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How to make your own stamps

How to make your own stamps

Are you afraid of clean drawing paper sometimes? Or do you have students who have a hard time taking risks and daring surprising outcomes? Then stamps are perfect for you!

For me, stamps are a great way to relax and to forget about how the picture is supposed to look like in the end. Stamps give me the comfortable feeling that I can just print it again, if I doesn't work out. Make your own stamps and use them to simply enjoy the process of making pictures!

Follow these 5 steps and you’ll have your own stamp:

1. Find a motif. I love animals, so I usually look for pictures of animals on the Internet, in old biology books or I take pictures of them myself. Just make sure your motif has good light-dark contrasts. (Feel free to download my drawing, if you want a Tapir-stamp. After colouring the dark parts with pencil, you can directly go to step 4)

2. Make a pencil drawing. Use a soft pencil to draw your motif. The size of the drawing will be the size of your stamp. If you are not very experienced in drawing, you can also print out your motif in the right size and simply use the pencil to draw over it. 


3. Rub the drawing on your printing block. After putting your drawing on the printing block, you can do this easily with your fingers or an eraser. The drawing is now on your printing block, showing you where the white parts are (which you will carve out) and where the black spaces are (which will print the ink on your paper).

4. Carve out! Linoleum cutters are perfect for this. I usually keep looking at my drawing while doing this to make sure I don't forget a delicate part that is especially important.

5. Stamp! There's so much you can do with your own stamp. Students as well as children love inventing ornaments with them. You can decorate wrapping paper or design wallpapers, or make wild collages. Create a dozen of different pictures with just one simple motif, play around with the printing colour, the colour and texture of the paper, the arrangement of the motif on the paper, you can add drawings, cut motifs out and glue them on a collage…

Here are just a few ideas to get you, your students or your children started!

Optional: 6. Make a stamp handle. I enjoy making my own handles for stamps. Just cut some wood or use your child's old wooden blocks. Don't forget to stamp on the wood before you glue.

All you need:

  • Soft pencil
  • Printing block: giant erasers or professional eraser like print blocks (e. g. Factis printblock, Speedball Speedy-carve or Speedy–cut)
  • Linoleum cutters
  • Ink (e.g. water soluble block printing inks and ink pad or linocut colour and brayers