces that can be customised with a traditional stamp. Here's a few of our favourite ways to use stamps in your business.
1. Custom packaging (shipping boxes, paper bags, mailers and more)
Packaging that's been printed with your logo can look super slick and professional, however with minimum order quantities in the thousands, it's not a viable option for a small business or a side hustle. With a custom stamp, you can use blank boxes [which you can purchase in much smaller quantities and in loads of shapes and sizes and different colours] and easily customise them with your logo or design in small batches, or as you go.
Stamping your logo looks great on the outside of a box, but you can also consider stamping the inside of your box or mailer with a thoughtful message for when your customers open your parcel! Or if you're selling at markets, stamp your paper bags or price tags. Your custom stamp could be your logo, but you can also stamp messages to your customers, such as your return address, or directions for posting like 'Handle With Care'.
2. Custom wrapping paper
Gift wrapping your products with custom stamped paper can add a lot to your customer's unboxing experience, and it's really simple to do. All you'll need is some blank paper - we like classic kraft paper, butchers paper, but you can also stamp tissue paper - just be sure to protect what's below the tissue, as the ink can bleed through the tissue], your rubber stamp, and an ink pad in your chosen colour.
You can find a huge variety of ink colours at your local art and craft supply store or online - chances are you'll find a close match to your brand colour. Choose an ink designed for a range of paper surfaces, such as archival dye ink pads. Lay your paper flat on a large, solid surface and stamp away!
Remember to ink your stamp between each print to make sure you get a consistent image. You can choose to stamp in any direction or pattern you choose.
3. Fabric stamping
Traditional rubber stamps can work really well on fabric, transforming a plain calico bag into unique branded packaging. If you add fabric labels to clothing or accessories - you could also make these yourself with a stamp.
Just be careful to choose a fabric with a nice tight weave to avoid too much ink bleed - calico bags, natural cotton ribbon and muslin are all easy to work with for stamping. If your fabric is intended to be washed, you can use a special fabric ink, which can be heat-set with an iron to make a permanent print on your fabric.
4. DIY business cards
Instead of ordering business cards by the thousands, consider using a custom stamp to make your own! This can be done at a fraction of the cost of printing, is low commitment because you make as many or as little as you choose. And, they deliver a rustic, handmade aesthetic.
You can create one stamp with both your logo and details combined, or use two stamps: one with your logo and one with your details, so you can stamp both sides of the card. Be sure to use a large font size for your text, so that important details [like your phone number and email address] are clearly printed.
While a traditional stamp can be used here, we often recommend a pre-inked stamp as they'll give a more precise print and ensure that text is legible. There are really no rules when it comes to size and shape of business cards, so you can opt for blank business cards, a beautiful handmade paper, or even repurpose offcuts of paper or boxes by cutting them to size.
Don't need business cards? The above could also apply to thank you cards or care instructions that are inserted in each order you ship.
5. Branding your products
A rubber stamp can also be a great option for adding your branding to your products themselves. The versatility of a rubber stamp means that anything from polymer clay, concrete, clothing and timber products can all be branded with a rubber stamp.
At Woodruff and Co, we regularly feature how our community are using custom stamps [along with other packaging tools and supplies] in creative ways, over on our website. Pinterest is also a fabulous way to find even more inspiration for using custom stamps in your business.
Image credit: Crown & Anchor Leather
Woodruff and Co Owner, Rebecca McIntyreWoodruff and Co are a Melbourne-based small business, offering a range of branding tools and packaging supplies for small businesses. Find their products on their website and sharing their work on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest@woodruffandco.
Images by: Sister Scout Studio for Woodruff and Co [unless otherwise specified]