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Paper Crafting: Skills and Technique

Lesson 7 of 22

Stamp Carving Techniques & Design

Robert Mahar

Paper Crafting: Skills and Technique

Robert Mahar

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Lesson Info

7. Stamp Carving Techniques & Design

Lesson Info

Stamp Carving Techniques & Design

One of the benefits of carving your own rubber stamps a is not only the flexibility that you have to choose whatever motif you'd like, but you've got advance advantages over traditional printing because you can basically stamp onto most any surface, especially surfaces that wouldn't normally go through a home printer, and I may have mentioned that a little bit earlier in the segment, so say you wanted to stamp on the side of a wood box or you wanted to stamp on fabric, those air all absolutely possible applications. When you're dealing with a rubber stamp, your things may change slightly if you're stamping on fabric, you want to make certain that you're using thie appropriate type of ink and most artkraft supply stores will have a section with that. What we're going to be dealing with today because we're going to be stamping on paper are some wonderful, vivid water color of water based inks, ink pads. Um, h is asking, robert, can you use a hot tool to melt away the material? Uh, I have...

honestly never seen that done before. Um, I know that there are I mean, some of the hot tools that I'm familiar with her like for wood burning, say, or hot tools to carve away styrofoam, I don't really know that this particular kind of material would lend itself to that and honestly, I would imagine just because of the nature of rubber that it would release kind of a rancid smell and not something would be necessarily pleasant so I think that you're probably better off just doing it manually with the carving tools good question though even the material would really be too soft for heat I don't think you don't even need a hot bowl no thank you rhyme I think you'd regret it if you made a mistake with thought it would be no going back I just have to be careful and not put too much pressure and I doubt down too much yeah you definitely can go a little deeper on some of these it's not the end of the world but again it's just sort of a mantra keep a light hand as you're doing this ondas you can see as I'm doing I'm carving away at the moment the interior portion of the r which is sort of like this little island in the middle of my letter and one of the ways I am working to manipulate the rubber block is by holding my carving tool stationery and then moving the block with my other hand um and it's just kind of one way that you can kind of work away work your way around those tighter interior spots wait there's a lot of white space within this letter could we go back and do it is winery absolutely you could I mean, with especially with a thick font like this, it almost lends itself what you know to doing, like maybe a vine design down through the interior. Some of those larger portions kathy is asking about you can see on this thick font we've got all of this great space in the middle, you could absolutely go through and create like a little, you know, maybe leaf pattern through there and go through and carve it out to create a monogram that's a little bit more decorative that's an excellent idea, ending up being almost maybe more along the lines of an illuminated letter, which I think is a great idea and I just should be is asking she actually specifically asking about the phone blocks, but I assume patricia, you actually mean the rubber blocks. Is there a supply you would recommend for those? Robert I know you, we've got supply list moment they readily available, local arts and craft supply stores will carry them, and if you ask a tw the front counter, I'm sure that they can direct you to them. You can also just get online and type into a search engine, you know, a rubber carving block, that sort of thing, and I'm sure you confined aa lot of online suppliers pop up for that. Now, as you can see, I've done a couple of passes now around the exterior of my letter and there's some excess space there, and rather than spend the time to carve that away by hand, I'm just going to take my ruler and my craft knife, ok, put back over here and I'm just going to trim some of that away um, you can see it this edge. I've probably got about a quarter of an inch between the letter and the edge of the block, and at this stage, I'm just kind of I'm going back and cleaning up some of my initial passes um, perhaps making some of the lines a little bit more distinct again along this upper edge, I just feel like there's a little excess there, so I'm going to go back in with my straight edge and my craft knife, and I'm just going to carve away that little lip what's that it's meditative, right? I just really I think it's it's, lovely and nice, I did think it was going to be a lot more difficult to press and it's this rubber so song it is super soft now you can see here on my stamp, I've got this little just ridge here that I'm having a hard time when I run my tool on the edge I don't feel like I'm necessarily getting all of it because that is all negative space that's not going to be inked up and stamped out I'm just going to take my craft knife and I'm going toe just kind of cut around that you see how I just trimmed away that space really easily? Um this can be a dangerous technique only in that you don't want to get too close to your letter you don't want to cut into the positive area of your stamp and interfere with the portion that will be inked up in press down onto paper. So how are we coming along studio wise progress? I actually think I'm going to set this aside from in and just kind of take a look at what are creatives in the studio are doing? We're both doing letter ours I love that ok said this is great I bring this up for a second if you can see this is rachel's are she and I are both doing ours but she has gone in and she's taken this negative space and she's carved in just these lovely sort of additional decorative line it's it's it's another way to add some dimension to your stamp and it's you know it's a nice way to customize what might otherwise be a standard font and make it a little bit more your own kathy is doing the same thing I love this going to bring this up is well um she's got a letter I and she's just gone in and created this lovely little um leaf leafy vine going down through the center of it which I think is really sweet and again a nice way to make it your own how we doing? We get excellent. Yes, absolutely going deep enough and I think this is an instance where once we can get up and press it down under the paper if any of those ridges come in contact with the sheet you'll see that that point and we'll go back and make some corrections all right? I love it a little design very nice everybody's getting into the spirit of it this is great and that's the nice thing about having this chunky font is you really do have that extra space to kind of go in and make it your own so let's go ahead and continue to sort of clean up along the edges you khun go over any of those lines that might seem a little bit muddied keeping in mind anything you carve away will not print anything left behind will print stamping has been one of those crafting trends that seems to be a little bit cyclical I think there were a few years back where there were a lot of craft supply stores that were simply stamp focused where you could go in and you could buy stamps and all variety of motifs because they really are a great way to customize stationary or scrapbooks and you're not seeing as much anymore which I think is all the more reason that it's great to have a skill like this where you can go in and know that you can carve whatever design you'd like you're not limited obviously just tio text you can go in and create any sort of imagery you don't want to keep in mind when you are picking an image it's easiest to work with a silhouette shape versus something that is say in gray tones because it's really definitive line between what's getting carved and what remains and there's not in the process of carving a stamp not a lot of room for great asian so um as you were picking things out you can and you can also in a lot of standard um uh photo manipulation programs illustrator photo shop can take a lot of pictures and turn them into a silhouette if that's something you'd like to do say you've got ah picture of a family member and you want to see them in profile you can scan that in and and through process of manipulation turned them or into a silhouette which you could then turn into a stamp which I kind of love that idea deathly quiet actually ladies you are allowed to talk oh, it's, hard to talk and concentrate some now, that's is the challenge visited. You definitely don't want to make an area if there are group now for people who stamp with ace tempers. You know, there are a lot of a lot of the online stamping groups and forms that I'm aware of our people that primarily use ready made stamps, stamps that you purchased already laser carved in your crafting supply store. You can definitely do amazing crafts with those. But again, one of the things that I love so much about this is really being able to add your own personal touch to any sort of, uh, venter paper craft by taking advantage of creating your own motif. So maybe what we have here is a stampede, but very nice citizen, a stamp collection, a collection of stamps, initials. I think as far as I'm going to go on, what lesson did you choose? I chose the letter. I we were short on rubber over here, so we split a piece. So I think I played when I've seen, um, letters, your things, artwork printed. I actually really like that sort of wood. Grainy, extra side stuff in that act, like accidentally prince, it really makes a better hand can look it almost as it adds a textural layer to its, and it can give us another wise, static image. I think a little bit of life it's almost like having, you know, maybe a very simplified equivalent might be in cartooning when you see the motion line it's around a figure that kind of, like, give it a little bit of, you know, kinetic energy. And I think that is very true when you're looking at the linoleum cuts. So I think that we're probably pretty close to a stage where we can try out a little bit of ink to see how this looks on paper now, just before we move on the course for the chat room have been asking about the carving tools themselves. Yes, back there, very many choices in the marketplace. They come in all sorts of different price ranges, what's your recommendation for somebody, maybe just starting off. Honestly, the these are lovely. These sets come with a lot of nibs, and they also have this little screw off cap on the ends. You khun store the nibs in there when they're not news. It's a lovely, fancy option, but it's not necessary I think some of the base models are very simple wood handles with just a simple circular groove in the end of it that you can slide the later than it down into, and they were perfectly fine. So I think if you're just trying this out for the first time and you're not absolutely certain, if it's something that you're necessarily going tio meld with her want to use on a regular basis, I absolutely would recommend, you know, starting with one of those lower end tools just to give it a try because the blades essentially are all the same, and it'll just give you a good opportunity to try that out. The great question all rights are we all kind of at a stopping point with the carving? Excellent. Ok, so there are a couple of stand pads at each table, and these are all water based banks just from a local craft supply store. There are many different types of banks, um, with different types of purposes, and you always just want to make sure that you read the labels on them on dh. Well, we're primarily just stamping on paper today there might come and opportunity where, like I said, you want to stamp on fabric or you want to stamp on wood or on metal and there are tanks that are suitable for stamping on all of those surfaces. You just want to make sure that you're mindful of what it is that you're purchasing because with stamp pads typically once you've opened to the package and used them, you can't return them so it's not to say that you can't use them for another project, but it's nice to get what you want the first time around. Um most of them will be, I think, a lot of the old school ones where you were doing like date stamps or that sort of thing at the office supply store. The's did come specifically from a craft supply store, although I have seen some of these in office supply stores recently, so you may be wider distribution, so I often get asked what away do if my stamp is larger than my pad and honestly it's a really simple solution? You simply lay your stamp flat, flip your pad over and tamp it across the top um and you'll just do this do a couple of light passes back and forth and it might take time, especially with the new stamp for a little bit of that ink to build up, but you can slowly begin to see that silhouette of our letter forming now we're going to do this once where we're just without any backing behind our carving block you're just going to flip it over and press and I think you all have some blank white cards at your workstations and we're just going to be using those for testing these out center it on the space that you'd like and kind of just gently uh burnish the back of the stamp being mindful not to shift it too much because that obviously is going to distort your image and then you can peel it up and you can see what I've done here you get a lot of those motion marks that that kathy and I were talking about and some of them I think I might go back in and trim up and other ones I might leave but I have to say I kind of love the transformation from this very clear chris blind to this almost sort of like wonky irregular line I think it gives it a lot of charm indefinitely it shows the hand of the maker in it and there's I don't know I embrace that I really like theo idea that it doesn't look machine made so how how did we turn up come on look at that those air beautiful you guys even were very, very nice all of the students went a little above and beyond and created some lovely designs in the interior of their letters that's great I really love the graphic quality of those bold lines within rachel's are those air lovely so how are you feeling at this point? Do you want to go back in and clean up similarly edges or do you like I like that like I mean I like the added little lines off to the side I think it gives it character it definitely gives a character however, if you do want to go back there pretty evident what lines could be carved away because they're clearly yanked up at this point and I think at least for this line here I am going to go through and chest sort of shave it off with my carving tool a little bit get away you often will have I have found issues with the corners of the negative space and what I mean by that is say on my are here this little corner here sometimes you might just need to go back and even take your craft knife and trim that away in order for it to quit coming in contact with the surface of the ink pad before you're stamping so I'm just gonna need in this up a little bit and then I think they wouldn't go back with these additional pieces of stationery your tables and do some different stamping techniques now one thing I did want to know you all have little birchwood panels at your workstations and while you saw that we were able to print perfectly fine with the stamp as it is on the paper sometimes it's nice to have a backing to give yourself a little bit more control, and so the way that you can do this, you could permanently fix the stamp to the backing. But I find that especially if you're carving a lot of stamps you don't need to keep buying. Backing is you can simply use some double sided tape to temporarily it here it to the block. It usually works well for several stamp passes, and there is something about the block that kind of gives you. I feel a little bit greater control in your positioning, probably because it is rigid and the carving block is a little bit more soft and malleable. You see, I've just placed a few strips along the back side of my stamp, and I'm just going toe center that now. These wood blocks also came from my local art supply store. They actually were intended to be painted on, but they are less than fifty cents apiece there, really inexpensive and so it's a nice thing to have on hand, so you can see that that just standard scotch tape really gives a good hold on the back of it, so let's, try another stamp just so you can feel the difference between handling it with or without the backing. Yes. The cost for piece of rubber the size that you it's less than two dollars. Yeah, it's. So it tends to be a really inexpensive andi. I would say on the carving tools a basic set would probably run you somewhere between ten and fifteen. Obviously, the more blades that you get to accompany it, the higher the price would be. So I'm going to go ahead and re ink my stamp, and you can see it is a little bit easier to control with the backing on it, I can hold it in my hand a little bit more, um, steadily, and then I'm just gonna go ahead and press that down. Center it on my card, sit down and this is one additional advantage of having the backing as well. You can get a little bit more even pressure without it. You're basically running your hands along the back of the rubber carving block with thiss because it is rigid it's adding a solid amount of pressure across the back of it and you can see the difference. Now, between my first pass and my second pass, I went through and I cleaned up a few of those lines. I still feel like it's got a lot of character and I left a little bit in there in addition, to that, um, let's talk about momentarily. Obviously, we want to be able to stamp our stamps in various colors, and if I were at home, I would likely just take this over to my kitchen sink and run it under the water, maybe with the tiniest amount of dish soap on dh just kind of clean it off with my hand when your in a place where you don't necessarily have a sink accessible baby wipes are a really good way to go, and I think everybody has got some of those at your table. They're obviously good not only for your hands, but it's, a good way to remove thie ink from the surface of your stamp. It was interesting because I remember going back to when I was doing lying of cutting a in art school, they actually encouraging line, known not to remove the encouragement, to wash it just to put this buildup that build up, and you actually do get a better print from doing that. Is that the same with robert? Well, you know what? The issue here, mohr is muddying the colors in your subsequent ink pads because if I were to have left that ink on, even if it got to the point where it was just a little bit tacky and say I went to go to even a lighter shade it would transfer that residue of ink onto the ink pad on guy wouldn't end up with the clear color distinction. So, you know, do you ever use, like, a roller to put on the ankle? Do you job? You always work straight from the pad, but you know what? For these smaller scale ones, I usually work straight from the pad, the second project, the stamping project we're going to tackle today, we are going to be using some water based printer's ink, and we're going to be rolling it out with the breyer, so we'll kind of get a little bit of a comparison between those two methods, but that's not to say that you couldn't use it with the rubber stamp. You absolutely could. Um, what j k o is describing is these are printers, inks their water based, and you can take a wood panel. I'm sorry. A cardboard panel scored a little bit out, and then there is a tool called a breyer. It looks like this. It almost looks like a miniature paint roller that you might paint your walls with and it's a method for you to run it along that printing ink tio, create a smooth surface and you could at that point, take your stamp. Press it down into that ink and press it on tio whatever your desired surfaces and we're going to play around with that in just a little bit when we're creating a different style of stamp so um because everybody kind of done a pass and cleaned off the first color of ink eso one of my favorite stamping techniques really mimics ah process and mechanical stamping there's a registration process when you're stamping and in multiple colors or when you're printing in multiple colors that keeps your design all aligned but sometimes things get a little off register and you'll sometimes see this maybe distinctly in the funny pages of your newspaper where you can very clearly see the outline of a character but the coloration that's intended for them is just a little bit off to the left or the right or the top of the bottom and it creates a really interesting look and you can mimic this with stamping which I love to do so I am actually going to let me see if I may borrow your yellow stamp pad um and this often works best if you start with a lighter color first and so what I'm going to be doing is taking the stand pad I'm going to yank up my stamp and with sometimes with these stamps that have larger areas you just occasionally need to lift up your pad to make sure that your evenly covering most of the surface I think we're probably good at that point so I'm gonna lately press my are down onto my folded note card to create the first color and if you all want to pick a first color to start with, I'm going to bring this yellow back over to you um to try this I'm then going to just do a quick cleanup on this stamp and add a second color and the nice thing about this is it's intended to be off register its intended not tow line up perfectly, which is usually easier than trying to line it up perfectly so I kind of love that about it all right? So now with this stage I'm just going to go back with my blue pad again and I'm going to stamp across the back I feel like I've got a pretty even coverage and then you might need to get down a little bit next to the surface to kind of make sure that and so my goal here is really just to stamp it away a little to the lower laughter a little to the lower right just so it almost looks like a shadow of the previous stamp a press that off, you kind of see the areas in which they've overlapped there's a little bit of different coloration and it just kind of adds this sort of like cool old school printing look to it which I really love I did want to show you this as well, just because this is a little bit more detailed stamp it's one that I've spent a little bit more time on, and this one is well, which is sort of a flying bird design, and I'm going to just a stamp those out briefly just so you can get an idea of what those look like printed on paper. I love that with the pink in the red, I think that's really sweet phyllis did this beautiful p and, uh, did the first coat with a light pink stamp, and then she did her off registration with deeper red, and I just think it's a really lovely contrast between the two. These will keep for a good long time. Obviously you want to clean them after usage, and I would as with a lot of, you know, rubber crafting materials, just keep it out of direct sunlight, keep it in a storage box or something. So I ain't up the back of this bird, and I'm just gonna lay it down on the surface. Here you can get enormously intricate when you're carving these just because, as you saw with the cutting nibs for the line of cut tool, you can create really lovely fine lines on them and a couple more notes on your inks, just a little tip when you are storing these it's often a good idea to store them face side down keeps things close to the surface of the pad on ge will keep them around a little bit longer old school stamp pads that we used to buy at the office supply store you could buy refills force you could get the little link in a bottle and you go over and see squeeze it onto the stand pet that doesn't happen so much anymore especially with some of these beautiful custom colors so I'm curious to see some of our final results of what the students have been working on so I'm going to come over and just kind of give a little walk around love it I don't know why I just I embrace this sort of off registration so much I just think it adds a really nice level of detail and it's fun to see something in a couple of colors too so beautiful again I love that you embraced sort of all of those motion lines around the edges it definitely does give it some good character it's just really it's so sort of subtle and it's depending on your color variation there will be higher or lower contrast but with this yellow and green it's a little bit subtle and I like the overlap because it creates almost this sort of like bright citrusy celery green which I think it's so nice you kind of see kathy and rachel, obviously both used the same color combinations. Kathy's was much tighter. So it's actually really lovely. Subtle. You just kind of get almost like a yellow halo effect behind the green stamped initial. So those are beautiful ladies. And then I just I love the pink in the red combination. No, but that's great. And it definitely adds such great motion to it, and you can kind of see, obviously, there were different amounts of ink applied here so you you can like madeleine did apply a lighter amounts and get it really subtle, almost shadowy effect or phyllis applied aa lot more of the anc. So it's a much more vivid graphic contrast there which I think it's so lovely I love it. I think it looks so great. I love that one with it just kind of lane like that are very, very sweet around the sort of vine before you carved it or did you just call it free hand? I did a little line and then I just did the rest of it. Three handed it did involve like I wanted it, so did the rest of it free handed. It looks beautiful well and that's one of the things you can do to like we were talking about once you carve out your basic letter of like I did here, I could still a this point go back, and maybe with a pencil kind of sketch out a little design within the confines of that r and go back and revisit it with my carving tool and create, you know, something more akin to what rachel or catheter madeleine or phyllis did. Or you could just leave it. Certainly blank. You could even go back through and change the edging. Like, say, I wanted to go through and kind of create a crenelated edge, or one the worth a lot of, like gouges into it. You know, perhaps, to create a font that looked maybe like an old western font, you could create some creases and make it look a little more cowboy. I mean, there's, all sorts of stylistic devices you can apply to these teo, you know, make them look how you'd like.

Class Description

From making your own paper to marbling and stamping to sculpting hand-crafted objects, paper crafting is an incredible way to express yourself. Join Robert Mahar to explore everything this simple, sophisticated art form has to offer.

You’ll embrace your inner recycler as you learn to create paper pulp and form it into sheets of handmade paper. You’ll also explore the Japanese art of suminagashi and use this centuries-old technique to create gorgeous, marbled paper. You’ll learn basic stamping and patterning techniques that add extra flair to any project. You’ll dive into creating three-dimensional paper crafts as well, from hand-crafted flowers to papier-mache projects to other decorative and functional objects.

Whether you’re looking to create handmade gifts to share with friends or to add new paper craft goods to your Etsy® store, you’ll leave this course equipped and inspired to create dozens of new projects.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Robert Mahar - Paper Flower Directions.pdf

Robert Mahar - Paper Garland Directions.pdf

Robert Mahar - Paper Marbling Directions.pdf

free bonus materials

Robert Mahar - Course Supplies List.pdf

Robert Mahar - Syllabus.pdf

Robert Mahar - Letters Sample.PDF

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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user 1400000665814257

This class if filled with new and fun ways to use the paper that we have in stock. In addition, the paper technique that utilizes Suminagashi Ink is mind blowing! Anyone who loves to create beautiful things will enjoy this class. Robert is one who is an exceptional instructor, in that when he is demonstrating a new technique, he has an ability to use clear concise language. I have enjoyed the class, and plan to use the gorgeous floral pieces in my studio and home, along with creating a lovely party. Thank you!

a Creativelive Student

Really enjoyed watching this two day Paper Crafting course with Robert Mahar. It was full great paper techniques and inspiration. Roberts has such a calm and positive teaching style. Watching him work through step by step of each project you really pick up lots of wonderful tips and tricks of the trade. Highly recommend it.

Holly Herick

Robert Mahar is an excellent teacher with many great examples on paper crafting. Robert has encouraged me to continue working on my sculpted watercolor paper flowers—now I have a bunch of new tips and tricks to try. This class is well worth the price