Rubber Stamping Polymer Clay – 4 Tips for Keeping Your Stamps Clean

Polymer Clay Rubber Stamps

Has this Kind of Sticky Clay Mess Ever Happened to You?

What a pain! You made some beautiful rubber stamp textured beads, but now there is polymer clay sticking to the stamp surfaces which needs to be cleaned up. What are you going to do?

Here’s 4 Tips To Keep In Mind…

1) You can get out that pesky clay by using a soft tool. Don’t use a sharp metal tip like the one in the photo above. It can scratch your stamp pattern. I just used that to point at the sticky clay area. Instead get something like a tooth pick or a rubber tipped clay shaper like the ones from the Studio by Sculpey 5 in 1 Set. I like using the flat shaper the best since it can get into fine crevices and won’t damage your stamp in any way.

2) If after removing the bulk of the stuck polymer clay there is still a residue left behind, you can clean that off with baby oil followed by rubbing alcohol. Then just to make sure there are no chemicals left behind on your stamp that could degrade it, wash with soap and water.

3) But the best thing of all to do is prevent the clay from sticking in the first place, by using a release agent. Either a small spritz of water or a light dusting of cornstarch will work.

4) Also, using firmer clay can help to prevent sticking. Pop your clay into the fridge to firm it up if you need to.

As you can see, it is much better to plan ahead and use a release for your stamps, than to have to clean up after yourself later. But sometimes you just get excited to try a new technique and temporarily forget what you already know. In case that happens, at least you’ll be able to fix it!

So do you have any tricks for keeping your polymer clay rubber stamps and texture sheets clean? Do tell…

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor

  1. Anna Sabina, 22 July, 2009

    Or, you could also try Blue Tack. Who knew ??

  2. edie, 22 July, 2009

    If you’re using the classic rubber unmounted stamps (NOT the clear ones) you can just pop them in the oven for about 10 minutes then roll them backwards a couple of times and the hardened clay will pop out of the crevices. They’re vulcanized at a much higher temperature and the little bit of heat won’t hurt them one bit.


  3. Carrie, 22 July, 2009

    I use soap and water and a stiff paint brush!

  4. Carrie, 22 July, 2009

    Hey, everyone! I just went to JoAnn Fabrics and I don’t know if it is all stores or just my local one but Sculpey III is 50% off!

  5. Cindy Lietz, 22 July, 2009

    Great ideas guys!

    @Edie, I didn’t know you could do that with those kind of rubber stamps. I take it, you’re talking about the red rubber unmounted stamps?

  6. edie, 22 July, 2009

    Hi, Cindy!
    It has to be a “rubber” stamp, which classically came in red but now can be grey, lavender or pink – depending on who manufactures it. They all are vulcanized rubber, and can take ironing, baking, boiling…. it just can’t be the clear “newer” style that are sold to cling to the acrylic blocks. Those can’t take the heat, and I don’t know how they would react to the polymers in the clay, either. You can actually roll the rubber stamp around a substrate that can take the heat (say, a wooden bangle or a metal cuff), put the clay on, bake it, then roll the rubber away from the back. The caveat there is that you need a rubber stamp that doesn’t create a lot of undercuts when it’s rolled (they’ll hold on to the clay), so really detailed stamps aren’t the best.


  7. Anna Sabina, 22 July, 2009

    Thanks for the Sculpy III alert. i love the colors in that line and am experimenting with leaching it to increase firmness.

    I love the term vulcanized…it is a real word and is often used with rubber products. It is kind of like when I see the words “Virgin Vinyl” on a notebook, it makes me feel extra special. I am going to refer to my leached Sculpy III as Vulcanized.

  8. Ken H., 22 July, 2009

    I have an alphabet stamp set that are the clear they work with PC without any side effects so far and I’ve used them for about six months. Thanks for the heat info edie, knew about stamps taking the heat from an iron (some sort of thing done with a certain type of velvet, not a sewer so don’t know more about that), didn’t know about the oven.

  9. Stacey, 22 July, 2009

    Working on some pendants for a charity bazzar. When I write on the clay a simple word like “Peace” the edges are not clean. After it is baked, I’ve added black paint and wiped off the excess on the surface. Any suggestions on how I can get the edges of my letters to be sharp and crisp? Also, might a black felt tip pen be a better choice? By the way. I am writing on the clay with a toothpick.

    Sure would appreciate any help you might be able to give!


  10. Barbara T, 29 August, 2014

    I’ve used clear plastic seran wrap over the clay, then write keeping the seran wrap loose for following letter indentations. This, for me has made my writing clear with no drag. Much the same for cutting out shapes with a rounded edge.

  11. Anna Sabina, 23 July, 2009

    It is going to be really tough to get a clean edge unless you use alphabet stamps. You could try other techniques but how much time, discouragement and frustration can you tolerate. I think the permanent marker is a good choice but if it will run if you put a finish like Future on it (been there done that). So, use the marker after you have applied and let you finish dry. I do not know if there is a problem with other finishes such as some of the Sculpy products.
    I believe Cindy showed us a alphabet stamp wheel in past post. Can’t seem to find that post so a reminder would be great.

  12. Jocelyn, 23 July, 2009

    @ Anna Sabina

    I cannot wait to get my hands on some of that Blue Tack stuff to experiment with….being a teacher early on, used similar product to hang work and posters all over.

    @ Stacey

    Assume you mean you are using a stylus or similar object to print the letters into the clay? I would try making the clay as cold as possible first, it seems that the warmer the clay is, the more the clay will drag with the lettering, leaving those little hanging bits. Also would have the implement cold. Might work, sure hope so. Or, try the reverse, cold clay and heated implement.


    Bless you for the vulcanized rubber stamp tip of heating it to remove the stuck bits. Tah Dah! Hate scrubbing anything in water, including dishes, lol. Need insulated tight fitting rubber gloves. Anyone know if such a product exists?

  13. Cindy Lietz, 23 July, 2009

    @Stacey: Anna is right, I was going to suggest an alphabet stamp as well. There tons of different sets out there in many styles and it will end up looking much cleaner than writing with a toothpick. You may even be able to find a stamp the right size that says ‘peace’ since it is quite a common phrase.

    The post that I think Anna is referring to is has a photo of some alphabet stamps I got at the dollar store. If you click the link by my name you will be taken to that post.

    Also if you type ‘dog tags’ into the search box at the top of the page, there is an article called ‘Dog Tags Jewelry for Boys | Personalized Names Set in Faux Stone’. That article has a photo of pendants made using alphabet stamps and paint.

    I’m not too crazy about the idea of using felt pen. It just won’t look as classy as paint or antique glaze. You will want it to look as professional as possible if you are using them for charity.

    @Edie and Ken: I have had no problems using the clear rubber stamps on my polymer clay at all. I use them quite a bit and have seen no degradation at all.

    Thanks everyone for your comments and input!

  14. Cindy Lietz, 23 July, 2009

    @Jocelyn: We used to use insulated rubber gloves on my dad’s fish boat when we were icing the fish. They are not exactly tight fitting but you can definitely work with them on. You might try a marine supply shop to find them.

  15. Cindy Lietz, 23 July, 2009

    My husband Doug just pointed out to me that Anna may have been referring to the Alphadisc Wheel I wrote about eons ago. It’s a disk Cool Tool with alphabet stamps all the way around it. To see what I mean, click the link by my name.

  16. Ken H., 23 July, 2009

    I was going to do research when I got home from work, I thought I remembered something that reminded me of a large Dymo label maker.

  17. Jocelyn, 23 July, 2009


    Thanks for the tip! Been making my own using thin cotton tight gloves, lots of HOT sports creme, a dollop of Bag Balm, encased in the small sized stretch sugical gloves, but they break all the time.

    With more women in the industry, bet I can goggle some of those rubber insulated ones up to work just fine. Will get me through the sanding and finishing processes during the winter.

    And Doug, thanks for the heads up on the tool. Great to see you pop up every once in awhile, LOL!

  18. Anna Sabina, 23 July, 2009

    I was referring to the Alphadisc. Thanks for leading me back to the post because I could not remember the name.

  19. Carrie, 23 July, 2009

    Stacey- There is a really cool tutorial on Polymer Clay Central on making your own stamps using scrap clay. It shows making letters with extruded snakes. Under the lessons link on the left hand side of the page, I believe it is under mixed media. Hope this helps, Rubber stamps are so expensive!

  20. Anna Sabina, 24 July, 2009

    Clay Alert. Premo is 50% off at JoAnns fabrics too. Ends up being about $1.25 per pack.

  21. sandra yb, 22 August, 2009

    @ Stacey: I think I read on a website (can’t find it now) to put cling wrap down on your piece and write through it and the edges wouldn’t be rough. Haven’t tried it and I guess you would have to be careful not to poke holes in the plastic while you’re writing or use something less sharp. I also haven’t tried this, but one of my brilliant ideas is to use colored liquid clay to fill in letters. I know the Kato comes in some colors, not sure about the others. The dispenser would have to have a fine tip if your lettering is really small.

  22. Cindy Lietz, 24 August, 2009

    @Jocelyn: Great tip on making your own insulated gloves for sanding!

    @Carrie: that is a good idea for making your own stamp. Thanks for passing that along!

    @Anna: Thanks for the sale alert!

    @sandra yb: That is a very clever idea! You can also tint clear liquid clay with alcohol ink if you didn’t have the colored stuff. Thanks for the comment. It is so nice to have you here!

  23. constance tyler, 27 May, 2011

    I spritz my clay with water and the stamps or texturing sheets don’t stick.

  24. Kathy Hamlin, 06 June, 2019

    Hi Cindy,

    I am a real newbie! I’ve spent countless hours pouring over youtube videos and thank you for some very valuable information, especially on essentials for starting out! The reason for my interest is wanting to expand upon my craft making crystal suncatchers. I’ve got 2oz. packages of a lot of colors in SculpeyIII an Premo. I also bought 2 packages 8oz. of translucent, one online and one from last week’s Hobby Lobby sale. I decided to condition the one from Hobby Lobby tonight, as it had no date that I could find. 2 hours later, it is still crumbly, so I will get some softener tomorrow. or soon. I bought a $17 pasta roller off of eBay & you know the old saying about getting what you pay for. I’ve got the baking down on my first try thanks to you, but the pieces look like ummm… I’m just playing and trying not to use too much clay to practice to achieve my final goal of interesting effects for my suncatchers. I’m semi retired and still working, although I’m sure what you can guess what I’d rather do full time, but on a tight budget. I made homemade molds last night from cornstarch, and made a holy mess. I didn’t think I’d ever get the silicone off my hands! (Gloves next try, but my tiny seahorse did come out cool!)

    I have a question and maybe even a test lab for you. The first question is about hardening baked pieces. I’ve saved your video in UV Resin for hardening, I read or saw somewhere that UV resin will turn in sunlight to yellowish brown. I know 36 watts, but wondering if it does turn if exposed to sunlight? Also, is it ok to buy a cheap 36 watt dryer?

    The 2nd question is intriguing to me. I have a metal stencil cutting die coming from eBay. I am not sure how deep this is, but being metal and polymer clay isn’t supposed to stick to metal, I thought I would try to experiment and bake in it. I haven’t seen any videos on this. I have some TLS, which would probably be best for this, but absolutely not sure about mold release. Also wondering if I took a toothpick dipped in alcohol ink or acrylic if I could make swirls in the translucent liquid in the mold. I hope to use to embellish projects. I suppose I could use it like a cookie cutter, but it is intricate. The mold release is what I am most concerned about.

    Great to meet you and hope I didn’t overwhelm you with this long rambling.
    All the best,
    Kat Hamlin

  25. Cindy Lietz, 21 June, 2019

    Hi Kat, I wrote a really long answer for you and the internet ate it! :(

    Anyway, what I said was…

    My best advice to you would be to slow down with the buying of supplies and learning of new techniques and start with what you have.

    I can understand getting excited and wanting to try “all the things” but the fastest way to improve your skills would be to take that crumbly clay… condition it… and practice making things with it, until it no longer “looks like umm…”. And then, move on to making molds, using dies, alcohol inks, uv resins and all those other fun things.

    Watch as many of my videos as you can along the way. Learn about the good brands to use, how to shape things, mix colors, properly bake, sand and buff your pieces… those sorts of things. Get to know the clay, before you try to use it with a bunch of other things.

    If you have it in your budget, you might want to buy my Beginner’s Course. It will really get you on the right track, so that you aren’t wasting your time and money on supplies and tools on projects that don’t work out.

    Don’t worry, I’ll help you out with those other things when you’re ready! <3

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