Marsha Smith shows you how to make decorative rubber stamps, which can be used to create your own wrapping paper, gift tags and cards.
There’s something quite special about a lovingly created handmade gift, even if it’s simply the wrapping paper or card. Stamping is a great way to add a personal touch, and it’s even more satisfying when you make your own stamps, like these easily crafted cacti ones.
What you’ll need
Template drawing (see page 187) Pencil Soft rubber stamping blocks Linoleum carving tools (‘U’ and ‘V’ gouge) Water-based printing ink Palette (flat tray or piece of plastic or glass) Rubber brayer (roller) Plain wrapping paper/cards/tags
1 Photocopy the template provided, increasing it to 110 per cent, or use your own artwork. If drawing your own design, make sure it is not too small, as it will be tricky to cut. Remember that images and any lettering will stamp in reverse, so think about how it will look on the paper. You don’t want to have a design that reads backwards when stamped! 2 Rub the entire back of your design with pencil. Place the design, face up, onto the centre of your rubber stamping block and redraw over the lines of the design. Lift it off – the image should now be transferred onto the rubber. 3 Using your V-shaped carving tool, carve over the pencil lines on the stamp. Then use the larger U-shaped tool to carve away the rubber around the outside of your design, so you are left with a raised image of the cactus (see pic, right). Don’t worry about how messy these surrounding areas look as they will not print.
NOTE: Take your time when cutting. For best results, try holding your tool at a 45-degree angle and never cut towards yourself! Cut away from your design, too, in case you slip and ruin your stamp.
4 When the stamp is ready, squirt a spoonful of ink onto the palette and roll the brayer through it (in a back and forth motion) until it is evenly coated. 5 Use the brayer to lay a thin coat of ink on the surface of the stamp. It is now that you’ll see any areas of the block that still need cutting. If there is ink on bits that you don’t want on your print, simply use your tool to carve them off. 6 Being careful not to touch the surface of the inked block, turn it over and stamp down onto your paper, card or tag. Use a reasonable amount of pressure when pushing down – the palm of your hand works well. Lift and repeat until your design is complete.
NOTE: It’s best not to try multiple stamping at once as there will not be enough ink coverage. You need to roll over a fresh layer of ink every time you stamp.
Try random patterns and angles or measure and grid up your paper prior to stamping by making a small pencil mark where you’d like your stamp to appear. Don’t worry if some of the prints are less saturated than others, as imperfections make your design unique and authentic. 7 Once you have finished stamping, peg up your creation and leave to dry for at least 24 hours before handling. 8 The great thing about stamping with water-based ink is that you can simply clean your stamp in cold water, let it dry and then use it again and again. You might like to try multiple colours or frame up a unique piece of stamp artwork. There are many ways to use your stamps, but most importantly, have fun and, remember, perfect is boring!
You might like to try different colours or frame up a unique piece of stamp artwork!
For the cacti templates as used here, please turn to page 187.