Stamps are distinctive marks you can use on paper, fabric or different objects for various purposes, such as identification and decoration. Rubber stamps are carved, moulded or laser engraved objects. They leave a mark on a medium when a dye or a pigment ink is applied to their surface and transferred. While there are numerous websites that offer custom and personalised rubber stamps and patterns, you can make you own rubber stamp at home.
Plan your stamp design on paper and make sure to simplify the image if you are making a rubber stamp for the first time. In this part of the process, it is essential to decide which part of the image will be carved in and which part will stand out.
Draw the image on a transparent paper and turn it on the other side to transfer the mirror image onto a carving block. Carving blocks can be bought at arts and crafts stores and art supply stores. They come in a variety of sizes and densities and are basically large erasers. If you don’t have a carving block, you can actually use a large eraser instead.
Remove most of the rubber around the high parts of your stamp design using carving tools such as gauges in different shapes, carving needles, a wire knife and a razor knife as well. Do not carve too close to the actual edge of the image at this point; simply carve the background out.
Carve around the raised parts of the image with a fine and precise carving tool, such as a carving needle. It is very important to keep the edges of the raised surface mild, meaning the slope of the sides should not be vertical or sharp, but sloping toward the lower area.
Continue the carving process, using different tools to achieve different effects. Once the stamp is finally shaped into the desired form, rinse it with water to remove any residue or rubber particles.
Mount the carved stamp on a wooden stand or a clear acrylic block using double-sided tape. You can skip this step if your rubber stamp is already easy to hold and use.
- Make sure to clean your rubber stamp after every use and remove all ink residue from its surface. This will make the rubber stamp last longer.
- Be careful when using sharp tools for carving rubber, such as knifes, v-gouges and razor blades.