This is a project that can seem quite daunting to the novice (and I am a novice as well). However, it is extremely enjoyable and immensely satisfying. So, if you have the urge to try your hand at carving stamps, I strongly support it.
As I mentioned, I am a newbie at this, but I thought I’d post a tutorial here to show what I am doing.
Here the the tools you will need:
- Speedball Linoleum Cutter
- Speedball ‘speedy-cut’ (NB I find this produces stamps that are a bit too soft for my taste. However, I was attempting a design with some tiny crannies, and it’s much easier to cut through).
- tracing paper & pencil
- X-acto knife & scissors
- cutting mat
First, find a design or an image that you want turned into a stamp. I drew my button flower in Illustrator then printed it out. Find a piece of tracing paper and trace the image, being generous in the amount of graphite that you are putting on the page. This is what you’ll transfer to your rubber pad.
Cut out your tracing and place it face down on your pad. Then, using your fingernail or the nub end of your speedball cutter, rub all over your design (being very careful not to let it move). When you lift up your tracing paper you should have your image ready to carve.
Start with your smallest tip and go all around the borders of your design. The cutters are extremely sharp and the incisions do not need to be deep, so you will barely have to apply any pressure at all.
Once you have done this, take the next size up and clean out the rest of the empty space. Take your time. When you are satisfied, go ahead and carve away the exterior of your design.
You’re done! trim away excess material around your design and try it out. You may notice that there is ink showing up in spots where you don’t want it, and that simply means you go back and take down those pesky bits.
Here’s the finished button flower stamp.