Howdy everyone! I hope everyone is having an awesome weekend. This weekend is my only time to relax at home since all my other weekends this month and next month will be out of state, craft fair or out running wedding errands for my roomie =) . I've always mean to show people how I carve these stamps. To be warned this one is intermediate level stamp but the same concepts and techniques are applied to simple and more complicated ones.
First of all got to have the tools. I have two types one is the X-Acto kit which belonged to my bf. Though its actually for woodworking I find that it works beautifully with making rubber stamps. For the tiny tiny details I use Speedball tools. Third is Speedball rubber. You don't have to use the same ones I do but I find I like the tools and medium I use.
One great thing about the Speedball kit is that all the cutters can be stored in the screw top bottom. This one is actually a lino cutter but I've yet to move to carving on linoleum.
Have a design ready drawn out in pencil. Retrace the lines strongly in pencil because that will help in transferring the image to the rubber surface. The above one is one I've drew about a month ago. I know it's so very Alice in Wonderland =D When you make a design you should think of how detailed you want it to be. The more details and tiny details the more time you will have to devote to it. Also you have to decide which part of the design will be inked and which part would not be inked.
For this bunny design I've decided to have the background of the bunnies inked while the bunnies themselves will remain un-inked and show the color of the paper/medium I am stamping on.
Now cut the appropriate size of the rubber sheet to fit the stamp. Mine is 4" x 6" image so I cut one that's about 4.5" x 6.5" big.
Then use a pencil to scribble all over the back of the design. Do multiple criss crosses to insure that the pencil drawing is transferred onto the rubber. You can lift a part of it up to make sure you got all the black lines.
You should see the image onto the rubber like above. You can trace it with permanent marker like a Sharpie or with pencil again to define the lines.
Now here comes the carving. I use the largest cutter size to cut the big areas out without going too close to the edge. Once that's done I use a smaller size cutter to make more careful outlines of the image. I tend to carve like how I peel an apple... with my left hand guiding my right hand. Though everyone does it differently one thing is you must be very careful as these tools are very sharp and you can accidentally nick your stamp or yourself. So slow and steady does it.
There are varying sizes of cutters I rotate from the biggest, medium size to a very tiny one. Unfortunately I have no good stamping ink though I'm planning on getting Versa or Staz-On ink as I heart great reviews about them and the potent color.
Instead I'm using Speedball block printing ink and a brayer. Stamping and block printing are actually very similar.
I only have red, blue, yellow, white and gold so I mixed the red with white to get a nice pink color. =D. I use a thin plastic sheet protector to spread my ink one. I used a toothpick to mix the ink.
I mixed the ink and spread it with the brayer to get an even coating. Now I run it across the stamp until the whole thing is evenly inked. Now I pressed my paper on it which happens to be a 5 x 7 blank card and smooth it out firmly but gently. Then I peel off the card.
Ta-da! You get some lovely images on cards. What I love about using block printing ink and a brayer is the way the color comes off on the surface. It gives this faded fabric look. Everyone one that's printed is different. I really loved how these came out. I think I'll be giving out a few of these. I even have the deer one framed on my desk. =)
I'm still a novice in carving and stamping and block printing. I hope this tutorial help you. There are a lot of tutorials and tips out in the Internet so search away or you can shoot a question here and I'll try my best to answer it =D
Until next time! Ta-Ta!