How To Make a DIY Carved Rubber Stamp
Editor’s Note: If you’re looking to get even more stamping skills, check out our online workshop:
Sketchbook Adventures: Build Your Creative Skills and Confidence as You Explore Your Life Through Making Art.
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Now onto Lisa:
You don’t have to be an artist or know how to paint or draw to fill your sketchbook pages with interesting, personal and well-designed work. The exercises and prompts take anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes to complete and you’ll work at your own pace throughout the course so you don’t need a huge chunk of time to uncover your artistic genius and create works of art on paper that are not only beautiful but are also personal expressions of your unique experience.
2006 was a great year for me, craft wise. I had recently discovered a gem of a website that provided a platform for makers to sell their handmade goods (Etsy!), and I found myself more and more smitten with all of the wonderful craft blogs that were popping up. Though I had many friends through work and school, I didn’t know anyone else (personally) who stayed up well into the night working on a sewing project or trying to learn crochet by watching the same youtube video 20 times over. Reading craft blogs and browsing Etsy made me feel less strange. There were other people out there just like me, and I felt encouraged to take an active role in nurturing my creativity by learning new skills.
2006 was also the first time I had tried my hand at stamp carving, based on a tutorial I had seen on someone’s blog. And I failed heroically. I wanted to keep it simple by carving a silhouette of an elephant’s head but it turned out remarkably phallic, and I sliced open two of my fingers. My roommate thought it was hilarious, and for a week or two no piece of mail or random paper in the apartment was safe from unfortunate stamping.
It turns out that the right tools and carving rubber and a simple design make all the difference. I hope you enjoy this tutorial. It’s the one I wish I had read when I was first learning!
what to get:
–Carving rubber (I used speedball’s speedy carve)
–Carving tool, with #1 and #5 blades (also speedball)
-Plain white paper
-Stamp pad – these come in a pack of assorted colors and are under $10!
-Craft knife – we love this one
-Wooden disc or block – these are great (optional)
-Strong adhesive – this is one of the toughest glues around! (optional)
-Muslin bag – these ones are perfect (optional)
what to do:
1. Draw your simple design on a piece of paper, and cut out. Use your ruler for approximate design dimension and use your craft knife to cut a piece of carving rubber. For example, my design was 1.75”, so I cut out a piece of rubber that was 2.”
2. Place your design face down on to your carving rubber, and burnish the back of your design with your fingernail or an eraser. Carefully lift up on side of the paper to see how well it transferring, and keep burnishing as needed.
3. Once you’re happy with your transfer, put the #1 blade on to your carving tool and slowly cut along the outside of the transferred design. Keep in mind that we are cutting away the negative space (the part of your design that you do not want stamped on a surface).
4. After you’ve cut along the outside of the design, place your #5 (larger) blade on to your carving tool and finish carving away all of the negative space around the outside of your design.
5. Please note that this next step is totally optional, but I believe that it leads to a cleaner, more professional finish to your stamp. Using a craft knife, gently even out your negative space with a shallow cut parallel to the surface of your carving rubber.
6. Next, place your #1 blade on to your cutting tool and carve out the letters. The lettering I incorporated in this design only required a single, shallow pass of the carving tool. Super easy!
7. When you’ve finished carving your design, brush/blow off any rubber dust and ink your stamp with a basic dye ink pad to do a sample print. If any parts of your rubber showed up in your test print that you did not intend, carve away until you get a nice, clean print!
I like to mount my custom stamps to a wooden block. Not only does it look fantastic, but it provides even pressure when you press down on your stamp. To do this, use your craft knife to cut away any rubber that won’t fit on the surface of your wooden block (I had to make my square into a circle), and use a strong adhesive, like super glue, epoxy or E6000. Don’t forget to stamp the top of your wooden surface before you glue down your rubber!
Wouldn’t this make the cutest gift?!
-Making shallow cuts allows for more control over the cutting tool, especially for beginners. Make sure that you are cutting at less than a 45 degree angle.
-Always cut away from yourself. Seems obvious, but, you know!
-Navigate curves easily by rotating your rubber and not your cutting tool while carving. It sometimes helps to place a piece of paper underneath your carving rubber to make turning super easy.
-For a beginner, I recommend sticking with a simple word or short phrase inside of a basic geometric shape, like the design above.
Great tutorial! I shared on my page and pinned. Thanks!
I remember making stamps in school and without a doubt slicing into several fingers so definitely cut away from yourself and any other body parts you intend to keep. Thanks for the tutorial!
Very useful tutorial! I will definitely be trying this out! I’ve been thinking about trying out making my own stamps for a while and this has made it so much easier. Thanks! 🙂
Thanks so much for the tutorial! With your advice I easily made my first stamp for my blooming business.
ok now I am going to try the tutorial from you .. thanks for sharing knowledge
Thank you. It was a simple but very informative write up.
Thanks for the excellent tutorial. I’m wondering, where do you get the wood base for the finished stamp?
Where did you find your craft knife and tips?
You can purchase them at your local art supply store or online at Dick Blick.
You can also find them at Michaels, if you have one nearby. I prefer using the SpeedBall Beginners Kit.
I was just curious how long you think this process would be for a beginner? I have to teach a lesson plan in my art class & this is similar to what my partner and I discussed, but we only have a small window of time. Thank you so much! Your stamp is BEAUTIFUL (:
It should be fine for beginners. I’ve done it before with kids (you have to be careful with cutting tools). I suggest trying it out yourself before you teach it 🙂
Just perfect tutorial! I can’t wait to try my own!!
Thanks for the instructions I can’t wait to try it
Loved the instruction. Simple & very clear . Easy to understand. Can’t Waite to have go.
Gostei do tutorial e a dica de como cortar foi importante.
Do you think something like this would work re: face paint? I am a face painter and I want to make my own stamps
I think for face painting your better off with stencils. I use airbrush, but sponges work well, too. Faces are not a flat surface, so not sure this would work! Check out badass stencils!
Nice Thanks For Sharing This Method!
This was very help full made my first bee stamp for my kiddies clothing and defnately will be stamping my own fabrick for my clothes
Hi! Thanks for the details and info in this post! I managed to do my own “logo” in a gigantic eraser for my wedding invitations, and I need to say, it’s really easier than I thought, cheap and looks pro 🙂
Wow, your tutorial is easy to follow! I’m so glad I’ve stumbled across your blog. I cannot wait to try my own stamps!! Thank you so much!!
Thanks for the tutorial, can’t wait to try it out.
Where did you get the wood mount, and what kind rubber? I will look for these and tools at Michael’s. What I ask for, and tool name? Definitely going to try it! Great tutorial!
This Inspired me and I am so happy the children I teach are so happy
Thanks for posting this tutorial! I have a son who is obsessed with trash trucks and there are no trash truck hand stamps in the world. Time to make one!
This tutorial is very easy to follow and has given me the confidence to finally try making my own stamp – so thank you!