Whether you're using stamps for scrapbooking, card making or something altogether different, there may come a time when you either don't want to use an ink pad or don't have one available. There are a variety of ways to apply color to a stamp, if needed in a pinch or to create a desired effect. There are also several other non-ink substances you can use with stamps to produce beautiful images.
Apply multiple colors to a single stamp by using markers to color certain portions of the stamp. For example, if your stamp features a bunch of balloons, use a different color marker for each balloon and another color for the strings. Apply color directly on the stamp. Work quickly to color the whole stamp before the ink dries. Press the stamp firmly onto the paper, and the result is a multicolored stamped image. Use large-tipped wet markers, often called watercolor markers, to blend colors on large stamped shapes.
Use special crayons, like Stampin' Up's Watercolor Wonder brand. Color directly onto the rubber stamp, then mist with water using a spray bottle or other technique. The crayon and water will mix when you press the stamp onto the paper, giving the stamped image a watercolor effect. The image color will be slightly uneven, and the edges may be a bit blurry, giving it a handpainted, whimsical look.
There are many brands of stamping paint that are designed to remain permanent on paper, but almost any acrylic paint will work. Using a foam brush, apply the paint to the stamp, mist gently with water, and then press the stamp on the paper. If you want a consistent image, carefully apply the paint evenly to the stamp, and use a thin layer. But uneven and gloppy paint can produce a more homemade look, depending on the mood of your project.
A glue pad looks like an ink pad, but it applies a thin layer of clear adhesive rather than ink to your stamp. Press your stamp into the glue pad, and then press it onto the paper. Sprinkle glitter, pigment powder or chalk powder onto the image, or apply it lightly with a brush. Shake off the excess, and the finished image will remain.
A bleach pad looks like an ink pad, but instead of applying ink, it applies a bleaching agent that will change the color of your paper rather than add color to it. You can make your own bleach pad by dousing a scrap piece of towel with chlorine bleach, but using a bleach pad is much safer and more versatile.