Monday, February 11, 2013

Stamp Carving Tutorial

I’ve been using rubber stamps in arts and crafts for almost 14 years (gosh!) and have been carving my own for 2-3 years. I’m no pro, but I like what I make. Today I was supposed to use some of my latest carvings to make Valentines with my friend, and she was curious about how I make my stamps. We never did get to make Valentines, we ended up chatting about a million other things instead, but later I decided to carve a new stamp, and make a tutorial.
First I gather my materials. I have the classic stamp carving tool, available at almost all major craft stores, and a stash of erasers. I’ve bought the stamp blanks before, and honestly I like a lot of erasers better, and they’re way cheaper! I usually get erasers at various dollar sections, dollar stores, etc. So far the three pack pictured below of blue and white style is my favorite, and is most like the stamp blanks the craft store sells. I found them at Dollar Tree.
I also get some paper, usually an index card, and regular pencil. First I trace the eraser onto the paper, so I know exactly what size I’m dealing with. P2115843
Then I draw out my design, making sure to leave space on each side.
Then I use the bottom edge of the carving tool, and burnish the design onto the eraser. I just carefully line up the eraser to my outline, then hold my design face down and rub gently.
Then I make sure the design transferred well and lightly pencil on any pieces that got missed, or are just so light they might rub off while I work.
Then I just start carving. Usually I start with the number 2 blade, and just work. Here’s some shots of the carving as I go. I do switch to a number 1 (super tiny) as needed, like in the curly part of the ribbon on this balloon.

After the design is mostly ready I do a test stamp. Usually I use a marker to ink JUST the design area, but to show you what is and what isn’t carved I just used an inkpad. What’s red is uncarved.
I check the stamped image for any errors, lines where there should not be lines, uneven lines, gaps in the carving. Lines can be adjusted, but gaps or breaks in the image means it’s no good. I have to either change the design or trash it. I smooth and fix any errors that show up, then I use some of the wider blades to smooth the carving and then the slicing blade to cut away extra material.
Usually at this point it’s done! I stamp another test image, and if any errors show up I fix them, and if not I’m ready to craft!
Here’s the three stamps I did for Valentine’s Day this year.

If you carve any stamps I’d LOVE to see them! Hope this inspires you to make your own seasonal stamps!

This post has been shared in several link ups. Including Making the World Cuter Monday, Mad Skills, and Make Your Own Monday. Be sure to check them out for lots of other neat ideas, some seasonal and some not.  

1 comment:

  1. Very cool idea. I've never thought of carving my own beyond potato stamps ;-) Thanks for sharing!


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