Making Rubber Stamping Backgrounds

Simple Techniques for Stunning Results

Great backgrounds for rubber stamping projects can be created using a few basic techniques. It is simple to make rubber stamping backgrounds and create dramatic effects using supplies that are readily available without the need to buy any fancy equipment.

This is a great way to ensure the perfect backdrop for a rubber stamping project. Knowing how to create your own backgrounds gives you an almost endless supply of interesting and unique papers, while also saving money over shop-bought papers. The backgrounds can be varied and adapted by using different color schemes and papers to create wonderful effects.

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    Bubble Background

    Bubble Background
    Bubble background for rubber stamping projects. Kate Pullen

    The wonderful bubble prints that this technique produces belies its simplicity. All that is required is paint, water and a squirt of dishwashing liquid. This technique is fun to do and is ideal for a whole range of projects. To do it, add your paint to a dish of soapy water. Use the straw to gently blow bubbles above the rim of the dish. Lightly touch your paper to the bubbles until they pop. Then lift the paper up and set it in a place where it can dry.

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    Chalk Shavings

    Chalk shavings used to create a background for rubber stamping projects
    Chalk shavings create an unusual effect on wet paper. Kate Pullen

    Chalk shavings create wonderful swirls and patterns on wet paper. Each sheet is unique and the effects range from subtle to dramatic. To make this effect, scrape colored chalk by hand or put it into a grinder. Sprinkle it on top of a dish of water. Float the paper in the dish. You will get different effects depending on how you lift the paper up from the dish.

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    Cling Film and Inks

    Background created with paint and clingfilm
    Kate Pullen

    Scrunched up plastic, such as cling film, creates complex textured backgrounds for rubber stamping projects and works well with ink or paint. This technique is easy to adapt and vary to create a wide range of results. Likewise, you can scrunch up aluminum foil and use it in the same way.

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    Distress Inks

    Distressed paper
    Distress paper using simple techniques. Kate Pullen

    Distressing paper is a great way to add age and texture to a project. This makes an effective background for many stamping projects including handmade cards. Distress inks are water-soluble dye inks have been designed to bleed and blend on the paper. The distressing technique is deceptively simple to do and very easy to adapt. You can simply crumple the paper, roll over it with a distress ink pad, then spritz the paper with water to get the desired effect.

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    Create All Over Designs

    Stamp all over images
    Kate Pullen

    Create your own unique papers by stamping all over a piece of paper. This is such an easy technique, yet it is also very effective. Vary the type of stamp or the color of ink for different effects.

    Simple rubber stamp designs look great with complex backgrounds, whereas detailed rubber stamp designs are complemented by more simple backgrounds. A very detailed stamp design combined with a complex background may look overly busy whereas a simple stamp design and background may look stark. However many fantastic effects can be achieved by disregarding all design rules—so experiment and see what works for you.


    • Tear around paper to create textured edges. For a professional finish color the edges with a color to coordinate with the project.
    • Use paper punches to punch shapes from scraps of background paper to use as embellishments.
    • Keep a supply of scrap paper to practice with—old printer paper is ideal.