I love stamp carving. It is so relaxing and you get something you can use over and over again in your creative projects.
Many of you creatives out there can create amazing and intricate designs stamp carving. I, on the other hand, need to keep it simple. Which shows that, even the simplest design can create a fantastic stamp very easily.
Inspiration for your designs can come from anywhere. The flower stamp that I made previous to creating this video, and which I use as a basis, and to create a more complete piece for my leaf stamp, has been inspired by a pattern on toilet paper!! Well, it still works for me! No one needs to know!
In this tutorial, I am showing you how to easily create your own stamps using a Speedball stamp carving kit. I have tried lino and find it too tricky and fiddly, very hard to control your design carving. With the Speedball kit, on the other hand, it’s as easy as carving butter from the tub! So I have always stuck with it. For smaller designs, you can use plastic erasers, but you will still need carving tools.
- a Speedbal Stamp Making Kit
- tracing paper
- a 2B pencil
- scrap paper and ink pad to test your stamps
I am starting by drawing my design, either directly on the carving block or on the tracing paper. If you are using a photo or any other patterned object, place the tracing paper on top, and trace the outline of the design you wish to create as a stamp. I am using a 2B graphite pencil; as it is quite a soft lead, it will transfer easily. Once you have drawn your design on the tracing paper, turn it over and retrace over your lines for the graphite to transfer onto the carving block. The pattern will show in reverse on your block. If you want the pattern to show the original way, then trace over your lines placing the tracing paper on some scrap paper, then turn your tracing paper over and trace over your original lines.
Once your design is on the carving block, you need to decide on how you want the design to show when stamped.
If you carve over your lines, they will not be printed when inked. Only your negative space will be printed. If this is the effect you’re looking for, you need to ensure that you cut your carving block neatly around your design, as it will be printed. The advantage of this method is that, first, you can cut your block any shape you like or can manage (circle, heart, square…) as long as your carved design fully fits into the shape. The second advantage is that it allows you to colour in your design once stamped. You could, for instance, cut your block into a circle, and carve a heart inside it. If you carve only the lines, then your heart will show as negative space; if you also carve the inside of the heart, it will allow you to colour it in any way you like.
If, on the other hand, you carve around the lines, then the outlines of your design will show when stamped on your projects.
You can also, of course, use both methods, if your design allows it, which creates more intricate and interesting patterns. You need to remember that, the smaller your piece of carving block it, the harder it will be to control the carving of your designs (like when I carve the little heart on my left over block).
I am carving a leaf design to go with the flower stamp I previously created. Then, with the other part of my block piece, I am creating a bumpy lines leaf.
Once your design is carved, cut out the excess block with scissors or craft knife (make sure you use a protective mat underneath). I then test my stamps by inking them. First, it enables me to look if there are any unwanted parts that I need to carve out (or else they will show on my projects when stamped). Then, I press my stamp on some paper to see how the design will show. I am then tidying the design on my stamp with the cutters. The Speedball kit contains 2 blades, one for details and another one for thicker lines. I go back and forth between the 2, depending on how much of the block I want to carve out.
I am also testing them together, stamping the flower with the leaf, and adding some colour with my Pablo colouring pencils.
Once I’m happy with the designs of my stamps, I will wash them using a baby wipe. It is particularly important if you use acrylic/craft paint (which will leave dry residue on your stamps and alter you design), or water-reactive media (it will mix with any new medium you will use next). You can also soak them in tepid soapy water.
Most of the time, I will use my stamps with Archival ink, which is waterproof once dry. In that case, I just won’t bother washing them.
I got my Speedball carving kit from Amazon, and you can also buy the carving blocks on their own (various sizes are available) once you have used up all the block that comes with the kit.
As you can see in the second part of the video tutorial, you can use your scraps to make small easy designs, so don’t put them in the bin. You can always find a use for them!