The technique I am covering today is a more advanced version of stamp making as it really is a form of relief printmaking. Relief printing simply means that you cut away from what you don't want and only print the raised areas. But, if you bear with me the future posts will involve easier stamping techniques. (Side note: printmaking has a rich history worldwide. For some interesting history and information on other forms of printmaking check this out.) However, with only a few tools and materials you can make your own custom stamps that will last forever, unlike those potatoes!
Here's what you need:
- Pencils -- HB for drawing and 4B or 6B for transfering (it's OK if you don't have these)
- Ink Pad
- Speedball lino cutter tool
- Speedball cutters
- Speedball Speedy-Cut or Speedy-Carve block
Okay, so Step One: Design your stamp! Doodle a bunch of ideas on paper. Make it the size you want it to be, or shrink down your design with a photocopier if you have access to one. A good starting size would be two to three inches long. For your first time using the carving tools, you'll want to keep your design fairly simple, without much intricacy. My design is fairly intricate, so don't use mine as a guideline for detail!!
Step Three: To transfer your image, simply place it face down on your Speedy-Cut, hold in place, and rub the back of the paper all over the design with your fingernail. When you lift up, your design will have been transfered! Photo three shows my transfer. If you have transfer paper, by all means use that! Just remember that on the Speedy-Cut, your design must be the mirror image of your drawing.
Safety First! Avoid accidental impailment by carving away from your body. This includes keeping your face away from the carving tool, and not carving towards the inside of your hand. Also, keep your Speedy-Cut on a grippy surface like a table, not a slippy surface like a piece of paper. You should be fine. This is a fairly safe version of carving!
Step Five: Keep carving until you've carved away everything but your image. If your image is much smaller than your piece of Speedy-Cut, you can cut out your image with scissors, an exacto knife, or your straight edge cutter tool. This will save the rest of your piece so you can make more than one stamp with your Speedy-Cut!
Once you are happy with your stamp, you can keep it forever and put it on Christmas cards, business cards, or marked papers (for you teachers out there!) Here are some examples of other carvings I have designed and carved for holiday cards.
You can see I left a texture behind the basic heart design for interest, as well as a border. I'm not sure if the texture thing has an official term, so please tell me if you know it, but I like the way it adds some interest and energy to a design. The peguin is a south pole penguin on holiday visiting the north pole, which is why he is wearing aviator sunglasses :)
One more thing you can do to make the stamping process easier is super glue a wood block to the back of your carving for easier grip and stamping.