October 23, 2013

DIY Rubber stamps

A few weeks ago I came across a beautiful and captivating book on rubber stamps. The front cover was enough to make me buy it, and after flicking through the pages I was totally hooked. The book is Geninne D. Zlatkis "Making an impression", and it's about making your own rubber stamps, with lots of tutorials, ideas, templates and so on. She gets inspiration from nature and translate her interpretation of it into beautiful stamps.
The process of rubber carving is quite straightforward, as long as the design is simple and not too intricate. There are many tools and materials available, of higher quality and more professional than the ones I used, but as I didn't want to wait, I just used what I had handy.
This is what I used to carve my own stamps.
  • small cutting mat
  • some scrap paper to try out my designs
  •  HB pencil
  • craft knife ( I used a Jakar swivel knife)
  • retractable knife
  • Some plastic erasers
  • ink pads in various colours
The first thing I did, was to ink the eraser surface, let it dry for a few minutes, gently wash it with water and let it dry again. This preparation process will become handy when cutting the design.
While the eraser surface was drying up, I tried various designs on a piece of scrap paper, bearing in mind the size of my plastic erasers. Once I was happy with the design, I copied it onto the eraser's surface. This is the easiest way of trasferring your picture. For more complicated ones, I would suggest using tracing paper.
Using the craft knife, I marked the outline of my design and with the retractable knife I started cutting deeper and taking out the rubber around the picture. This is the most delicate part of the entire process; the more careful you are, the better your rubber stamp will be, especially if you are dealing with round surfaces. The coloured surface of the rubber will help showing the cuts. Now, the best way of doing this would be to use a lino cutter tool, if you have one.
You can try out your stamps during the cutting process, to see whether you need to cut more or make adjustment.
Once you are happy with the results, just ink it and start stamping. I'm telling you, it's addictive...I'm stamping everywhere!

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