Eraser-Carved Rubber Stamps
Rubber stamps are wonderful and can be used in all sorts of craft
projects, but they can also be expensive, and you’re limited to whatever images are available. No worries. You can easily make your own
stamps with materials you probably already have around the house.
You will need: Art gum eraser (one for each stamp you make);
transfer paper, carbon paper, or pencil graphite; X-Acto knife
(with new blade); pencil and pen; stamp pad
1. Create the image.
Draw an image, making it iconographic and bold. Size it to fit the eraser. When
you’re pleased with the design, make a mirror image of it. To do this, tape the image
against a window during daylight (or use a light table if handy) and trace it on the
other side of the paper.
2. Transfer the image.
Transfer the image onto the eraser using a transfer medium (if you are using
graphite, rub inverse before tracing). Tape the image (and transfer medium,
if used) to the sides of the eraser to hold firmly in place. Once the image is
transferred, go over it with ink to make it sharper.
3. Carve the stamp.
Carefully cut away the eraser from around the image. Work on small sections at
a time. Try to keep the depth of cuts about the same. Inspect the stamp to make
sure all excess material has been removed. If you become impatient, take a break.
TIP: Crosshatch or mark all areas to carve away so that you don’t get confused
and cut something you weren’t supposed to.
4. Test and tweak.
Illustrations by Dustin Hostetler
When you’re finished carving, test the stamp. Shallowly carved areas may mess up
the impression, or the image may not look right. You may want to add details
or make changes.
Once perfected, stamp the new image onto self-adhesive label paper and affix
to the top of the eraser to show the stamp’s image and to properly orient and align
the image when stamping.
That’s it! Now you have a little replicable piece of art you can use to decorate
greeting cards, letters, postcards, wrapping paper … you name it.
Gareth Branwyn is a regular contributor to CRAFT and writes widely about do-it-yourself technologies.
He also runs the personal tech website Street Tech ( streettech.com).