I love carving stamps! I've shared these visuals and information in previous blogposts but have assembled everything together here for easy reference. I will be talking about WHY you should carve your own in my column for Somerset Studio May/June 2012. As promised in the article, I am sharing how to carve here.
Quick reference for supplies - I prefer Safety-Kut block printing material to carve. It is white and cuts easily but doesn't crumble like some other softer materials. Go HERE. (eNasco.com, see Printmaking, then Block Printing, then Safety-cut) And for tools, look at the Lino Cutters and Handles. It would be nice to have at least two handles with one 'V' and one 'U' shaped blade, or you can buy a set of blades. Go HERE.
One thing that enables you to maintain or even establish your originality as an artist is using tools of your own making. In this instance I'm referring to tools as stamps and/or stencils. Carving a custom stamp, or cutting a custom stencil, and using these in your work, may stretch you in undiscovered ways. It's an opportunity to explore identity and individuality. (Tutorial for Cutting Stencils will be coming soon)
Originally posted on the Street Team blog for Crusade No. 18 ~ Cut It Out, March 2008. (Visit the crusade site and scroll down for a list of participant links to see how other artists interpreted the challenge of cutting their own stamps.)
If you've never tried it - it's super easy. You can get everything you need at Michaels (or your local craft store). Eraser carving block comes in both pink and white. You can get the "V" shaped carving tool, or small exacto blades are fine too. Your design can be drawn right onto the surface, or you can take a xeroxed image and transfer the toner image several ways - I use Goof-Off as it has xylene in it (similar to paint stripper). Yes, I know it's toxic and there are probably safer ways to go about it but this is what I do. Start small if you've never carved - you want to experience the thrill of success before taking on something that is intricate and labor intensive.
This shows a 12" square stamp I carved after much practive on smaller stamps. I'll tell you where I buy my carving blocks at the end of this post.
Don't know what you would design yet? Want a clever idea to start with? Why not make a shadow, or 'go-with' stamp? Have a favorite stamp image that needs a colored foundation or background to help make it pop? Try cutting your own.
And another sample, which I've shown before of the gravestones and mask:
Or maybe you want to design a signature stamp - like your initials. Keep in mind if you draw the design onto the carving material it has to be reversed. I order Safety-Kut from Nasco - they have small, medium, and huge sheets, and my favorite: classroom packs of 36 pieces, each 2" x 3", and NOW they have terrific pre-cut-circles. Go HERE. (eNasco.com, see Printmaking, then Block Printing, then Safety-cut) And for tools, go HERE. Need more help? There are some great tutorials online, look up eraser carving, or block printing. And there are several books on the subject - Art Stamping Workshop, by Gloria Page is one. And if you are really into it you may want to get the dvd - like a workshop from home.
From my main blog, March 9, 2008:
And from my main blog, March 11, 2008, MORE TIPS:
Sometimes I carve right around the outline of an image that is a shape like the stars in the post below. With a word stamp I will often leave at least one straight edge, marked with a gridded clear ruler or triangle so the edge is square with the image. This gives me the opportunity to line up a stamp if I want to.
And a few more visuals - when I carve out a crowded area I like to use my exacto. I tend to use the 'V' and 'U' shaped carving tools for cleaning out the blanker areas. I don't always trust myself with the 'V' to make all those curvey cuts. I always cut on the right side of an image - constantly moving the stamp. Often I can't remember if I've cut a line so a bend the stamp a little to see where my lines are.
If I remember other posts I've done on carving I will add to this tutorial.
Now go on....get carving!