TandaStamps logo Designing Stamps
Designing Stamps

When designing your own stamps, you can use your own drawings or compile stamp designs using text and images from various sources, including books and online clipart. Some commonly used programs for compiling stamps are MS Word and MS Publisher and OpenOffice (which is a free alternative).

If the program you are using (e.g. MS Word, Publisher, Powerpoint or EXCEL 2007) has the option, please save as PDF. This converts the data into vector format. Text and line illustrations can be scaled without loss of resolution - example. Text should display correctly on our computers even if we do not have those fonts installed. The high quality setting is preferable.

For older versions you could install CutePDF Writer (scroll to bottom of this page) as a virtual printer. File => Print => select CutePDF Writer as your printer and save the PDF to your preferred location on your computer. MS Word 2007 icon
wikiHow PDF instructions for MS Word here, if needed.

Sending large files
transferbigfiles.com - free guest upload without creating an account - *drag-and-drop up to 100MB size files onto website - enter recipient’s email - click "Send Now!" button - Transferbigfiles.com will email recipient a link to the download page - file available for 5 days. transferbigfiles.com icon
*Resize your browser window narrower (next to the file you want to upload) and drag file across to drop onto the marked area on the webpage - so easy!
Dropbox.com - Free account with 2GB of storage for as long as you like. Program download installs on your computer or mobile. Drag and drop files into local Dropbox folder - automatically uploads to your Dropbox account online - synchronises with your other Dropbox icon computers and mobile phones that you have Dropbox installed on. You can e-mail people links to specific files/pictures in your Dropbox. Anyone with the link gets access to view or download (but not edit) the file.
Good for sending us large image files which we can download directly. This method can handle larger files than can be safely received as e-mail attachments.
Dropbox supports Windows, Mac, Linux, and Mobile
The installation auto-creates a shortcut on your desktop and installs Dropbox folder in "My Documents". The default setting is to be connected online and constantly synchronising.
If you prefer not to be connected all the time, rightclick on system tray icon at bottom of screen - Preferences - untick "Start Dropbox on system startup" (middle tickbox).
You can put files directly into the folder in "My Documents", but if you have changed the preferences as above, to upload them you have to double-click on the desktop shortcut (image of a blue box) -
green ticks should be visible on file icons.
YouSendIt.com - free version ("Lite"). You will need to create an account with them and can then upload files of up to 100MB 50MB. These will be available for download for 7 days. YouSendIt icon The recipient receives an e-mail with name/e-mail of sender, name of file, expiry date of file and a download link.
SkyDrive - if you have a hotmail or windows live (example@live.co.uk) e-mail account, SkyDrive icon you have 25GB of free personal storage linked to your e-mail account.
You can upload files and set viewing permissions, e.g. "Me" and additional person. Add the recipient's e-mail to the additional person field, then "Send a notification" option to e-mail the recipient a link to the file.
The recipient needs to have a similar account to log in and view the file, so this is not for everyone. We can access files via this method and our usual e-mail address is fine for receiving the link.

Links to Free Fonts
fontspace.com, fontgarden.com, fontsquirrel.com, 1001freefonts.com, fonts101.com, and urbanfonts.com.
Please Note: Please include what font types you have used when submitting artwork for turning into stamps.

Identifying Fonts
WhatTheFont - if you have found a font you like and do not know what it is called, this website may be of help. Should work in Internet Explorer if you are having trouble with your Firefox or Seamonkey browser.
Free&Easy Font Viewer - a freeware utility that lets you view examples of all your installed fonts in one full-screen window. Free&Easy Font Viewer icon
Supports Windows Vista / XP / 2000

Extracting Zipped Files
7-Zip - free zip/unzip file utility. 7-Zip icon

Links to Royalty-Free Clipart
fromoldbooks.org - images, engravings and pictures from old books, arthursclipart.org - images in large format, also from old books, oldbookillustrations.com - vintage engravings and woodcuts incl nineteenth century and Victorian era, coloring-pages-kids.com, thecoloringspot.com, US Fish and Wildlife Line Art, Clipart ETC, All Coloring Pages, and Printable Colouring Pages.

Image Recognition - let Google Images work for you!
image If you have an image and are maybe looking for a better version of it, Google Images has a search function that might be useful. Please click on the image to the right for more information. Instructions below the video. Their 1st technique, drag-and-drop, works in our Firefox and Seamonkey browsers, but not in IE8.

Another useful tool is found when you hover your computer mouse over the thumbnail images on Google search results pages. Please click image to the left to enlarge.

Links to free image editing programs
Pixlr.com - free online image editing in your browser - similar to Photoshop. pixlr icon Requires Flash to be enabled in your internet browser, and a broadband internet connection. Example

FotoSketcher - free download to install on your computer (11.0MB FotoSketcher icon download). Drawing Parameters => Pen & Ink sketch 2 is good for stampmaking. Use the slider bars to change level of detail.

Photo2Sketch - free download to install on your computer. (1.01 MB download). Will turn your photos into sketch-like images. photo2sketch icon Can only open .jpg, .jpeg and .bmp files. File download starts straight from link above.

IrfanView - free download (good for viewing most types of images) IrfanView icon

PhotoS - convert photos to line drawings (free trial download will convert 30 photos) Bridport Clock Tower

We used PhotoS to convert this contrasting photo of Bridport Clock Tower to a line drawing suitable to make a stamp from.

Good vs bad lines

To make effective stamps, the artwork should ideally be sharp black and white line drawings at a high resolution of between 300 - 600dpi. Solid black with solid white only, no shades of grey.

Lines should not be too thin.

The English Stamp Company (you can find their price list here) have a PDF that makes good distinctions between suitable and unsuitable artwork, worth a look.

befunky.com - free online photo editing in your browser - requires Flash to be enabled in your internet browser, and a broadband internet connection.

Certain settings may be able to convert photographs into images suitable for stampmaking (black and white areas, no grey). Results depend on how much contrast there is in the original image.

Please click for van example and cat example using the techniques below: Tips: To upload an internet image, choose "My Computer" from Befunky's Upload menu and paste the image url into the File name field.
Remember to save each completed image as you finish it, as it seems to keep only the current image.
befunky icon

Word Mosaic - free online application in your browser - rearranges your text in the shape of hearts or other symbols. Requires Flash to be enabled in your internet browser, and a broadband internet connection. word mosaic example

You can save their images in high quality by printing as PDFs.

Images are quite large - to give you an idea, the default heart as a PDF will fit on an A4 printable area at 96% actual size.

Scroll down for a free PDF writer / virtual printer.

Free PDF Reader
We often e-mail artwork proofs for your approval prior to manufacture, mostly as PDFs.
Foxit Reader 2.3.2822 - a small, fast-opening viewer (2.55MB download) Foxit Reader icon
Foxit Reader 2.3.2822 supports Windows Me/2000/XP/2003/Vista

Is your computer operating system more advanced?
Foxit Reader - later version (7.55MB download)
Foxit Reader supports Windows 2000 / XP / 2003 / Vista / Windows7 / XP64 / Vista64 / Windows7 64 Foxit Reader icon

Free PDF Writer
CutePDF Writer - a virtual PDF printer - converts pictures & documents into PDFs. You will need to install Ghostscript first - link is on above page
Supports Microsoft Windows 98/ME/2000/XP/2003/Vista/7 CutePDF Writer icon

Free PDF Split & Merge
Adolix PDF Split & Merge - add or remove pages in your PDF document
Supports Microsoft Windows 98/Me/2000/XP/Vista/7 Adolix PDF Split & Merge icon