I cannot begin to tell you the number of times I have been asked about the availability of some type of specific stamp design. Usually it is a simple thing that, yes, we do have available. But sometimes it is not quite what was they had in mind, or it is a less popular-with-the-masses image. The answer to this dilemma is simple. Carve it yourself. Do you remember carving apples as a child and stamping the design using paint? It is similar, only stamps carved in rubber will last considerably longer.
If you have never tried to carve your own stamp you are in for a treat. Much like the art of rubber stamping itself, you will find the process fun and addictive. You do not need to be a master artist to create beautiful and whimsical designs. As you can see from my samples, I am not Rembrandt. My designs are simple, and a bit rustic, but once I carved my first stamp (a self portrait) I was hooked. It is still my favorite stamp today.
The first step is to sketch your design. If your kit comes with wood blocks for mounting your creation, I suggest tracing them onto grid paper so you can ensure your images will fit once they are carved. (see below) Once you have your images ready cut a piece of tracing paper the size of the rubber piece. Use this paper to re-trace your sketches so that they will all fit. Use a pencil for your traced images creating dark lines.
Next place your traced images, penciled side down, onto the block of rubber. Rub back and forth using your finger nail or a bone folder to transfer the images. I find that if I then trace over the transferred images using a marker they are less likely to rub away during the carving process. (see above photo) You may find you have extra space to create other images that you can mount on clear blocks (Clear Mount Foam is available).
Using carving tools begin to carve your images by staying on the outside of the lines. V-shaped carving tools (in the Undefined kit from Stampin' Up!) seem to work the best to make my initial carving around the lines and for intricate items. Then use a larger U-shaped tool for cutting away larger pieces of rubber. You will find that, similar to cutting paper with scissors, turning the rubber, rather than your carving tool, makes for smoother lines. Carving rubber may be softer than you expect, so do not press too hard when carving. Once you have the basic shapes cut you can use Craft & Rubber Scissors to cut away the image and adhere to mounting foam. Stamp the image onto one side of the block before adhering image to the rubber to the other side. I recommend a permanent ink, like Stazon.
Carving your own stamps is quickly becoming a hot new trend in the craft industry. Get your own Undefined® kit and get started creating one-of-a-kind projects stamp design today! Your projects will become even more personalized than ever before!
Until Next Time . . .
Hugs, Karie Beglau