Hand Carved Stamps

18 06 2008

The other day I was looking for tattoo-inspired stamps to use in a project I was doing.  I couldn’t find one that I had in mind, and the other one came in an expensive set that I didn’t really like.  So I decided to try my hand at making my own. 

I had seen a couple examples of hand carved stamps elsewhere, but instead of following someone else’s instructions, I kind of winged it.  (It wasn’t that difficult – pretty self-explanatory.)

To do this yourself, you will need:

First, decide what image you want to make a stamp of.  I decided on a cute little robot I drew.  You can also use tracing paper and trace an image from anywhere, or you can use a freshly printed image from an ink jet printer.

Make sure to not make your image with too many small details – even the details here proved to be a little difficult to pull off.  Make thick, heavy lines, and I went over my outline a couple times so it would be easier to rub off onto the carving material.  I used a bone folder to help rub the image, but you could just use your fingers.


Next, cut out the stamp.  I used my X-Acto knife to do this.  I recommend cutting a half-inch outline around the image instead of cutting right on the lines – this makes for a flimsy stamp, as you can see with my robot legs.  (I actually had to superglue one of them back on – shhhh.)  You can carve out the parts of the outline you don’t want to show up in the printed stamp. 

Next you will use your carving tool to carve the shape of the stamp.  Keep in mind the parts that you carve will show up as white when you print with the stamp.  Go slowly on the more detailed parts – the effort will be worth it.

At this point I ink the stamp and print it to see what shows up.  Usually there are a few stray pieces I need to chip away at.  I made two test prints, and the third one I was satisfied with.









There you have it!  A pretty simple process with pretty awesome results.  These homemade stamps are really only good for simple images, but have so many possibilities – like your own designs!  I’m still in search of wood blocks to mount the newly carved stamps on, but that is a project for another day.




One response

1 07 2008
tracy whitney

wow – this is so totally cool. Yor stamped image looks great!

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