How to Make Handmade Stamps
I’ve been wanting to try making my own stamps for a while, but it wasn’t until this weekend that I finally got around to it. I think I made it harder than it really was in my head, so I kept putting it off. In the end it wasn’t really difficult, though it did give me a new found appreciation for the artisans that make handmade stamps for a living. I don’t think I’d be able to match their craftsmanship especially on the much smaller stamps, which my hands have a harder time of maneuvering because of the fibro. My son on the other hand dove into trying out a more intricate design.
In preparation for this project I purchased the book, Making an Impression: Designing & Creating Artful Stamps, by Geninne Zlatkis. Not only was this book rated one of the best craft and hobby books of 2012 by Amazon, but I really loved the designs and projects inside. It also provided some very easy and straight forward instructions to making your own hand carved stamps for the first time. And it has some pretty nice templates that you can use to create your own stamps. I also purchased a Speedball Linoleum Cutter Assortment because I wanted the option of different carving tips and two Speedball 4-Inch-by- 6-Inch Speedy-Carve Carving Blocks which can easily be cut in half and used. However, if you’re not quite sure if stamping is right for you, you can buy a Speedball Speedy Carve Stamp Making Kit for right around $10 with free shipping. It includes Includes one sheet of rubber, a wooden handle, one cutter tip, one gouge tip, tracing paper and instructions.
I was stubborn and chose to not use tracing paper since I wasn’t at the point where I wanted to try lettering. Instead, I drew my design right onto the rubber block. I did take some advice from the book, however, and stamped the top of the rubber block with a colored ink pad so I had a better idea of what I was removing when I cut and what I was leaving behind. The rubber blocks were very easy to cut with the rubber blocks I purchased and the tools so there wasn’t much effort like there is if you’re carving wooden blocks for printmaking.
My son chose to cut his rubber block in half and made two stamps. He etched his first stamp with a flower rather than making deeper cuts into the rubber. This allowed for a more detailed look, but you had to be careful not to press the stamp too hard onto the paper or the image would smear.
I knew I wanted to use my hand carved stamps on surfaces other than just plain paper, so I purchased a Full-Size StazOn Multi-Surface Inkpad in black along with some Glassine Wax Paper Bags which I’ve been using to wrap soaps and purchases from my shop in. The StazOn ink works on virtually every surface without rubbing off making it perfect for waxed paper bags. You just have to be sure to allow the ink to dry thoroughly. I bought the black which was really dark and vivid.
I folded over a 5″ x 7″ glassine bag that I stamped with my hand carved butterfly design to package a bar of soap. Then I wrapped washi tape around the top edges and tied it closed with a bit of Baker’s Twine. The bags can be used in a number of ways and would make really great handmade favor bags for parties and weddings. Or use your own hand stamped bags to wrap your small handmade gifts and soaps in for Mother’s Day or to dress up simple gift tags!
Don’t feel limited by the rubber blocks for making stamps though. You can also use rubber erasers or wine corks to create your own handmade stamps. And definitely don’t feel limited by paper and envelopes! You can also use your freshly carved rubber stamps to decorate your cold process soaps!