Q&A Series: How Many Impressions Will a Rubber Stamp Make?

Q&A Series: How Many Impressions Will a Rubber Stamp Make?
One question we’re asked more than any is “How many impressions will my stamp make?” The answer isn’t simple....

Here are the three key elements which play a part in the number of impressions your stamp will generate:

    • Firstly it depends on the ink coverage. By this we mean the amount of ink each impression takes from the ink pad. For example, a design with bold and large lettering or solid areas will use more ink per impression than a design with using medium typefaces or outlined artwork.


    •  Secondly, the material being stamped also plays a big part in the life of your stamp. An absorbent material will leave less ink on the stamp. This means when the stamp makes the next impression, there’s less ink on the stamping surface; therefore it will take more from the ink pad. The operating temperature will affect the life of the ink pad. In very warm conditions the ink on your pad will evaporate faster; meaning it will make fewer impressions.


  •  Lastly, the type of ink supplied will make a difference. Solvent-based inks, such as the popular 196, will dry on the ink pad within hours so these will need re-inking or reactivating frequently. Water-based inks, which are commonly supplied with Plastic Cased Self-inkers, will remain moist on the ink pads for years; providing they are stored at room temperature and out of direct sunlight.


The good news is when your stamp starts to fade; a replacement ink pad or bottle of ink can be purchased to bring your stamp back to life!

Traditional Rubber Stamps generally use Endorsing ink pads. We recommend replacing these rather than re-inking, as the material will deteriorate with use.

    • Self-inking Stamps have a built-in ink, which again will deteriorate with use, so for best results replace when necessary.


    •  Gel Pre-inked Stamps are re-inked by applying ink directly to the stamping surface using the special SP ink. This must be done at the first signs of fading, as if you continue to use your stamp without re-inking the material will crack, which will result in you having to purchase a new stamp.


  • Eminent Pre-inked Stamps (also known as Flash Stamps) are re-inked by removing the handle and adding a few drops of Eminent ink to the back of the stamp.  Once re-inked this type of stamp will be ready to go within a few hours.


So, to answer the original question… “How many impressions will my stamp make?”...


Using a Shiny S-520 Plastic Cased Stamp we achieved 3,500 impressions before we decided to replace the ink pad. However, even after 3,500 impressions, the text was still readable and once the stamp had been rested for an hour or two, the impressions actually improved, which would indicate the ink pad had recovered.

Here's the progress in pictures:

Impression number 1 of a self-inking stamp.

A self-inking stamp in action

Pages upon pages of stamp impressions.


Impression number 3,500

We hope this gives you an indication as to what to expect in terms of the performance of your brand new, shiny rubber stamp.