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Creating Your Own Rubber Stamp


Stamping Techniques & Design


Lesson Info

Creating Your Own Rubber Stamp

I have to say I love carving rubber stance it's one of those projects that I still remember the first time I saw it demonstrated and it was ah, little bit magical it's it really gives you the ability to to customize paper in any way you like with any motif or design you like, and so what we're going to be tackling today is a really simple basic rubber stamp and let's just kind of review our materials to begin with. We all have at our stations the's, soft rubber blocks, and I love these in art school, we spent a lot of time doing line of cuts and would cuts, and if you've ever done or attempted to do these before, you know that you've got to have a lot of muscle kind of like really carve out the design that you want, these in comparison cut like butter, which is really a lovely thing. However, we are still using some of the tools that you might otherwise use in line of cutting. And so we've got these fancy little handles here and a variety of nibs or blades at the end, and we actually h...

ave in our bowls here much wider variety than we're going to be needing for the rubber stamps the two primary ones that you really want to pay attention to are there is one that is a small v shaped tip. And this is great for detailed lines and outlining any of your projects. And then, by comparison, it is a perfect partner with where's, our little, the u shaped nib. And this one is perfect for where is it? Here we go. This is perfect for cleaning out larger areas during the course of your carving. So typically, what I will do is I will outline whatever. My design is using, the very fine point, just to kind of have a basic structure set up on the rubber carving block. And then I'll go back in with the larger, broader, u shaped nib to kind of clean out all of those areas. So the thing that I love about thiss particular material is the way that you are able to transfer your designed to it. Now what we've what we've printed out, all of you in studio have at your stations, this is the same font that we used for our sign ege banner in the last segment, eso again, if you're kind of looking at this is a way tio continue creating party decor, this would be something that would coordinate perfectly, perhaps using them on invitations or even your initial on the front of a thank you card. But it's, a really big chunky font and creative life is actually going to have this available as a free download, just so that you are able to access the same lettering that we're using here in the studio today. One thing you will know when looking at the pre mounts is that they are in reverse, and this is important because it is a shame to spend all of the time getting a transfer to your block and realizing that it's backwards and rachel is shaking her head personal experience. Maybe I've done it too, and it just just like one of those don't moments and you just have to and then you're like, oh, well, that's the worst, because then you just have to go on to the next wow, I hear you, I'm right there with you, so what we were going to start with today is just select the initial that you'd like to start with. We're going to be creating rubber stamps that air roughly three inches square. And so if you want to pick out the letter that you would like to use, and we're just going to cut it out from the larger sheet, and I would just probably leave maybe about a half inch around the exterior of the initial as you cut it out. So nbc doing and are, as you might expect, and this doesn't have to be neat at all again. But just leave yourself a little bit of room around the exterior. Ok, so we're going to be working from these soft rubber blocks now. I see. I don't know if there's an additional one. It looks like rachel actually has a piece of linoleum versus thie, the soft rubber, so let's, just double check on that. Actually, could I see that? Let me show you, just by way of example, of what I was talking about, the linoleum tends to be a much thicker, denser material, often times in printing print artist you'll see these mounted on a would block the design will be carved out of it, inked up and then either run through a press or done monta print style with pieces of paper because it is much more dense. Like I was saying, it just requires a little bit more muscle to get into and not to get too graphic, but I can't tell you the number of times in art school that I ended up puncturing parts of my hand that probably should have been punctured. So that's, why we love these soft rubber blocks so much and we will get into when we get to the portion where we're actually doing the carving. We're going to cover some pretty thorough safety tips so that you make sure that you can do this project without any bodily harm, which is crafting and bodily harm should never be in the same sentence. So anyways, we've all kind of selected our initials, which is great, and so our next step really is just to take a soft lead number two pencil, and we're going to go over to the back side of it, and we're going to take her pencil sort of on an angle, and we're going to color in along the edges, and I'll show you what will happen then. All right, so what we've done in this instance, and you can see this at home, I have taken the side of my pencil, and I've colored in the back side of my template. I'm now going to place it face down the side that I scribbled against the surface, and I'm going to go back, and I'm going to outline my initial again, and this way, it's going to transfer it onto the surface of the carving block and what appears to be backwards font, but when we think it up and press it onto our paper, it will read correctly. So go back over this quickly. One of the nice things about carving with this material as well is sort of in the tradition of line of cuts, and if if you're not necessarily familiar with them, you might want to run the term through a search engine l I n o c u t just to kind of see, they're really beautiful because you can definitely see the hand of the artist or the designer in the process, because cutting with these tools is not always. Exacting it's not going to look like it was printed out or created in a graphics program they're definitely going to be some irregularities and that's something you just really embrace because it ends up with a design that is really charming and lovely so ok, so you can see I've gone ahead and I've trains for that now too the surface of my carving block and we're going to go back now to our carving nibs and we're going to start with the tip that is a small v shaped one the ends of these carving tools work much like the ends of our craft knives you simply slide it in many loosened up a little bit at first and then as you tighten it back up it holds that carving bit securely we're all set now baby is just asking robert when you're buying your your matching over up what is this you're going to work with the line ok? Is there a very in depth that you can purchase or do they really just coming? For the most part they tend to be what is this about a quarter of an inch? Yeah, this isn't a quarter image death they do tend to be a standard depth and the reason being is you really do not have to carve deep into the surface of these you really just have to do carve beneath the surface because any of the raised portion that is left is easily going to accept the ink and printed onto your surface. Now, which kind of leads us to our first passed with this, and let me just demonstrate this for a second before you guys jump in with the knives, cardinal rule number one always carve away from your body always, always, always, because if you were carving this direction and you slip, you're going to end up gouging your hands or your being, and we don't want anything that toe happen at all, and also the first time around, make a light pass and what I mean by that is you're not going to be pressing in, like, in a forty five degree angle it's almost like you, just gently gliding along the surface of the rubber carving block. So in this instance, I'm going to just sort of hold this in place, and I'm going to run this gently along it, and you can kind of see it's creating this little trail of the soft rubber behind and I've, you know, I've got this like little tail piece here that are, you know, those are pieces that were going to discard s so if you want to go ahead now and take your small vina and go ahead and begin to outline your letter and do this slowly, really take your time and again this kind of goes back to some of our discussion in regards to craft knife whenever you've got a sharp implement in your hand always have your eyes on your work and always take your time doing it. There is no need to rush through this process. Is this a cut away where the letter was remain raised thiss one that we're going to that is going to depend on how the area you decide to coke if you outline it and cut away the area around the exterior of the letter yes, the letter is what's going to play don't care how we do it I don't care how you do it yet if you would like to carve the interior of the letter and have this surround be printed, you absolutely go ahead and do that. So how are you feeling comfortable with the linoleum cutters? Is it feel like it's doing with it? It is like butter, right? I know it's amazing I love how smoothly it kind of glides along and again, the purpose of doing this first paths pass so lightly is because it just is going to kind of give us ah good eye for where we need to go in and carve away a little bit more of that access with the larger u shaped cutting tool and again, we're not aiming for perfection in these again with the linoleum cuts it just sort of as an art form it's such a lovely thing to kind of see those irregular lines and the way that they play out in the design I think it's something to be embraced I feel quite confident because they're not using a guide or anything I think I'd be terrified of going off the line on my arm slipped whatever if you do slip are you kind of do you have to start again or can you really know? Not necessarily you know, part of that is again with most of the crafting with carving it's, you embrace some of those perfections and I've done it many a times where I do incorporate that mistake into the design and kind of embrace it and and make it part of the beauty of your piece the nice thing about when you are tracing with one of these tools because the material is cutting so smoothly, you don't feel like you have to put a lot of pressure into it and so there's not as much concern about you know, I think if I were pressing really hard, it might be easier to derail a little bit and go off the line um they are you really just you have to put a lot of muscle into it then sometimes you're wood splinters and you have to embrace that, yeah yeah, there's a lot of embracing mistakes and crafting, and I think that's a good thing to have a bit of wood cutting. I've did leno cuts, it was part of like my printmaking class and college was right we had to do little cuts, and then we also had to do a woodcut, so it was just part of the course or that we had to do it right, which is hard, tio hideous. So this material that we were talking about earlier this thicker, denser material you would carve it with the exact same tools, it's just a different experience because of the density and the nature of the force that you have to apply to it. Now, how are we doing as far as the outlines of our letter? So we feel like we don't know the way around. Excellent. So now at this point, if you'd like, you can switch out too, the u shaped nib, which is a little bit wider and that's going to help you clear away some of the larger excess areas. One thing that I found was it the right angles is if you just stop and then pick it up and then just go again, you get a much crisper edge versus to continue don't just really and go on, just pick it up and cuts it a lot nicer, and when you are removing some of the broader excess areas from around the exterior of your letter, you're still applying a very light pressure. You're not digging super deep down into the carving block and as you go along, you know you'll obviously see these little trails of rubber coming up off of the cutting tool. You'll just kind of brush those to the side when we do our first stamping impression. When we apply our rank and press it down onto the paper, you will probably see little areas that you want to go back and correct like areas that you might have missed the first time around really fine pieces of raised rubber behind between a couple of the previous cuts and, ah, those will be totally correctable at that stage of the game and that's where that thinking actually helps us kind of go back and revisit are designed to clean it up a little bit. It is sort of meditated though meditative, though I really love this process of just sort of carving away that access space. And if you've got a lot of space between, if you're carving around your letters and you've got a lot of excess space between the letter and the edge of the block, keep in mind, too, that you can always go ahead and use your craft knife and manually cut away from some of that versus having to carve out that large space, if you prefer, did that make sense. Yeah, okay, we're really not going that deep. I would say, you know, eighth of an inch, okay, maybe, um, but, again, that's one of those things, tio. Once we think it up after we finished our first, pass it the carving and press it down onto the paper. If there are some areas that we didn't carve deep enough into, it'll be evident of that stage, and we can kind of go back and correct that. Can. These are great projects to dio while listening to music, but not necessarily watching tv, so that you keep your eyes firmly on your blades, that you know where it is at all times.

Class Description

Custom stamps give you the freedom to personalize projects in a whole range of ways. In Stamping Techniques & Design, Robert Mahar will teach you everything you need to know to get started with stamping.

Robert Mahar has been teaching imaginative do-it-yourself projects to crafters for years. In this class, he’ll teach stamping and stamp-making techniques for crafters at all levels. You’ll learn how to:

  • Carve a custom rubber stamp
  • Make a roller stamp for patterning paper
  • Carve large-scale text
  • Print beautiful, repeating patterns

Robert will teach you how to use the most effective and easy-to-use tools and inspire you to create dozens of new projects.