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Experts guide to the best stamping platforms

Using a stamping platform can help you get the perfect positioning, as well as achieve crisp images when stamping - but which is the best one? We share our expert advice and give recommendations for the best stamping platform, based on years of crafting experience.

Best stamping platforms for card making
Published: April 8, 2022 at 8:51 am
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Stamping platforms are a useful tool for crafters to have in their arsenal. When you’ve only got one shot at getting it right, perhaps you’re working with your last piece of fancy paper, or you’re stamping onto a card (or invitation) you’ve already made, then a stamping platform can be invaluable.

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Whether you’re a card maker, scrapbooker, paper crafter or casual crafter, a stamping platform can help you avoid unsightly splodges (caused by too much pressure), or incomplete stamps (caused by too little, or uneven pressure).

Best stamping platforms - Tim Holtz Stamping platform in use

We hope that you find this article, a guide to the best stamping platforms, useful. Why not check out some of our other brilliant buyer’s guides, written by our experts right here on Gathered?

We love trying out new crafts, for example, did you know you can miniaturise your favourite stamps using shrinky dinks? Head on over to how to make shrinky dinks, for your exclusive guide and stash shopping, or how about browsing our round-up of the best gifts for papercrafters?

And, as always, if you have a recommendation that we’ve omitted, be sure to let us know in the comments below!

If you’re in a crafty mood, why not check out the best glue gun and best die-cutting machine. Thinking about buying a craft printer for all the free patterned papers we have here on Gathered? Check out our review of the best printer for card making.

We love seeing what you make, so don’t forget to share your craft projects with us on InstagramFacebook, or Twitter, too!

Best stamping platforms - Tim Holtz Stamping platform in use

Our top picks: Best stamping platforms

Read on to see the full list of our favourite stamping platforms.

What is a stamping platform?

A stamping platform is a workstation that holds both the stamp and the paper (or card) that you’re stamping onto. They’re usually designed with a book-type construction, so that the top plate holding your stamp, can be flipped down onto the paper – which is held on the bottom surface. You don’t need to worry about accidentally slipping and creating a blurry image, as both the stamp and the paper are held in place.

The beauty of using a stamping platform is if you don’t get a perfect impression the first time, you can ink up your stamp again – and restamp! The stamp and paper will be held securely in their respective positions, so even if you move your stamping platform around on your workspace, you’ll still stamp in the same place on the paper. Neat.

Stamping platforms are ideal for use with layered stamp sets, as you can easily position the highlights, lowlights, and outlines with confidence.

Best stamping platforms - We R Memory Keepers Precision Press Tool, close up

How to clean a stamping platform

With all that ink, especially when using archival ink, your stamping platform is likely to get a little grubby from time to time. Check out our guide to different types of ink, if you need a refresher.

It’s important to keep your stamping platform clean, to avoid unwanted residue ink from transferring to your papercraft masterpieces. Thankfully, products exist to help us do that.

Using an alcohol blending solution helps remove dried-on ink, even permanent VersaFine ink. Spritz onto the platform, then remove the unwanted ink using a cleaning cloth.

Buy Ranger Inkssentials stamp cleaner

Best stamping platforms - Ranger Inkssentials stamp cleaner

Keep your stamps and stamping platform in tip-top condition with this stamp cleaner from Ranger. Papercrafters will be familiar with the brand, and it’s often a staple in craft rooms all over the world - so you know you’re getting a quality product. This stamp cleaner comes in a spray bottle for easy application, allowing you to clean any dye or pigment-based inks quickly and easily from your stamping platform. It’s water-based, so it’s safe to use on inky hands, and it's bubble gum scented, too!

Top tips for using stamping platforms

  • Secure the paper to your stamping platform, then position your (clean) stamp on the paper first before closing the lid. Once you close the lid, your stamping platform will pick up the stamp, and it will be in the right position.
  • If your stamping platform allows, use magnets to easily secure your paper. This will stop it from moving around if it’s nudged accidentally.
  • If you don’t have magnets, or you don’t have a magnetised stamping platform, use strips of washi tape to keep your paper (or cardstock) securely in place while you stamp.
  • Most stamping platforms have an anti-slip base, but if you have an older model that doesn’t, you can apply something like the Stix2 Non-Slip Grip to the bottom of your platform, to stop it from sliding around on your table.
  • Always use your stamping platform on a level surface, such as a table or desk.
  • Check the labelling on your stamping platform before you begin. Some platforms, like the Tim Holtz Stamp Platform, have different sides that you use for clear or rubber stamps, as these stamps are typically different thicknesses.
  • If you want to get a ‘better’ impression with your stamping platform, add in some foam as a shim. This will give you a softer stamping surface. So, when you use photopolymer stamps, you can press down into the foam to get a more solid impression. This helps to simulate the stamp impression you get from the luxe red rubber stamps! Of course, you don’t need to use a foam shim if you're already using red rubber stamps, as they already have a foam backing.
  • If you want to stamp over the edge of your paper, add in a reusable non-stick craft sheet below the paper, so as to not stamp onto your stamping platform.
Best stamping platforms - We R Memory Keepers Precision Press Tool

The best stamping platforms

We’ve put together this list of the best stamping platforms currently on the market. Do you have a recommendation that we’ve missed out on? Let us know in the comments below!

Tonic Studios Tim Holtz Stamping Platform

Best stamping platforms - Tim Holtz stamping platform
  • Pros: Full magnetic base, sturdy construction, large size, accessories available, will last decades
  • Cons: Can be expensive, magnets easy to lose
  • Stamping area: ‎8 x 8"

Revolutionising the way that stamps are used, this tool will take your stamping skills to the next level. Benefit from precise, clean, and easy stamping with this fabulous product. The platform, designed to accommodate both clear and rubber stamps, has been engineered to ensure accurate and even contact every time. The Tim Holtz Stamp Platform is an absolute must-have for every creative stamper!

This ingenious product boasts an array of exciting features, such as a double-sided acrylic, hinged stamping plate, which accommodates clear stamps on one side and rubber on the other. The open-ended design allows for stamping on papers as large as 12 x 12”. Plus, the sturdy magnetic base and strong magnets work together to keep your designs held securely in place. And, you’ll find a handy 8.5 x 8.5” top and side ruler and grid for ultimate accuracy.

And there's a reason it's at the top of this list - it's my favourite stamping platform, and has an extremely solid construction.

How to use the Tim Holtz stamping platform

To use the Tim Holtz Stamping Platform, simply lift the acrylic top, which is on a hinge and stick on a clear stamp, then place paper or card onto the base, holding it in place with the magnets. Once the stamp is inked, close the lid and press firmly onto the card or paper. Use it with rubber and clear stamps and get a clear, precise stamped image every time.

Stamparatus

Best stamping platforms - Stamperatus from Stampin Up
  • Pros: Two plates, full magnetic base, very strong bar magnets, compact design, foam shim included, etched grids
  • Cons: Most expensive on our list
  • Stamping area: ‎7 x 7″

The neat thing about the Stamparatus from Stampin’ Up, is that it has two plates to allow you greater crafting freedom, especially for projects that use multiple stamps. If you enjoy using layering stamps, then the Stamparatus is a great choice, as you’ll be able to batch make cards with ease, without removing your stamps.

The magnetic base comes with handy rulers on both sides, so you can quickly and precisely align your cling stamps onto the two acrylic plates and stamp with ease. The plates are also reversible, giving you four sides to work with – place multiple stamps at one time, then switch plates as needed. It also comes with two, super-strong bar magnets which snick into special slots in the base when not in use.

Best stamping platforms - Stamperatus from Stampin Up, open

The Stamparatus also includes a handy foam shim, two open sides (so you can use larger paper), non-skid feet, and multiple hinges so you can move the plates along and change the image position without removing the stamp.

Crafter’s Companion stamping platform with magnetic base

Best stamping platforms - Crafters Companion with magnetic base
  • Pros: Budget-friendly, full magnetic base, includes four magnets where other stamping platforms only come with two as standard
  • Cons: Magnets are small and difficult to pick up, printed grid, springs can work loose (but are easy to pop back in)
  • Stamping area: ‎8 x 8"

Take your stamped projects to the next level with the magnetic stamping platform from Crafter’s Companion. The 8 x 8” platform has an innovative ‘spring-loaded foot’ design and measuring grid, with both metric and imperial measurements. This non-slip, spring-loaded stamping platform ensures edge-to-edge pressure, with feet that have been perfectly sized to allow for maximum stamping surface capacity while keeping a stable work surface.

Best stamping platforms - Crafter's Companion 8 x 8 Stamping Platform and Magnetic Base

You can use your acrylic, clear, unmounted grey and red rubber and cling stamps with the platform to ensure effortless alignment and precise stamping every time. The latest designs feature a magnetic base, making this a very affordable option for the occasional crafter.

For precision stamping, the platform features metric and imperial measurements, as well as a central cross, allowing for highly accurate stamp placement – ideal for when you have to get it the right first time.

Hunkydory premier craft tools stamping press

Best stamping platforms - Hunkydory Stamping Press
  • Pros: Full magnetic base, magnets have easy-lift tabs, comes in iconic Hunkydory purple
  • Cons: Relatively expensive, printed grid
  • Stamping area: ‎8.5 x 6.5"

The Stamping Press from Hunkydory is a magnetic stamping press and comes with two strong magnets with useful lifting tabs. These are ideal if you struggle with fiddly little magnets, and in the iconic Hunkydory purple means less chance of them being misplaced and getting stuck somewhere for months (or years!).

It’s spring-loaded, so the stamping platform adjusts to the thickness of your stamps, and it can accommodate stamp thicknesses of between 2.3 to 8.5mm. The completely removable clear magnetic top includes a handy grid, and the base includes measurements in both metric and imperial. The Hunkydory Stamping Press has a raised left-hand edge with three open sides, allowing you to position cardstock of any size, and the cushioned bottom ensures the stamp press does not wobble.

We R Memory Keepers Precision Press Tool

Best stamping platforms - We R Memory Keepers Precision Press Tool
  • Pros: Simplest to use, lightweight, great for portability
  • Cons: Not magnetic, thin top plate, not as sturdy as others on our list
  • Stamping area: 7 x 7"

Taking your stamping up a level is simple with Precision Press! This advanced tool makes multiple stamping impressions easy so you can create homemade wrapping paper, printed scrapbook layouts, stamped cards and so much more. The Precision Press Tool works perfectly with stamps of any thickness, allows for even pressure and is perfect for multiple runs.

Of the stamping platforms, it’s one of the easiest to use, and comes in at a very nice price point. This tool measures approximately 8" x 7 1/2" with a stamping surface that measures 7" x 7". The only downside is that it does not have a magnetic base, so you’ll need to add a few strips of low-tack washi tape to keep your work in place.

We R Memory Keepers Precision Press Plus Bundle

Best stamping platforms - We R Memory Keepers - Precision Press Plus Bundle
  • Pros: Great value for money, lots of fun extras
  • Cons: Not magnetic, thin top plate, not as sturdy as others on our list
  • Stamping area: 7 x 7"

If you like getting the most from your money, then this is great craft bundle from We R Memory Keepers. It includes the Precision Press 2 (different from the one listed above) which can be used with any stamp of your choice as well as 12 x 12” (or smaller) paper and includes a measurement grid for easy alignment, as well as a sturdy hinge and non-slip surface.

Best stamping platforms - We R Memory Keepers - Precision Press Plus Bundle

But the nifty thing about this stamping platform, is that it’s designed like an old-fashioned printing press. It comes with a typeset plate that allows you to securely hold your letters in place, as well as an alphabet stamp set. It also comes with stencils, a clear stamp set and a stamp storage case!

However, it's not magnetic so will require additional low-tack washi tape if you want to secure your cardstock in place before stamping.

Vaessen Creative Easy Stamp Platform Tool

Best stamping platforms - Vaessen Creative Easy Stamp Platform Tool
  • Pros: Lightweight, funky colour, magnets with easy-lift tabs
  • Cons: No base grid, no corners
  • Stamping area: 23.5 x 20.5cm

The Easy Stamp Platform Tool from Vaessen is a great option if you’re looking for a no-fuss, magnetised stamping platform. Suitable for photopolymer and rubber cling stamps, this stamping platform also comes with two bright pink magnets to help you keep your work in place.

As far as style and function go, it’s very similar to the Hunkydory stamping press, so if you’re tossing up between the two, all it really comes down to is: do you prefer purple or hot pink?

Best stamping platform accessories

If you love your stamping platform as much as we do, or, if you’re keen to get the most from it, there are a few accessories that can buy that can maximise your crafting enjoyment. Perhaps you know someone with a stamping platform and you’re looking for small gift ideas? We’ve got you covered:

Tonic Studios Tim Holtz Stamping Platform sleeve

Best stamping platforms - Tonic Studios 1710E Tim Holtz Stamping Platform Zipper Sleeve, Multi-Colour

Keep your Tim Holtz stamping platform safe from dings with this stamping platform sleeve. It’s made from durable, yet lightweight neoprene fabric with a sturdy zipper and stylish monochrome design, so it’s ideal if you’re travelling around with your stamping platform, or to and from craft groups.

This case is designed especially for the 8.5” Tim Holtz stamping platform but will easily hold other platforms the same size or smaller. And, if you keep your eyes peeled, you can often find it in the sale – win-win!

Replacement magnets

Best stamping platforms - Tim Holtz Stamping Platform Replacement Magnets

Have you lost the magnets that came with your stamping platform? I have – many times. They usually turn up stuck to my scissors, or stuck to a table leg, or anything else that’s metal, but only after I’ve turned my craft room upside-down looking for them. So, it doesn’t hurt to have a few spare!

These are the official Tim Holtz replacement magnets, and they’re made from super-strong neodymium, so they’ll keep your cardstock securely in place while you create your stamped masterpiece.

Misti corners

Best stamping platforms - Misti Creative Corners

If you’re after more precise positioning on your stamping platform, then you might like to try Misti Creative Corners. Essentially, they’re magnets with geometric shapes, helping you to bring your cardstock away from the corners of your stamping platform into the middle while keeping your card straight. They’re useful if you don’t want to cut into your cardstock.

Crafter’s Companion 8 x 8” Stamping Platform Magnetic Base

Best stamping platforms - Crafter's Companion 8 x 8 Stamping Platform Magnetic Base

If you already have one of the older Crafter’s Companion stamping platforms that didn’t come with a magnetic base, no problem. The folk over at Crafter’s Companion have created this add-on, turning your old stamping press into a full stamping platform. This particular magnetic base works perfectly with the Crafter's Companion 8" x 8" Stamping Platform, but there are other sizes available. You also get four magnets included.

Tonic Studios stamp cleaning pad

Best stamping platforms - Tonic Studios Nuvo Stamp Cleaning Pad

Stamp cleaning pads are really useful if you do a lot of stamping. The pad inside is saturated with cleaning solution, so all you need to do is gently wipe the stamp across the surface to clean it, and keep your stamps looking new after every use. This stamp cleaning pad from Tonic Studios has a synthetic bristle block, which is ideal for cleaning all grooves and details in deeply etched stamps. Then when you’re done, simply close the stamp cleaning pad and it will keep ready for your next craft session.

Lawn Fawn stamp shammy

Best stamping accessories for card making

This is another nifty little thing to have in your craft room. The Lawn Fawn Stamp Shammy only needs water to activate. Hydrate the cloth, then all you do is wipe it across your stamps for the perfect clean. It’s like those reusable face wipes – but for craft! We love it. It will dry out between uses, so simply add more water to reactivate it.

If you watch craft videos on YouTube and you see a crafter cleaning their stamps with an aqua-green cloth – it’s probably this. Thanks, Lawn Fawn for helping us crafters prolong the life of our stamps and be more sustainable!

Non-stick Teflon craft sheet

Best stamping platforms - 3 Pack Teflon Sheet

These non-stick craft sheets are a great tool to have in your craft stash. They’re easy to clean and can be used over, and over again. They’re also heat-resistant, so if you’re stamping and heat embossing, these non-stick sheets will stop you from accidentally melting something you shouldn’t.

They come in all sizes, but these 16 x 20” suit my needs perfectly, as they work with 12 x 12” paper easily, but also gives you lots of extra if you want to cut them up.

Craft foam

Best stamping platforms - Dovecraft A4 Foam Sheets

Craft foam? In an article about the best stamping platforms? Yes! If you have an older stamping platform or one that doesn’t have a padded base, create your own shim by using a piece of craft foam inside your platform. Adding a foam shim allows you to get a deeper impression from your stamps – and why spend loads of money buying fancy shims when you can buy the same thing for just over a pound?


We hope you’ve enjoyed our expert buyer’s guide to the best stamping platforms and stamping platform accessories. For more useful buyer’s guides packed full of expert advice, why not check out our choice of the best craft subscription boxes or these fun paint by number kits?

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If you’re in the market for a new die-cutting machine, or perhaps you fancy upgrading the one you already have, be sure to read our guide to the best die-cutting machines.

Authors

Holly SpannerStaff Writer, BBC Science Focus

Holly is the staff writer at BBC Science Focus. Before joining the team she was a geoenvironmental consultant and holds an MSc in Geoscience from UCL.

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