Victorian Tintype-Look with Rubber Stamps

Tintype photography is going through something of an artistic revival. I recently sat for a tintype portrait myself, and found the process (which I was able to watch) and result fascinating. Here is a way to recreate the look of a tintype with rubber stamps. You’ll need a piece of coated metallic card stock. A warm silver-color should work well. You’ll also want black and silver pigment inks.


Stamp the image you want to use on the metallic card stock in black pigment ink and trim it to size (you’ll want it to look like a small photograph). I used Lady 1 by Nature’s Blessings Fine Art Stamps.

Next, using a small sponge dauber, shade the edges and corners a bit with the same black ink. It doesn’t need to look perfectly regular, in fact if you make it a bit smudged and irregular that is a better effect. You can even wipe off the ink here and there in the corners to reproduce the look of the tintype emulsion.

You can also distress the image itself by smudging a bit of the black ink here and there. If you wish, you can add some mid-tone highlights on top of the dark areas with silver pigment ink. I did so mostly on the back of the lady’s hair.

The pigment ink may not dry to the point that it doesn’t rub off with a bit of pressure. This will depend on the kind of paper and ink you end up using. If this is the case, coat your image with a light spray of clear acrylic and let it dry and that should prevent smearing.

I completed my card by stamping Chrysanthemum in silver on black card stock, and mounting my tintype on top. The overall effect ended up very Victorian! I decided to go with it, and added a “missing you” sentiment in silver ink.

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