Tools + Supplies Reader Question

Published on July 18th, 2012 | by Becky Striepe


Reader Question: Natural Finger-Printing or Stamp Ink

Reader Questionfingerprints

Crafter Rachel Mash creates art pieces using finger printing ink and stamp pads and wants her work to be a little bit greener. She writes:

I am a fellow-crafter, and I am having the most TERRIBLE time finding natural finger-printing ink.  A lot of the art I like to make involves finger prints, so I am wanting to find a product that is safe and natural.  Any ideas?  Do you know of any brands like this for stamp or finger-print ink?

That’s a great question, and to be honest, I had sort of a tough time finding solutions for her. I’ll show you what I did find, but I’d love to hear from you other green crafters out there! Have you come across natural or water-based stamp or finger printing inks? Let’s share more resources in the comments!

The ink options I found aren’t totally natural, but I found a few things that look like they might be a little bit more eco-friendly. Please share if you guys have other suggestions!

Water Based Self-Inking Stamps

What I was able to find were water-based refills for self-inking stamps. From what Rachel describes, that’s not really going to do the trick for her crafts, unless she can find a way to refill dry ink pads that she has with these. That might take some doing, though. If a self-inking stamp would do the trick, I also found a company that creates custom self-inking stamps from recycled materials.

Water Based and Non-Toxic Stamp Pads

  • ColorBox makes ink pads with water-based inks that come in a few different colorways.
  • Versafine makes a line of non-toxic stamp pads. I always take “natural” claims from manufacturers with a grain of salt, since natural is not a regulated term, but they say in the product description that the inks are “Natural, oil-based pigment inks that dry instantly on matte cardstock”
  • Charles Leonard, Inc also makes non-toxic stamp pads, and these are re-inkable, which means less waste.
  • These ink pads from Stubby Pencil Studios conform to EU regulations for safety. The EU is much more cautious about toxins than the US, so these stamp pads are probably safer than the ones that only pass the muster here in the states.

Julie has talked here before about non-toxic art supplies. When you can’t find something that meets your eco-ideal, choosing non-toxic can often be the next best alternative. Unlike the term natural, “non-toxic” is a regulated term that means the product doesn’t cause immediate health problems. Think about when you’ve used an oil-based primer in the past. You get a headache, right? That’s an immediate health problem. Non toxic products aren’t always 100% safe, though. They can contain ingredients that build up in the body over time and cause health problems long-term, but they’re much safer for short-term use.

Image Credit: Fingerprint photo via Shutterstock

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About the Author

My name is Becky Striepe (rhymes with “sleepy”), and I am a crafts and food writer from Atlanta, Georgia with a passion for making our planet a healthier, happier, and more compassionate place to live. My mission is to make vegan food and crafts accessible to everyone!. If you like my work, you can also find me on Twitter, Facebook, and .

4 Responses to Reader Question: Natural Finger-Printing or Stamp Ink

  1. Rachel Mash says:

    Thanks for posting, Becky! I look forward to hearing from other crafters on this one. I did find a recipe online for home-made ink using brewed tea and cornstarch, but my first attempt resulted in a sticky mess. I’ll give it another go though.

  2. Michelle Fehler says:

    Hi there :)

    I have an idea…but as a disclaimer, I have not tried it myself. For a poster project, I need to stamp the recycling symbol onto the back, so the people in the recycling facility will know that the material was specifically chosen to be recycled. So I wanted to stamp with an eco-friendly ink. And the ink I will test out is simply beet juice. It stains really well, so it should be able to stick around for a bit…if anyone has experience with beet juice as ink already, I would love to hear what you have found :)

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