June 1, 2012

Hand Carved Stamps

Hi everyone,

Back as promised with the last of my "couch" projects.  I've been wanting to play around with carving my own stamps, and have had some rubber and a carving tool for several months.  This was the perfect opportunity to give it a try.

I started with Speedball's "Speedy Cut" rubber, which is basically a giant white eraser!  It is also available in a pink rubber now, which is more dense and has a smoother texture (more like a Pink Pearl eraser!).  I've used both below.  The carving tool is also by Speedball and comes with several carving tips which are stored conveniently in the handle of the tool (the round bottom has a cap which screws off).  Both the rubber and the carving tool are available at most craft stores.

I didn't set out to create intricate, detailed stamps for my first efforts, but some basic geometric patterns which could be repeated or lined up with each other.

I just let my imagination go and carved whatever came to mind.  The curvy frame could be stamped and then cut out a portion of the center to make a frame.  I like the swirly circle - can see using this as a flower.  And the triangle could be stamped right side up, and then upside down across a row for alternating pattern.

Then I tried the pink rubber, which I must say I like better.  I feel I have more control in carving, and the rubber doesn't feel like it's going to crumble when under pressure.


I continued with the basic geometric patterns, doing long skinny strips to use as borders, and then tried a leaf.  Since taking these photos I have trimmed the excess rubber off the leaf so it doesn't get inked when stamping.

And finally, I carved one very large stamp, a burst of rays - it reminds me of the old screen saver where you're traveling through stars, remember that? 

As I was carving each stamp, I would stamp it out with black archival ink onto white card stock, just to get a sense of how each one would look.  When they're all lined up, it looks very "African" to me.  Really like it!  This is how the full sheet looked.

And then I cut it down to tag size - three future tag backgrounds all ready to go.

More stamp testing...

Then I stamped onto some actual manila tags and added some color with watercolor paints.

I really enjoyed the carving, and love the hand-made, imperfect results.  I want to test the stamps on different surfaces - I think stamping with paint on fabric or canvas would be really cool. 

I know some of you may be fearful of working with sharp tools, but if you take your time I think you'll be fine.  You don't have to use too much pressure when carving - the rubber is very soft and cuts easily.  Take it slow - give it a try!

I'll show some finished projects with my new stamps once I have some time to work on them.

Have a great weekend!

~ ellen.


Hels Sheridan said...

omg how cool are these? I am a bit dangerous with owt sharp (you know that already) so whilst I would love to try it, I fear for my fingers lol (and my torso, legs, arms and ears lol) they are fab hun.... sending a big old hug xx

Candy C said...

Ellen, you never cease to amaze me! You are one creative lady. :) I love your hand carved stamps! You really did a nice job on them and your stampings look fantastic! Miss you girlfriend! I hope all is well. Love, <3 Candy

Kaz said...

Oooo how cool! Love the carved stamps Ellen, they look amazing!

Sue said...

These are simply amazing Ellen. Fab, brilliant and just plain stunning designs.

Bast said...

Love the 'tribal' look of the stamps. Beautiful job! Thanx for sharing and for the inspiration. Those are really amazing. :)


betjunroe said...

Awesome job Ellen! Makes me want to try this, but, like Hels, I am dangerous with sharp implements-lol! Soon we will be seeing your name as a stamp designer! Hope you are feeling much better. Bette

Helen said...

They look fabulous - I love your designs, and agree they do look African all together.

MaRyKaY said...

wow I like them all. The big sunburst one is my favorite.
I have been dying to give this a go myself but havent been able to purchase the stuff to do it yet. Thanks for some ideas and tips on doing it for the first time. So it sounds like the pink rubber would be the way to go huh? thanks for showing this and cant wait to see what you do with them.

Lori said...

It appears your couch time has been VERY productive! Just love everything you've posted on your blog, hope you are feeling better!

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Wendy said...

just hopping about and saw your link.......I love these, really clever idea and have itchy hands to do some myself x

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