How to Refill Pre-Inked Stamps

By Regina Edwards

Updated September 26, 2017

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Pre-inked stamps and self-inking stampers provide a convenient, self-contained tool for consistently marking documents and correspondence. Pre-inked stamps can be customized for a return address or signature or can include an adjustable section for the date. Don't throw away your personalized stamps once they run dry. The stampers contain an interior pad or ink container that can easily be refilled. Be careful not to overfill the pad or ink container, as the pre-inked stamp doesn't use much ink.

Pre-Inked Stamps

Remove the cap from the ink refill bottle.

Hold the stamper upside down so that the impression is facing up.

Dispense three to four drops of ink on the surface of the impression and allow the sponge to absorb the ink.

Replace the cap on the ink bottle and place the stamper in a cup or small vase overnight with the impression side facing up.

Blot the impression surface gently with a paper towel to remove excess ink before using.

Built-in Ink Pads

Remove the cap from the ink bottle.

Remove the top of the stamper mechanism to expose the ink reservoirs. Some stampers have an ink pad just below the cap that slides out; the top of other stamps require pushing a release mechanism on the sides of the cap to expose the ink wells.

Place three to five drops of ink into each reservoir or ink pad. Note: Some stampers have ink reservoirs on each side of the stamper.

Reassemble the stamper cover or slide the ink pad back in place.

Allow the ink to soak into the pad for 3 hours.

Stamp a blank sheet of paper two or three times with the stamper before using to remove excess ink from the impression and to check that the ink is evenly distributed in the pad.

Items you will need

  • Ink refill

  • Cup or vase

  • Paper towel

  • Optional: eyedropper


It's better to add a few drops of ink than to oversaturate the ink pad. When initially refilling a stamper, dispense two or three drops of ink only. The Des Moines Stamp Manufacturing Company reports that each re-inking produces a few thousand impressions.


Don't mix ink types (such as oil-based ink and water-based ink) or colors (such as red and blue) when refilling, because the ink pad will still contain original ink.