This time, we’re going to focus on stamp making. There are tons of different ways to make stamps (and some argue that anything is a stamp if you try hard enough), but I’ll focus on three types here. Not all of them are super duper easy, and some are a bit of a challenge, but they’re all completely doable if you’re up for trying something new and fun.
Foam Sheet stamps
What you’ll need: pen/pencil, sheet of foam, paint/ink, paper
Step One: Decide on what to make a stamp of. Any size works, but it’s nice to start small. For this this type of stamp, what you’ll be drawing onto the foam will be the white, untouched line art on your stamp. Also, whenever making stamps, keep in mind that whatever you make will come out backwards on the other side! You can make your foam stamp as simple or as detailed as you’d like.
Step Two: Using a blunt pencil or a pen (if it’s too sharp, it’ll cut through your foam), draw out what you want on your stamp. You can go over it lightly first and then a second time to make an impression, or just do the impression immediately if you trust yourself. Press hard enough to make a mark, but not too hard or you’ll break your foam.
Step Three: Put paint or ink on your new stamp (not too much) and press your stamp onto the paper. Press firmly onto your stamp making sure the whole thing makes contact with the paper. Be careful not to move it around or your print will be messy.
Step Four: Carefully remove stamp from paper and there you go, your first print! Don’t be discouraged if the first isn’t perfect. It took me tons of trial and error with the amount of paint and pressure to get it right. You can rinse off your stamp and try again. Never surrender to the stamp gods!
What you’ll need: potato, knife, exacto knife, paint/ink, paper, pen/pencil
Step One: Get yourself a nice big potato and cut that sucker in half. Now for this stamp, you’re going to want to choose something simple. A letter or shape would be best. And remember, it’s going to come out backwards on your paper!
Step Two: If you try hard enough, you can use a pen/pencil to draw out what you want on the potato first. Sometimes it doesn’t work out too well, but you can just make an impression with your pen in the potato before cutting it out with the exacto knife. Or you can just start cutting! Go for it! It’s just a potato.
Step Three: Either apply your liquid to the potato or dip it in whatever medium you’re using (paint is easier, but you can make some awesome effects with ink), then start stamping away. The cool thing about potato stamps is that the more you use them, the more they erode and change. So stamp like crazy and see what you can get!
What you’ll need: block of lino, lino cutter, printing ink, pencil, paper, ink roller, pan
Step One: As always with stamps, decide what you’re going to make before you start carving. Especially with linocut, you’re going to want to plan this one out. Linocut is a very different type of stamp, wherein what you’re cutting out isn’t going to be the stamp. Try searching “linocut” on Pinterest for some examples to wrap your brain around what you have to do. I’d suggest making something small for your first one to get used to the process.
Step Two: Using a pencil, draw your idea onto your linocut, always keeping in mind that it’s going to be backwards when you print it. Take your time with this step and include any detail you want, as it will make the carving part a lot easier.
Step Three: The fun begins! Start carving the lino, and the enjoy the lovely relaxing feeling. I personally love carving and enjoy how smooth it feels. Don’t rush through it – you can’t really undo a bad spot. Remember to carve deep enough that the ink won’t be able to touch the parts you’re getting rid of.
Step Four: All done carving? Time to make some prints then! Get a flat surface that’s easily washable (I used an old metal pan) and put some printing ink on it. Take your ink roller and roll that sucker until it’s totally covered. When you start hearing that beautifully sticky sound, you’re good to go. Roll the ink onto your stamp and make sure you cover every part of it.
Step Five: Carefully take your paper and lay it on top of your stamp. Press firmly on every part of your paper to make sure that ink makes contact with it everywhere, but be careful not to move it around. When you think you’re good, slowly peel back your paper to reveal your first print! Yay! You can probably get another print or two out of that round of ink depending on how much you put on, so feel free to try again. If not, reapply ink to your stamp and then continue. Or wash off your lino and try some different ink. You can make endless prints with your lino stamp, which is why it’s my favourite kind of stamp to make.
That’s all for now! Check back in a little while for part three of craft time, and until then, try out one! I’d love to see some stamp creations. Get crazy. Stamp everything. Don’t hold back. Try different textured paper. Try new surfaces. Try new colours of ink. If you have some stamp techniques or tips, or do things a different way, feel free to share them in the comments or on Twitter. Happy crafting!