Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The CUTEST Inexpensive Hand Carved Stamps

So, I'm stepping out of my comfort zone, art-wise. I discovered art journaling about a year ago, but I remember thinking, "Why the heck would I want to make art in a journal when I could put it on canvas and display or sell it???"
Obviously, I was stupid. Well, not really, but I just didn't get it.
Until recently. 
Art journals are a wonderful way to express one's self, but for me, they're a great way to "practice" my art. Now, don't get me wrong. When I create a beautiful page in my journal, I think to myself, "Crap. I could have put that on a canvas." Oh, well.
I'm also learning to let go of my perfectionism. Of course, nothing I do is perfect, but I would like to think it is. I'm trying to let go of straight lines, perfectly washed out brushes, and a pristine canvas.
Enter hand-carved stamps. 
I love them.
Absolutely love them. 
They are fun.
They are whimsical.
And there's no way they could be perfect. 
I started out with my linoleum cutters. This set belonged to my MIL. I'm not sure what she used them for, but I inherited them. Yay for me.
The tips are interchangeable.

I find that for stamp carving, I use the tiny one more often than the others.

I started by purchasing a Speedball Speedy Carve Carving Block. Then I quickly discovered: 
1. I LOVED making them.
2. That I'd go broke soon, and my daughter would have to drop out of college because I couldn't afford to send her there anymore because I was buying too many blocks.
So, I found a much cheaper alternative. MUCH cheaper. Stay tuned....

This was my first attempt with the expensive block. I really like the rustic, non-perfect look.

Then, I read on the "interwebs" (as HubbyDoc would say), that you can use dollar store big erasers. 
Can you say habit score???

I was skeptical at first, but then I took my tools to the rubber, as they say. 
Well, "they" really don't say that.

I love the erasers because I can make about 4 small stamps (2 on each side), and I can use the sides as well. 
I just draw the shape I want and cut it out. I does help to do a little planning, and you can color in the areas that you definitely want to remove (keeping in mind that that's the part that will be light and not inked), but I just eyeball them. 
There are a few things to keep in mind. 
1. ALWAYS cut away from your body and your hands. I just had to say it.
2. This isn't a children's craft, for obvious reasons.
3. The tools are sharp. Or they should be. You should use gentle pressure. If you have to press hard, your tool isn't sharp enough and it's time to buy a new one.

I tend to turn my rubber instead of turning the tool. I think you have better control that way.

Here's one of the slanted ends. I just stuck my small tool slightly into the rubber and twisted it around, essentially gouging it out. See. It isn't perfect. Yay.

Ink your stamp up really, really well. I find that the eraser stamps don't take the ink quite as easily as your regular store bought rubber stamps. So, just ink well.

These stamps aren't super pliable, so I like to press the paper onto the stamp instead of the stamp on the paper.

Here's a sample of the difference. On the right, I stamped the rubber to the paper. On the left, I stamped the paper to the rubber. Of course, I'll still be able to use both. If you're using your stamp on a canvas project, keep in mind that you might end up with the look on the right, which in my opinion, is part of the "charm", as "they" say.

Then after I stamped the flower, I realized the center was too dull, so I changed it up.

I took a piece of cut out chevron plastic from a one of my tag stencils.

Then I traced it with a pen and cut it out of the thick end. You can play with how you want it to look. Think positive and negative space. You could just carve out the lines, or carve out sections. I decided to do sections.

And, here's what it looks like, stamped with some acrylic paint.

If you don't like the "leftover" lines, then just carve them away. I think they provide a rustic look.
Here's a brick wall design. Notice, all I did was carve lines. No rocket science here, Peeps!

I stamped it with distress stain. You can see the chevron on the side. Gotta make use of ALL surfaces since I'm cheap frugal.

Here's a little fox. She was a little more intricate, but I like her. Remember to take away as little as possible, stamp with it, and then you can see what you don't like and take more away. You can always cut more, but you can't UNCUT!

Here are all of my stamps so far. I stamped them with archival/permanent ink onto dried out teabags, naturally stained, of course. The one on the bottom left is a border that I made from leftovers of the key stamp. GOTTA USE ALL SURFACES, PEEPS!!! ;)

I believe this is a new addiction hobby.

Just think of the possibilities! Gesso, molding paste, Gelatos, inks, paints, gouache, etc., etc. etc. You'll be able to actually use all of your crap supplies!
Thanks for stopping by, Everyone!


  1. LOVE these!!! How cool. I just purchased a set of carving tools as I've wanted to try this for some time now....I'm going to be hitting up my Dollar Store when I get home from the cabin! Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. You're welcome, Yvonne. I have to warn ya....

  2. I've been collecting erasers hoping I would find a way to embark on making my own stamps.. Thank you for encouraging me to step out and trying something.. I should be more than capable of doing!! I love your stamps.. and as soon as I make one.. I will share it with you!!! Thank you for being an inspiration!

    1. That would be super, Tamiko! I'd love to see it! I'm so glad you've been inspired! That makes my snowy day. Fondly, Tami

  3. oh your little fox is adorable and that key is to DIE for! Love these!

  4. What a neat hobby. I remember carving with tools like these a long time ago, but I can't remember what I carved. Using erasers as stamps is a great idea! Thank you for linking up to Tips and Tricks. Hope to see you next week.

    1. It is really neat...because it is SO cheap, Kathleen! Once you have the tools, there's very little cost. I like that. Fondly, Tami

  5. Loving those stamps! I much prefer the hand-crafted ones to commercial (although they have their place too), and yours are great fun!

    1. Yes, Win Dinn. I'm starting to really like them more than my commercially made stamps. They're a little bit easier to store as well. Thanks for the kudos. Fondly, Tami

  6. So is this something that I have to look out for now wonder if we have those big erasers in the stores here in Australia?
    Your stamps look awesome and how cute is that little fox..
    Great work..
    Sandy :)

    1. I hope you do, Sandy, because they are FUN! Fondly, Tami

  7. I was thinking of going to the Dollar store this morning, Now I can add eraser to my list!

  8. Those are so neat -- wonder if I could borrow some of my son's wood carving tools to try it out?

  9. So cool and totally creative! I'll have to keep my eyes peeled for these.
    The paper looks so good! Thanks for sharing.

  10. What a neat hobby you have there, and I think you are the first one I've met. I wonder if hubs has any wood craving tools, kinda exciting to know you can make whatever you want! Thanks so much for sharing your creative inspiration last week with Sunday's Best

  11. This is really cool and looks so easy, I´m going to have to see if my big brother (he has everything LOL) owns some carving tools to "lend" me LOl or something like that. Thank you so much for sharing this and giving me the link.
    hugs Tora

  12. Just found your link - thank you! I was so inspired by your post on FB/DLP that I dug out some of those tools and carving block (from eons ago) and went to town. Made a scalloped border that is imperfectly super-cute! Now, I want to try a fox!! I need a much smaller blade though. Thanks again for the link...and now, the reassurance that I was right on track

  13. Fantastic! I have done the small erasers...but still on the hunt for the large ones. You are right...addictive!


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