Sorry I’ve gone a bit MIA again but I can’t seem to shake off this ‘busy bee’ mode I’ve been in since the early autumn months but that being said, I have had more craftiness involved this time with the festive season in full swing…. just finding the time to blog about it all is the tricky bit! :P Anyway, I thought I’d start off with this quick and simple method of making your own rubber stamps for some Christmas crafting and decorating. Well you all know by now, how big a fan I am of this method so in this post, I’m going to show you how to create little christmas motifs – mini baubles in this case – to snazz up anything from gift tags to greeting cards to gift wrap. It really is the most simple thing; with the right tools and a BIG tablespoon of creativity (and a pinch of patience!) the choices you get out of it are endless. Obviously your designs can be a lot more intricate but if you’re short of time and still want something handmade and effective in the space of an hour……this is it! :)
- First up – sketch out your designs onto some tracing or detail paper (baking paper or anything translucent that can take graphite is also good) or use it to trace over artwork you find inspirational (please don’t copy works of others though!) With the bauble motifs, you can free hand draw the circles or use a circular template of some sort – I used the nearest thing to me…….cellotape! :)
- Once you’re happy with the design/s turn the tracing paper over so that your design is facing down and onto the lino rubber block. Position it accordingly and you’re ready to transfer your artwork onto the block. Now – these ‘speedy-carve’ lino blocks aren’t cheap so if you want a much cheaper alternative (or simply don’t have any kicking about) for small-scale craft projects, just use your ordinary rubber/eraser you get from your local stationery shop! I’ve shown you here how to get the same results using one from WH Smiths!
- Next up, trace over your designs (on what is now the reverse side of the paper) making sure all the lines are covered thoroughly and you’ll find that they have transferred onto the block. If they come out faint, go over it again or fill it up using a fine-nibbed pen. A little note to keep in mind if you do more complex work: your artwork will be the ‘reversed’ image on the lino block, but will come out the ‘right way round’ when printed — this is definitely important to remember when working with lettering/type! But don’t worry….as its a mistake we all do and learn from! ;)
- I cut these up into little square blocks to minimise on wastage when carving. And with your lino cutters, slowly carve away (at least a couple of millimetres, in layers) around your designs and the areas you don’t want to print (i.e the negative spaces) to create your final stamp/s! This is the fun and tricky bit so if this is your first time, do spend some time here and not rush through it. And please do try to keep your fingers out of the path of the blade!
Once they’re all carved up and ready to be used, clear away your workspace of all the rubber shavings and mess before starting on the stamping process. For this stage, all you need are some pigment ink stamp pads and whatever material you want to stamp on; from paper, card stock, gift tags, t-shirts etc. I don’t really need to give you much instruction here…..only to enjoy yourself and let your creativity take control! Keeping your designs simple allows for versatility; whether its working with various colours or adding simple details to go that extra mile. I created little bows out of twine which I added onto the gift tags and on the card I drew in the bauble ‘strings’ with gold pen. As I said…the choices are endless! :)
What I’ve shown you in this post is the most SIMPLEST design and technique in hope that it encourages you to give this a try. It’s different from your luxury festive gift wrapping but what you’ve done is personalise it on a whole new level. And hey – if you want to jazz it up…you can! You can use metallic stamps, glitter, ribbons, ornaments…whatever takes your fancy. Just be confident and let your imagination carry you away!
Also, this is a great little crafting project to do with the kids (although, I’d recommend you do the carving part and leave the stamping to them!). And, if you don’t have time or money for rubber blocks….use potatoes for some good old-fashioned stamping fun! Check this awesome one by Martha Stewart which I think I’ll try myself in the new year! :)
So, have fun and until next time…..happy festive crafting!! xxx