Raise your hand if you’re a sucker for handmade art supplies! Or if you just love them with a passion unequaled by anything else in the retail world. I do. There’s just so much potential for creative play. Which is why I’ve always LOVED hand-carved stamps. There’s a sense of the magical and theatrical in them. The process of taking something you drew, and creating a stamp that you can use again and again. Back to reality – it’s actually a super simple to learn how to make your own rubber stamps. There’s also a pretty big pay off. Not only is what you make unique to you, but you can also use it to create one of a kind stamped fabrics, ceramics, mixed media art, and more. This takes your craft to the next level. And it’s simple. Check out the video below and then let’s learn how to make your own rubber stamps.
As someone who doodled as a kid, printmaking felt like the next step. It’s a super easy craft/art form to play with, and lots of fun. I actually have a short series of posts from my first blog, Art as Usual, about how to make your own rubber stamps. One of the posts shows my then 5 year old drawing the designs, and then printing with his army of hand carved monsters. Besides being easy to make; you don’t need a ton of supplies, and they’re not hard to get. You can find them at most art/craft stores. In order to make it super easy for you (cause I’m a fan of the super easy), I did include links to the products in the supplies list below.
How to Make Your Own Rubber Stamps
- Speedball Speedy Carve Rubber Stamp Material (I compare different types of carving blocks in this product review)
- Linocut Carving Tool
- Pencil (a 6B or softer works best)
- Inkpad (I used distress oxide ink, but recently bought this cheap craft set for fun and liked them)
- Template (optional) Download this for free from my Creativity Resource Library.
Step One: Create Your Design
This just means draw what you want to print on your paper. A simple design, like a heart or flower is a good choice to start with. Always make things easy on yourself when you start. To make it SUPER easy for you I have the template for the rainbow design in my Free Creativity Resource Library. You can just print it out and trace over it with a soft lead pencil.
Step Two: Transfer Your Design
Cut a piece of the rubber stamp material a little larger than the size of your design. You can rough cut it with a scissor, or use a ruler and a craft knife. Then place the paper pencil side down onto your block. Be careful to not move the paper around once you’ve placed it. Then rub the back of the paper with your hand to transfer the pencil to the block. The AWESOME part of this trick is that your image is REVERSED. So when you print it, it will be reversed again, which makes it look like it did to begin with. This is especially cool when you want to cut a word.
Step Three: Assembling the Linocut Carving Tool
To do this, you partially unscrew the collar at the top of your tool. Inside of this is a small ball that has metal fitting around it. When you loosen the collar it makes the area around the ball open up and you can insert the not sharp part of the blade into it. Tighten the collar again, and you’re ready to cut!
Pro Tip: The cutter comes with different types of blades; there is a straight cut, V cuts, U cuts. There are also probably real names for those, but that’s how I named them. Each blade has a number on it as well. The V cuts sharp, thinner lines, and is good for detail cuts. The U blades are more of a scoop. They will cut larger grooves, and are good for removing larger areas of rubber.
Step Four: Start to Carve Your Design
Read the Safety Info below before you start to do this. Okay- so start by outlining your design. I usually use a small V blade for this. Some people do “stop” cuts with the straight blade first so that they don’t accidently overcut into their design. This is a subtractive process, meaning you’re removing the area around your design. It’s easy to cut away, and you can’t add back. So take your time.
Step Five: Carve Away the Extra
This is where I will use a U shaped blade. The goal is to remove the areas of block around your design, so that the only part raised is what you want to print. You can choose deliberately to remove everything around your design, or you can leave some cut marks to print. I like the how obviously handmade my stamps look then. But consider your final purpose. Does handmade fit what you have in mind? Remember you can always go back and cut away more. You can also use a scissor or knife to cut off the edges of your block if you have a lot of excess there.
Step Six: Proof Your Block
Use an ink pad to apply ink your stamp. Then test stamp it onto a sheet of paper. This will show you what will print, and what you might need to still cut away. Remove what you need to, and then repeat the process to check your work; until you get the look you want.
Pro Tip: You get a more even application of the ink if you apply the ink to the stamp, instead of the stamp to the ink.
Step Seven: Clean and Store Your Block
Yay!!! You have an entirely handmade and unique art element that you can use again and again! To clean your stamp, use a mild soap and water. Let dry and then store flat so the rubber doesn’t bend and break. This is more of a problem with brands other than the Speedy Cut Stamp material by Speedball.
Important Safety Information
- ALWAYS cut AWAY from yourself, and be aware of where your other hand is. Never cut towards your hand.
- Hold your block on the side and if you have to change the direction of your cut; turn the block, and continue to cut away from yourself.
- Do not cut deeply. The more you try to remove at once, the more you’ll feel resistance from the block. Which means you’ll put more force into the cut, and you’ll have less control. This makes it much easier for your hand to slip, and makes any potential injuries much more likely and serious.
- Always store the blades in the handle of the cutter. Loose blades are safety hazards. Never sweep away the rubber scraps off the table with your hand IF you have your blades lying on the table.
For More Inspiration!
Now that you have learned how to make your own rubber stamps, for fun I created a DIY Printmaking Board on Pinterest that you can check out for more ideas, and just to see what the possibilities are when you create your own designs. I also have the template for the rainbow stamp in my Creativity Resource Library. To grab this design template just subscribe and you’ll get the SUPER SECRET PASSWORD instantaneously. You’ll also be part of the cool kids club and get a once-a-week extra inspiration email exclusively for my craft tribe.
Want to remember How to Make Your Own Rubber Stamps (the easy way)? Save it to your FAVORITE Pinterest Board!