Feb 22, 2011

Stampity Stamp-stamp

Stamp. Ssssss-TAMP!
That's what happy stampers sound like. I'm one of 'em.

Since recently  I was sick and gross (and tired and lazy), the sewing machine made too much noise for my liking so I found a quiet activity. Well, cleaning is a quiet activity too, but clearly I couldn't do that either!

I knew I wanted some sort of stamp for the Etsy shop so I decided to try out making my own.  And it came out great!

I hopped on over to MrArt.com and ordered some carving tools as well as some rubber-ish carving blocks. I used the "pink stuff" -- Speedball Speedy Carve blocks -- because I heard it's good for beginners. I certainly was not about to try real linonium blocks.

(SIDE NOTE: There are tons of different materials out there. Just search for "softoleum," E-Z cut printing blocks, Safety Kut, or just about any arts/crafts store or site, and look under block printing, printmaking, stamp making, etc.  There's also some really neat-looking styrofoam-type stuff so kids can "carve" their stamp with the back of a pen or something like that. No cutting!)

Design your stamp: I used the same design from my fabric labels and played around with it on Word. Print out your image.

Transfer to carving block: I used a pencil to draw over the lines on the image. Use plenty of pressure so you can get a good amount of graphite on the design. Now place your design on top of the block (right-side down) and rub the design from the back of the paper.

Darken image (optional): The second time around I found it easier to carve if I go over the transfered graphite image with a dark pen or marker before carving.

Carve: Important to carve away from you! (and away from the design too). You don't need to dig deep at all and it's best to take off a tiny little smidge at a time (rather than trying to make deep grooves each time)

At this point, you're pretty much done. Go ahead and stamp your design so you can see what you need to fix. You can go back and carve away any areas you don't want inked.

I was lucky enough that I didn't accidentally cut off any letters, considering this was my first try! I mostly just had to carve away the extra junk around the print and clean up some of the letters.

If you look at the 3rd print, there is still "gunk" on the outside, but I think I like it.... it looks like wood grain!

Lessons learned
  • get good tools.... sharp helps!
  • cut AWAY from you and the design
  • lay block on flat surface for carving
  • have some good music for listening... you might be a while
The pink stuff is a little rubbery, kinda stretchy, so there were some parts that were tricky because they sort of stretched away from me rather than cut away, but I think that also has to do with my tools being a little dull.

Also, I imagine stiffer, less stretch material might make for cleaner, crisper stamps & might hold up better over time. Dunno. This is the only stuff I've used.

Anyway, I definitely like my new stamps.

This week, I linked up over at Someday Crafts. Go check 'em out!

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