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How to Carve Custom Rubber Stamps

00:03  Mail artist Chuck Welch
01:11   Types of Speedy Cut
01:55   Wrens in a birdhouse in NH
02:37   Pencil drawing

03:19   Brush pen drawing
03:54   Transfer process
04:54   Carving the Speedy Cut
08:23   Printing

10:19   Many wrens
11:21    Embossing powder
13:02   Heat gun
14:35   Bloopers

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Create a rubber stamp.

Core Ideas

Shape, Pattern, Repetition, Line

Speedball Logo

Materials provided by Speedball

Recommended Tutorials


Art Prof Caution

Utility knives and linoleum cutters are extremely sharp and it’s really easy to cut yourself by accident!  We recommend wearing a kevlar glove on your hand which is not cutting to prevent injuries.

Art Supplies: Cutting Mat
Art Supplies: Strathmore Softcover Sketchbook
Art Supplies: Utility Knife
Art Supplies: Linoleum Cutter
Art Supplies: Brush Pen
Art Supplies: Kevlar Glove
Speedball Speedy Carve
Speedball Speedy Cut
Embossing Powder
X-acto knife
Rives BFK Paper
Art Supplies: Heat Gun
Art Supplies: Pencil
Art Supplies: Stamp Pad

Partial Video Transcript

Lauryn: “My dad taught me how to make rubber stamps when I was little. He has this huge collection of his own that he made, because he used them in his collage and things.”

Eloise: “What kind of art does he do?”

Lauryn: “He’s a mail artist, like M-A-I-L.”

Eloise: “Oh, like the post!”

Lauryn: “Yeah, yeah! So he makes his own cancellation stamps, and puts them on envelopes and stuff, and makes his own little designs, and sends them back and forth to other artists, and they’re really really cool.”

Eloise: “Have you ever done that?”

Lauryn: “A little bit actually, yeah. When I was in high school, I did a lot of that, so that’s where I really got most of my rubber stamp making techniques.”

Eloise: “So I’m really curious about learning how to do this because most of what I do is digital.”

Lauryn: “I would love to pass this on to you, especially since you also do some collage things. This would be really good for your work.”

Eloise: “Yes, the one thing that I do that’s physical art is collage and sketch booking, and I’m really excited to learn how to make stamps because it feels like a really logical progression.”

Lauryn: “Yeah, it’s like the easiest beginner step into printmaking. I made these little wren stamps last night. They took me about an hour each to do.”

Eloise: “That’s so fast!”

Lauryn: “I use the Speedball speedy cut for this, this gray material. And it’s super super soft, it’s a little bit crumbly, but it works really well for making a basic design.”

Eloise: “What is the difference between all of these?”

Lauryn: “So the difference between these is this is probably the easiest to carve. It has a bit of a rough edge, but you get like the Xerox-y look to it. Finally, what we have is the speedy carve, which has a bit more integrity to it, but it’s also a little more difficult to carve. Still really easy to carve though. My example that I’m going to make today will be on the speedy carve. So I have these two wrens here, and we’re going to do a third one today. I’m really into wrens right now.”

Eloise: “Why wrens?”

Lauryn: “We just put up this birdhouse at home that’s handmade and some wrens moved into it, which I thought was so cool! We have several different species in New Hampshire, so I’m going on my bird kick and I’m doing all of the wrens.

So I did these two here. This is a Carolina wren, this is a house wren, and we are going to do the marsh wren. Just be aware that whatever is printed on the surface of the plate is going to come out the opposite way once you stamp it down.”

Eloise: “That’s got to be really hard when you’re doing the alphabet.”

Lauryn: “Yeah, everybody’s first time, they always end up putting their letters backwards (including me). When I’m making my drawing, I like to use a Tombow brush pen because I can get different weights of line. I can get something really really skinny, or I can get a really thick line. I like to have a line drawing put together first, just so I know where the basic shapes are going to be, because you can’t erase marker.

I’m just going to use a pencil and draw in the basic shapes of the wren. I’ve got the little head – I really like how their little heads are attached to these big bodies, like they’re just one big puff ball. But that puff ball is made of several different shapes! The pencil gets confusing because pencils have various shades. A marker can either be black or not black. That’s the way the stamp is going to work: you have your ink, and then you have the things that don’t have ink on them. So it helps you figure out what you want your stamp to actually look like.

Since I’m making a transfer out of this image, the next step is to color in with a soft pencil all of the black areas. I want to get it nice and fully covered and color rather dark. You want the pencil to easily transfer onto your carving surface.

I’m going to do the actual transfer. I’m going to try to line it up with the edge of my carving surface.”

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