Photopolymer stamps are similar to silicon stamps but produce crisper, higher resolution images. Although you can purchase photopolymer stamps from your local craft shop, buying ready-made stamps can be expensive. Making your own stamps at home is a simple process and, once you have the right equipment, there is no limit to the number of different designs you can make yourself. Once you are used to the different steps, the whole process can take less than 15 minutes.
Create the design you want to on the stamp using the graphics software on your computer. According to jewellery maker Louise Duhamel, a crisp image in black and white works best.
Invert the image using the graphics software so that it appears reversed. If you can't do this using the software, you can create a negative of the image. Do this by placing a blank sheet of negative film over the picture and then putting the two sheets under UV light. Wait about 40 seconds for the negative film to be exposed. Once the film has exposed, spray it with developing solution, using the cotton pad to make sure the film is evenly covered. Then, wash the solution off using warm water. You now have your negative image.
Place the glass sheet on a flat surface and put the negative or inverted image on top. Place four foam strips around the outside of the image in a square, ensuring that they form a dam to prevent the liquid resin from leaking. Cover the image with a layer of liquid photopolymer resin.
Place the glass sheet with the image and the resin under a UV light, and leave it there until the resin over the exposed parts of the image has hardened. Refer to the resin manufacturer's instructions for how long this might take.
Wash the dried stamp gently under warm water. This will remove the parts that are still liquid.
Trim the stamp to size using a pair of large scissors or a craft knife. Mount the stamp on the wooden block using a strong craft glue, and it is now ready to use.
Keep the negative or inverted image for future use, as these pictures can be used repeatedly.
Tips and warnings
- Keep the negative or inverted image for future use, as these pictures can be used repeatedly.
Things you need
- Graphics software (e.g. Adobe Illustrator)
- Laser printer
- Vellum paper or transparent overhead paper
- Daylight-safe negative film
- Cotton wool
- Developer solution
- Glass plate
- Photopolymer resin
- Foam strips
- UV light
- Warm water
- Piece of wood for mounting the stamp
- Scissors or craft knife