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Tips for Using Rubber Stamps with Hand Lettering, Part 2

Welcome back for part 2 of a series on how stamps can embellish hand-lettered projects. (For more stamping information, refer to my first article in the series.)

Although my stamp collection is mostly seasonal images, some (like alphabets or Asian characters) fall into less-defined categories. I place a special value on these unique stamps because I couldn’t get the same results for my designs any other way. I’ve found that with a little more thought and creative planning, even the most unusual rubber stamps can be used with success.


Alphabet stamps sets (above) are single letters that can be arranged into words. Aligning each letter evenly in words is difficult, so I make bouncy letters.

For the Fruit Crisp journal page (below) I eyed the spacing and was inspired by the shape of the fruit image. Using these stamps was a spontaneous decision that added much more emphasis to my layout.


In a brush lettering class, I included a little East-West history of this art form and made bookmarks for students. My Asian stamp set had just the character (image) on the face—the English meaning (word) was included in a separate brochure. It wasn’t very practical because I only understand English and was constantly checking the stamp with the brochure information for accuracy.

So I decided to simply this process.

Using the brochure, I transferred the character’s English word onto each stamp face (below) by lettering it with a fine Sharpie pen.


Now the Asian characters had a familiar reference and I could proceed accordingly!

I selected a stamp and brush lettered its word in grey that represented the character. Then I stamped the character image on the paper. And finally, I wrote the student’s name in a smaller brush marker in red. Voilà, personalized bookmarks!


These were very well-received, with many students telling me that their word, chosen by chance, was just the one they needed in their life at that time! Serendipity!

Stamping is fun and can be an important creative part of designing with calligraphy. If you have stamps and haven’t used them for a while, try them on journaling pages, envelopes, and inspirational quotes, as well as cards.

To clean your stamps after use, baby wipes do a nice job. In fact, I always keep a supply handy on my drawing board.

Visit my Facebook page for more calligraphy tips, as well as information on classes and events in Northern California.

*Note: this post may contain affiliate links*

Some of you may recall my tutorial on brush illustration for beginners last year. That technique, using a brush marker with pressure and release, is how all my brush-lettering students begin. Most of them enjoy brush illustration so much that they think of other things to. . . read more

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