3D printed QR code stamps

Update: watch the movie for a 1 minute to see what this is all about:


If you’re not familiar with QR codes they are basically a new form of bar code. With any camera phone and the right software you can take a picture of the QR code and it will take you to a website for example. You can try it now with the QR code above and one of these tools.

QR codes were supposed to be the next big thing: a bridge between the real world and the web. You could put the codes anywhere and people could then save the information on their phones for later or find out more about a building, a t-shirt at that moment. Like human tetris and tentacles QR codes are currently only really mainstream in Japan though. 

FluidForms a while back made a QR code Belt buckle and inspired by them we decided to do something QR codes too.

I made a 3D printed QR code stamp, now I can stamp anywhere and people can take a photograph of the stamp and will then be directed to my website.

Here’s how I did it:

1. I went to a QR code generator, typed in the URL and got my QR code.

2. I opened the saved image in the Gimp and flipped it to horizontal(under image-transform).

3. Uploaded it to the Shapeways Stampmaker, ticked the for use with light box and ordered it for $25.

4. Shapeways 3D prints the stamp and ten days later I get it, and now I can stamp my QR code anywhere.

The whole thing took me 10 minutes.

This is what you get from Shapeways, a 3D printed flexible stamp sheet, 9 by 13cm. We also give you a small acrylic block to use as a back for the stamp, the stamp sticks to the block but you can remove it and exchange it for other stamps if you want.

You also will need stamp ink pad. You can use any ink you like. I made my QR code very large, so I needed to use a bigger block than the one I got for free but you could just make smaller QR codes and place lots of them on the image that is to be Stampmaker-ed.

Here’s how the scanning of the stamp works:

Arno has a Nokia E71 and it has barcode tool on the phone as standard(menu-tools-barcode). He could read my stamps virtually all the time on lots of different surfaces. Here is a list of Nokia phones that come standard with the Nokia barcode reader. The page also shows you where you can download other readers for any other smartphones for free. I downloaded QR Reader for the Iphone and paid a buck for it, I was not as lucky with that tool as it only worked rarely.

ProTip: you do in all cases have to apply pressure slowly but surely and be careful not to move the stamp sideways while stamping. If you have a lot of light areas or gaps in the resulting stamp then it will not work. Some porous & uneven surfaces are hard to do. Smooth concrete works fine, uneven concrete is hard. Steel girders, smooth walls, painted walls, painted floors, tile, board, tables, plastic, paper all work well. Enjoy.

Although we’d really like for you guys to try this out, please be aware that we only advocate using the Shapeways Stampmaker to stamp your own property, and accept no liability la di da da etc..



  1. Stewart McKie

    Joris – This is a great tip! QR codes are one of the tag formats we support at Vizitag.com so I’ll be referring people to this post from our blog at vizitag.blogspot.com.

    1. Joris

      Sweet! I really think this could be a lot of fun for a lot of people. I’ll add a video to the post as soon as my camera is re-charged.


  2. Bart Veldhuizen

    That’s an amazing idea, thanks! I’m getting all inspired for crazy applications already :)

    1. Kev

      Awesome – I just created one at *http://www.vizitag.com*. You can do much more than simply redirect to 1 URL. When you snap mine, you can either join my *Facebook* page, visit my *MySpace* or check out my favorite *YouTube* video! ;)

  3. Andreas Jaritz

    Hi everybody!

    It’s great to see that QR Codes start to go off in Europe and that Shapeways was inspired by Fluid Forms ;) to drop into the QR thing. QR Codes are great stuff!

    Did you know that with the next generation of QR Codes you can already encode whole music tracks and even videos (without connecting to the Internet with your mobile!!! AWESOME)

    For those of you who like to learn more about QR Codes check out this list to QR Code sources:

    Besides your QR Stamp and our QR Belt Buckle, there is more stuff to be discovered boosting QR Codes to the next level – a QR Ring and QR Code Cuff Links:

    Cheers and good luck!

  4. Meg Loven

    VERY cool use of rubber stamps!! Love this idea, although sad for me that the iPhone app didn’t perform better. Maybe soon :-)

    A tip on the actual stamping:
    For stamping on paper or other porous paper-like surfaces, dye-based inks work great.
    For stamping on fabric, you’ll want to use a heat-set ink like Stampin’ Up!’s Craft Ink.
    For stamping on glass or ceramic surfaces, the best choice is an alcohol-based ink, like Staz-On.

    Happy Stamping!!

    1. Joris

      Thank you so much for the tips!

      To be honest the last time I stamped, before we started playing with the Stampmakers, was when I used to take a nap in the middle of the school day. We had blue mats, milk, wooden blocks and very little in the way of deadlines.

      Anyway..I’ll be sure to try out your suggestions. We are looking for a stamping tutorial by the by…

  5. Dude

    Dang..I want to hide these QR codes everywhere…like on the sides of buildings…a new era aofgraffiti has begun!

    1. Dread Knight

      I have the same *evil* thoughts. I hope these weird looking stamps won’t cover just about any surface, because nobody might bother at all after a while.

    2. Andreas Jaritz

      Evil thoughts? YES! Let’s “hide” QR Codes everywhere and start with….

      Let’s say a steely bum (bottom)?


      Check out this hilarious *QR Code Laser Cut video*:


      Cheers and have fun watching the video!

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