Hand-Carved Squid Stamp

Today I’m gonna break down my process for stamp-making! (I know, right??!!1)
When I was growing up my mom did a lot of stamping. She bought and sold stamps for a living. When I was younger I loved using her stamps to create new and exciting card designs. My interest dwindled when I realized I was at the mercy of the stamp manufacturer’s decisions as far as designs go. I always hoped the new catalogs would have the kind of stamps that I wanted to use and collect. But more often than not, there wasn’t anything that I absolutely had to have.

Fast forward about 8 years…. to the day I realized I could carve my own stamps>> 😀


You’re gonna need:

A Linoleum Cutter. Mine is Speedball brand.
Stamp Carving Rubber. Again, Speedball.
A Pencil
Tracing Paper
A Cutting Mat/Board
A Totally Rad Drawing!

Draw or find a design you can trace with pencil. I usually do this step with tracing paper, but this time I used regular printer paper and it worked just fine. The tracing paper is better though because it allows the graphite from the drawing to transfer to the rubber more easily. I drew a squid.
Once you have your design the way you like, flip it onto your clean, dry rubber slab and rub the backside of the transfer paper completely to transfer your image (in reverse!) to the rubber.
With the smallest gouge (carving stabber), carefully outline your design getting as close to the pencil lines as possible. Using a gentle scooping method with a steady hand gives me the best results. Before you begin this step, its a good idea to decide if you’ll be carving out the lines or the spaces. For my design, if I carve the lines, I’ll end up with a dark, inked up squid body. If I carve the spaces, I’ll have a perfect outline of a squid that I can color in if I want. For this demonstration I’ll be carving the lines, but for most of the stamps I make (like logos and shapes) I usually carve the spaces and I leave the lines. This would make my stamp look more like my pencil drawing.0SquidStamp-3STEP 4:
After your design is outlined, switch to a larger gouge and begin carving a thicker border around the edge. This is also a good time to carve out large spaces. Feel free to switch between different sizes of gouges in order to comfortably carve at your own pace. There’s really no right or wrong way to carve a stamp. I definitely don’t recommend carving toward yourself or your fingers though cause the gouges are sharp and could stab you. Pain is no fun. Do avoid.0SquidStamp-4STEP 5:
Using an art knife or exact-o blade, cut out your stamp (on a cutting mat) leaving a generous border. If you go too closely to the edges of your stamp and it has lots of long delicate portions, it could easily break!0SquidStamp-5STEP 6:
When you are satisfied with your carving job, ink it up and test it out! This is the best way to tell if you missed any spots. If all looks good, marvel in your awesomeness. You did it! As with most things, practice is your best friend. The more you work at it, the better you’ll get.0SquidStamp-6Now you have an awesome stamp you can use for just about anything! Make your dear sweet Canadian friend a beautiful, hand-carved, hand-stamped, one-of-a-kind birthday card. Stamp your future (or present) offspring’s onesies and tees. Create a weatherproof box and a logbook and embed your stamp in a letterbox hidden in the wild!! Or just collect your cute stamps and smile at them when you see them and know you made something completely unique and wonderful <3

Oh, and I learned how to make an animated gif (which is apparently pronounced JIF) today so I could impress you with a speedy time-lapse! Do enjoy 😀SquidCarvex. tab

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