PROTECTING YOUR STAMP
After all this work, you'll want to protect the rubber stamp from
damage. At the very least, wrap it in something like a heavy
cloth, felt, fleece, or a folded paper towel. Ideally, find a
With a rubber stamp, you normally only have one color to work
with. However, there are a couple of other ideas to
consider. You can buy "Cat's Eye" or "Dew Drop" ink pads in
various colors, and use the pointed end of the pads to apply colors to
selective areas of the rubber stamp before stamping. You can do
the same thing with Marvy Brush Markers.
Marvy Brush Markers are available in something like 108 colors,
including several different collections of 12 markers as well as the
24-marker collection shown.
provide the Cat's Eye or Dew Drop ink pads or Marvy markers in your
include an image
in the log book showing what it should look like, the finder should be
able to follow your lead. This
obviously requires more time and patience on the finder's part, but if
you're creating a nifty multicolor image, he won't mind.
The time involved can lead to another problem: the ink is drying out
faster than you can apply it. The solution is a practice called
"huffing", wherein you cup your hands around the stamp and exhale
it. You can see the ink regaining its wet look as you do it.
You can take the multicolor idea to the next level and provide multiple
rubber stamps that work together to make a single multicolor
these, it helps to provide some method of properly aligning the
multiple stampings. The simplest is to make each stamp's backing
exactly the same shape and size and suggest the finder place marks on
the paper to align the stamp against prior to stamping.
As long as you're making multiple rubber stamps, you might as well hide
them in separate letterboxes and make the finder work to assemble the
image. Opposite ends of the Appalachian Trail would be especially
Perhaps even more popular is the "stamp-and-color" idea. A single
usually black -- is used with the rubber stamp to make an image, and
then the image is used like a coloring book; you color it in. You
can leave colored highlighters or colored pencils in
the letterbox with the stamp (crayons are not recommended, as they will
melt). In the log book, show
what the colored image should look like. You can buy really tiny
highlighters that won't take up much
room inside the letterbox. Remember that if you use pencils
it's a good idea to leave a sharpener in the letterbox. And it's
a good idea to seal the sharpener in its own tiny little airtight
baggie to help keep the blade from rusting.
Although some people carve their own rubber stamps as a
hobby in itself, or as an art form, perhaps the most popular reason to
be carving rubber stamps today is letterboxing. You can
investigate this pastime at www.AtlasQuest.com.
There is a season for everything. I live
in Florida, and I don't go letterboxing in the summer; it's
either raining or it's too hot and buggy outside to be enjoyable.
So I stay home and carve rubber stamps in air-conditioned
By the time fall rolls around, I've assembled a good selection of
rubber stamps to go hide!
You might decide to take a similar tack towards placing your
first letterbox. Instead of just carving one rubber stamp and
going out and placing it, you could opt to carve a half
dozen before you place the first one. At that point, you'll have
a pretty good idea what it takes to make a really nice one and whether
or not you want to place all those you've already made or whether you'd
prefer to toss a couple of them and perhaps do them over.
Once your rubber stamp is ready you can move on to Creating a Letterbox.
If you have any comments or suggestions,
please write me at "palmk at nettally dot com". Be sure to use
words like "rubber stamp" in the Subject: line so I don't delete your
message as spam. Alternatively, you can visit http://www.letterboxing.org or
the "contact the placer" function to drop me a line; I'm registered as
"Kirbert" on both sites.
If you'd like to get into letterboxing but are
incapable of carving rubber stamps -- eyesight too poor,
shaky hands, whatever -- there is a "Stamp Swap" board on AtlasQuest
that is intended to put people who don't carve in touch with people who
carve more stamps than they can use. Despite the misleading
title, you don't really need to have a stamp to trade to get another
stamp; you can just ask to find out who might be willing to simply send
you a stamp for planting. Don't forget to mention what you want
it for; some carvers will provide stamps for planting in letterboxes
but are less interested in other uses.