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Joel Socwell Artwork Made in USA questions products order forms examples How to use clay marking tools Home
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Examples of stamps & rollers for clay

Mugs made with clay stamped logos by John Thies 2019

Urn made with rollers and stamps

This urn shows the kind of effect you can make using rollers and stamps for surface decoration.   Using a glaze that will allow the differences in surface marks to show through can achieve wounderful designs on your ceramic work.   This piece was made using our clay roller Koi Fish (part # SD2083) and a banding roller (part # MKM-MRL-05) on the sides, on the top we used roller Tree Bark (part # SD2038) for texture, and for a glaze we used Spectrum brand low stone glaze #934 Speckled Turquoise (cone 06/04) which worked well to show details our rollers and stamps make.   I used my maker's mark on the side to sign the work. - Joel Socwell 2018

Most stamps for clay are of two main types, either maker's marks (chop) or a logo / design to decorate the surface of your work.   Maker's marks are usually smaller in the size range of 1/4" to 1-1/2" (about 8 mm to 38 mm).   Stamps with a logo for mugs or similar vessels are usually larger than 1-1/2", with 2" to 3" sizes being the most common sizes to use.   Lets first look at an example of a logo stamp and how we make that from original artwork that might be supplied by your customer who is looking to have some pieces made.

Logo for mug example shown by permission of COOPERS CREEK POTTERY

Logo example shown by permission of COOPERS CREEK POTTERY (cooperscreekpottery.com)
and their customer the Fannin Couny Chamber of Commerce.

As you can see in the example above, in the final mark in clay (lower right image) the multiple depth in the stamp really shows up mostly looking about the same in the clay.   The reason we cut stamps in more than one depth is mostly for the function of the stamp as you press into the clay.   For example, the letters and middle areas of the stamp press in first to allow them a head start on making a nice clear mark.   Next the blue areas push in and that allows overlap like the fishing line and circle borders to not look like one object as a physical mark in the clay.   Each design is different and many stamps work best as single level stamp, but we do have the ability to make a 2 level stamp when it will work out better for you as the clay artist.

Why buy our stamps and not just any rubber stamp?

compare our stamps to regular rubber stamps for clay marking

We are sometimes asked why not just use any rubber stamp, many ceramic artists use them?   The answer is simply how professional of a mark you need to make?   As you can see in this nice example a customer sent to us, the same clay marked with a regular rubber stamp and marked with our Signature Writer (R) Surface leave two very different marks in clay.   Rubber stamps are not really made for marking clay, they are made for transfer of liquid to paper.   And we make rubber stamps also for transfer of underglaze to bisqueware, but if you want to mark a deep, crisp, and detailed image into clay our surface will give you superior results.

Chops & Maker's Marks

The most common need for a clay stamp is the chop or maker's mark used to sign your work.   These are usually made using our Signature Writer (R) Surface, the black surface you see in the photos.   We have options of wood or pewter handles and the shape and size often determine which style of handle will fit your design the best.   Maker's marks are often best when made simple, the less total surface area the easier the stamp will be to use. These examples show rather complex designs, but the easiest to use would be just simple initils or a single graphic or signature that we can take from a photo of your actual signature on paper.   The smaller and simpler the mark the longer you will have to stamp in clay as it starts to firm up.   If you want to stamp after you trim, a stamp under 1/2 inch (about 13 mm) is probably the best option for results you will like.

chop for clay, maker's mark examples

Video demo of our stamps being used along with support inside the pot

Pewter handles with Signature Writer (R) Surface, our best stamps for detail in marking clay. This material is best used with ceramic, polymer, or precious metal clays. Use a release agent like vegitable oil or similar on the stamp surface for best results in stamping wet clays. For PMC use the same release agent you use on your other tools. For polymer clays you probably will not need any release agent. The Signature Writer (R) Surface may be cleaned with a tooth brush and soap & water, but should not be heated in the dish washer or with a heat gun. The surface is good to about 250 F but after that can be damaged by heat. This surface is super durable for 1000s of clear crisp marks in clay but be careful not to drop on a concrete floor, that can damage the detail areas of the stamp. The pewter handles are cast in lead free pewter, the whole stamp including handle and surface are made in USA. The Signature Writer (R) Surface is a trademark of Socwell LLC (exclusively sold at www.4clay.com), and is a hard black synthetic resin (not metal) that is laser cut with your design. The Signature Writer (R) Surface we find holds more detail than brass, wood, or acrylic stamps for marking into soft clay. Note that the Signature Writer (R) Surface is water proof, which works great for marking clay in a production environment, but also means it will not work with potter's pads for liquid underglaze transfer. Most production potter's choose this surface for production of mugs with logos, etc.

The Signature Writer (R) Surface is the best we make, and in our opinion perhaps the best available. Just don't drop on a concrete floor, dry with a heat gun, or let you dog play with it...those are the 3 most common ways to damage the surface. Otherwise they last for years of stamping into clay.

We use the following fonts which have been tested many times and work well for marking clay. If you just need text layout, let us know which of these fonts you like the best and we can setup a free proof layout.

fonts that work well for clay stamps

Historical Examples Of Stamps & Maker's Marks

The process of using a laser to transfer your design into a custom clay stamp is new technology. But the idea of using stamp tools to decorate clay artwork is very old.   On a recent research trip, I found examples of clay stamp tools in a small village museum of Anghiari, Italy which date from several hundred years ago.   These artists from years gone by desired the same result we do today, to create a repeatable texture or image that can be used to mark or decorate our clay work before the clay is dry.

Customer examples made using our clay stamps

Clay mark by permission of Cindy Koehring
Clay mark by permission of Cindy Koehring
Clay mark by permission of Potter's Fire LLC
Clay mark by permission of Potter's Fire LLC
mark in clay by permission of Jade Everett
Clay mark by permission of Jade Everett
Clay mark by permission of Jared Kaup
Clay mark by permission of Jared Kaup
mark in clay by permission of Mikel Kelley
Clay mark by permission of Mikel Kelley
Clay mark by permission of Vitrified Studio
Clay mark by permission of Vitrified Studio
mark in clay by permission of Yvette @ EasyFindings
Clay mark by permission of Yvette @ EasyFindings
Clay mark by permission of Derek Soohoo
Clay mark by permission of Derek Soohoo
British royal mark in clay Clay mark by permission of Beth Katz
Clay mark by permission of Beth Katz
Clay mark by permission of Cindy Koehring
Clay mark copyright (c) Cindy Koehring 2017

I use www.4clay.com for my custom stamps, they can make just about any logo or signature stamp you could come up with. I like the wood stamps, they don't stick to the wet clay. " - Paula Patton 2012

Ceramic Mug made by Bruce Johnston using clay stamp for logo

Example of the clay stamp creation process as done by the Brandee Ross Pottery.

I just wanted to send a note to thank you for your quick turnaround and wonderful product. Attached are a few photos of my new stamp at work. I love it!

- Brandee Ross Pottery

Stamp mark made using a Signature Writer 3/4" stamp, with pewter handle.

example marks in clay
Our three stamps came in the mail today...
Again, thank you for your kind and speedy professional service...
We went directly to the studio, rolled out a slab of clay and stamped away...they are just perfect....
crisp, easy to read, and sized just right. We are happy potters...

Jan and Bob Garrett
Garrett Pottery