You don’t need to be an artist to make your own hand carved rubber stamp. With an ink jet or laser printer, you can simply print out and iron on any design that you want to carve. From there, it’s just a matter of keeping a steady hand and patience as you carve it out.
- A sheet of Speedball Speedy-Carve. It’s pink, so it’s easy to remember which one to buy. They sell this at Hobby Lobby for $6.99. Use your 40% off coupon to get a deal!
- A gouge chisel. You’ll find these in the same section as the Speedy-Carve at Hobby Lobby. The tip comes off, kind of like with calligraphy pens, so you can switch it out for different sizes. I already had this in the garage.
- An X-acto knife
- E-6000 Adhesive
- A piece of wood to mount your stamp onto. Thickness doesn’t really matter. The height and width should match your finished stamp size. I bought craft wood at Hobby Lobby and cut this piece with a saw. It was stained as part of the aged wooden display box project.
- Rubber Pipe Insulation Tape. It’s about $8.99 at Lowes. And it will last you forever and ever, since you get 30 feet in a package. And, bonus, I guess you can insulate your pipes with it too!
To begin, lay your wood over top of the Speedy-Carve, and use it as a guide to trim the Speedy-Carve with your X-acto blade.
Next, I actually went ahead and put my whole stamp “sandwich” together. But I’m thinking that I should have waited. So pardon some of the photos showing this step out of order, but we are going to wait on the glue and go ahead and carve.
First, measure your stamp. Then, create a file in Photoshop (or whatever image editing program you use) to those dimensions. Paste in whatever art that you want on your stamp. In my case, I used some more of Matthew’s hand lettering. You could use a simple illustration. Or, you could just pick a favorite font and type something out.
Whatever you end up using for your design, you’ll want to make sure that it is black before you print it. So, if it’s a colored image, turn your image to black and white. And if it’s gray, mess with the brightness and contrast until it’s as close to pure black as you can get it. Then, just print it out on your ink jet or laser printer, and cut the printout to match your stamp size.
Heat up your iron to medium heat. Lay the printed image face down on the Speedy-Carve. Then, making sure the paper stays still, begin ironing. I’ve found that if you do this right after printing, it works best. I let my second printout sit for half an hour, and it didn’t transfer quite as well. Carefully lift up your paper from time to time, to see if it has transferred dark enough. If not, keep ironing.
The image transfer won’t be super dark, but should be visible enough for you to see where you’re carving. The Speedy-Carve will be pretty hot at first. Let it cool a few minutes before trying to carve it. (Remember how I said I mounted mine to the wood first, but don’t recommend it? That’s because the heat from the iron melted my glue a bit.)
Once it’s cool, you can begin carving. Remember that anything you carve will not pick up ink when you stamp it. So for this stamp, my letters will be un-inked. If you want your letters to be the stamp, instead of a negative like mine, you’ll need to carve around the letters and leave them untouched.
After you’re done carving, you can try it out. If it’s not exactly like you want it, flip it over and keep carving. Next, we’re going to mount it to the wood. But you might want to make a print of your stamp on one side of your wood block.
When you’re done, it’s time to make your stamp sandwich – a piece of foam in between your Speedy-Carve and the wood. Mounting the stamp to the wood with foam results in a much better print, since you can apply more even pressure to it. Here’s the step-by-step:
Let it dry, and you’re done!