Saturday, October 20, 2012

Starting My Stamp Collection

Now, I don't mean postage stamps. I have zero knowledge of those. I'm talking rubber stamps. My inspiration came from a DIY stamp I came across on Pinterest

Last Christmas I looked everywhere for classic gift tags like these. I just love the rectangles with the two corners cut off! The only ones I found were from The Container Store and cost way more than they were worth. So, when I saw this pin I thought it would be a perfect DIY project.

In high school I made a lot of carved stamps/block prints. I can't even remember what designs I did, but I do remember enjoying the process, aside from occasionally stabbing my hand with the carving tool. I knew exactly what I needed, but I didn't know where to get it. I called Michael's, no dice. Called JoAnn's, no dice. Called Hobby Lobby, out of stock. Waited a few days and called back and got the green light! I never go to Hobby Lobby because it's a lot farther than Michael's and it never seems as nice inside. Plus they have about 20x as much stuff and I always feel overwhelmed by it all. 

First thing I did was check the app store to see if Hobby Lobby was on their game like Michael's is and to my surprise, they had coupons that are just as good! I knew going in that I could get 40% off of a regular priced item. On my shopping list were: the carving tool, the rubber material (which looks a lot like a big flat eraser) and brown paper. The only rubber they had was tinted blue or pink which was kind of off putting... but it was my only choice. The carving tool was exactly like the one we used in high school: Speedball with interchangeable tips that are stored inside the tool itself! The bottom of the carver screws off and there's a little compartment inside to put them. Suh-weet.

I know it's not even Halloween, but Christmas is just around the corner and I couldn't hold out any longer. I wanted to use elements of the Pinterest stamp but add a seasonal nudge, so I made this sketch in Word.

Luckily I remembered that any time you do lettering it has to be backwards on the stamp (or it'll be backwards on your paper). There was always that kid in high school art that forgot to reverse their letters and ruined their entire stamp. So, I took a screen shot and then flipped the image horizontally as a guide to my sketch. Crisis averted.

First I drew on the border to test the waters a little.

I attached the narrowest carving tip and started removing the negative space. The pieces come off in little strips which, if you have a child around (or a fiancé in my case), provide a lot of entertainment. John loved them, haha.

Next I added the tree and the To______________

Then went for the From________________ which turned out to be pretty tricky. Those tiny letters were not cooperative.

I got some regular stamp ink and inked it up!

After a few test runs I cut out the paper to look like a proper tag and punched a hole for raffia or ribbon.

 I don't totally love it, but it was a decent first try. The letters look kind of kindergarten, but when they're that small it's just sooo hard to make them look pretty. Better luck next time I guess. I do like that the empty space at the bottom leaves a spot for a little message to the giftee. I might do one for birthday cards next? Or Christmas cards? 

Have any of you done these before? Any fun uses other than on paper?

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