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Mar­sha Smith shows you how to make dec­o­ra­tive rub­ber stamps, which can be used to cre­ate your own wrap­ping pa­per, gift tags and cards.

Australian Women’s Weekly NZ - - CONTENTS -

get stamp­ing!

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.

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