Thursday 8 January 2009

Childs drawing to a rubber stamp tutorial

I hope this is going to make sense, my head is full of cold!

You will need...
  • a drawing
  • rubber (a plastic eraser can be used)
  • something to carve with, a proper tool or shape knife
  • ink
  • paper to test on
  • something to print on (I used a T-shirt)
  • Iron (depend if you are printing on fabric)

First, find a suitable picture, if it is too big/small you can resize it. It might be an idea to make a copy of the original rather than use the childs masterpiece. Trace over the picture with a soft pencil, I like to use B4.

Place the paper over the rubber and rub with your finger nail, this will transfer then pencil to the rubber.
Remember that your image with be reversed, this is important if you are planning on using text, the writing should be backwards on your eraser.
Now for the carving, with this robot, I carved away all the white but that last robot I carved away his mouth and eyes for a more solid look. Just make sure you decide before you start exactly which bits you are going to carve. My tool is a Speedball and comes with 3 blades that are stored in the handle - very handy.
Once you have carved away the rubber you need to test it, there is always a little bit that might have missed, in this case, I need to remove more around his anteana and the edges. You might prefer to cut away any bits around the edge that are not needed. When you are happy with the print you can mount it on a block of wood, which makes it easier to use. If you stamp the top of the wood, double check that you are sticking the rubber piece on the same way or you will end up with upside down prints (she speaks from experience).
Then get printing, there are lots of different inks available so check you have the right kind for the surface you are printing on. 
For the ink I used, it needs to me set with a hot iron (no steam) for 30 seconds.
Then you are done and you then need a model to P-O-S-E. Luckily I had one on hand...

(click image for bigger picture)
When you are finished printing, stamp of a piece of paper to get rid of an excess ink then wash with warm water, don't scrub at it, the rubber with break off. Pat dry and store in an box, try and lay big stamps flat.
For me, stamp carving is very relaxing, I can get into that 'zone' where I am at perfect peace. As much as I love sewing, I don't have the same feeling when I sew, some people say knitting is relaxing in the same way, for me, if I got into that mode with a pair of knitting needles I would end up tangled in a big ball of yarn, I will stick to the carving I think.
If you give this a go, let me know, I would like to see what you come up with.


  1. I love this idea!

    I saw another stamp like this where a person let their child draw directly onto the stamp. If you want your (older) child to be able to carve, you can take the eraser out of the end of a pencil, squish the metal part that holds the eraser and let them use it for a cutter.

  2. This is such an interesting and useful tutorial. I actually think I might do this for my four year old's signature to use for some thank you notes...

  3. I love it!
    & cheap too.... thanks for sharing with us! Of course it does so help when you have a little cutie to model your creation ;o)

  4. Thanks for this tutorial! I've wanted to make stamps for a while, so maybe I'll finally do it since now I know how :)

  5. You are so cool! This is such a great post and inspiring as usual. Yes, to answer your question for a while back, my book will be available across the sea. Thank you for sharing your ideas and sending me well wishes! PEACE to you and yours, that shirt is adorable!

  6. Both Ebi and you are so gorgeously talented!

  7. I make stamps but I never thought of letting my children stamp their own shirt using their own stamp! What a lovely idea! We are going to do this for sure! Thanks for this tutorial.

  8. super-cute! my 12yo just carved his own stamp as part of his Christmas present-making. :^)

  9. Thank you, it's a wonderful idea! :)

  10. Wow, that looks fabulous, and it's a great idea. The drawing is quite fine - isn't it difficult to cut out around it?
    I shall have to look out for a cutting tool.
    Thanks for sharing :-)

  11. I've been wanting to make my own stamps. this is a great tutorial, thanks.

  12. This is such a fabulous project! I'll be linking!

  13. what a great tutorial - thank you!!

  14. Thank you for all the lovely comments.

    Sam- yes it is quite fiddly for the little fine lines, chunky stamps are easier to cut, of course, one slip and Whoopsie! I use mainly the finest graded tool except for the big areas around the edge. I find it very relaxing, almost zen like but I can image some people would get stressed out about it!

  15. I made a stamp of my son's drawing the same way (basically) and I also let my neice draw directly on the stamping material and I carved it away for her. You can see what we did here

  16. My son wanted to make his own stamp and I'm more than happy to find this tutorial! thanks! This will make us busy on this rainy monday ;-)

    By the way, what kind of ink do you use for printing the t-shirt?

  17. I usually use the Versa craft ink, I have found that one washes the best.


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