Throughout the years I’ve carved a lot of stamps and one of my favorite uses is to brand my items. Printed bags and stickers cost a lot of money and that’s not always easy for a small business to come by. On top of that, I like the handmade aspect of stamping. All of my packaging is thought out and has a very handmade feel, which is important to me. After all, anyone can upload their logo and have something printed, this is unique.
I keep all of my stamping supplies and finished pieces in a plastic box. I like this design because it keeps my sharp tools in the tray on the top while my finished stamps are safely stored on the bottom.
The first thing you’ll need will be carving blades and a carving block. I prefer the Speedball brand because it’s easy to find in local craft stores. Pictured above is a basic set of carving tools with a wooden handle along with a Speedy Carve block. This block is smooth and rubbery (like a pink eraser) so the one thing you have to watch for is that you don’t carve too deep.
Carving tools will vary, but if you stick with a size 1, 2 & 4, that’s all you’ll need for smaller carves.
This size is great for more shallow carves. I used this size to carve the words “THANK YOU” into the stamp pictured below.
This size has a deep V shape. This is used to create a deep carve with precision and it’s the main size I use when carving a stamp.
This is the widest size I used and it resembles a square. Use a size 4 for removing bulk in wide areas.
For this tutorial I will be carving a “Fresh Eggs” logo in a 6 x 4 carving block. I plan to use this to stamp egg cartons. Once you figure out what size stamp you are carving print out your logo in reverse or “mirrored” on regular printer paper in that size. Remember that larger, bolder designs will stamp nicely and they will be easier to carve.
Next, grab a pencil and turn your paper over. Hold the paper up to a light source, such as a window, and circle the area you will be printing.
Within this circle use your pencil to scribble with your graphite. This will be used to transfer the image onto the stamp similar to carbon paper.
Cut out your design and you’re ready to attach it to your carving block with tape. Make sure it’s secure so it won’t move while you’re transferring it. The graphite will transfer easily so make sure you handle it carefully.
Use a ballpoint pen (empty ball point pens work great) to trace around your design. For my letters I am tracing around the edge of the letters, not actually on them. this will give me a perfect line to remove on the outside of the letters. Lift up the paper to check that your lines are defined before removing.
Next is the fun part: removing the paper.
This transferred perfectly!
It’s time to carve so let’s get out that 1, 2 and 4 blade and get to work! I’m using a number 2 to begin. It’s important to move in one fluid motion for rounded spaces. If you have to stop mid line that could cause a slight bump in your design.
When carving, carve away from body, never towards. Carving blades should move smoothly through the block so don’t rush and work slowly to avoid slip ups.
Carve the entire premier of your design first. This will give you a guide to removing the rest of the stamp, even if the graphite smudges. Remember to remove it little by little because you can always take more off, but you can’t put it back on.
Next is removing all of the excess around your design. Use any size you need to complete this and keep moving slow and steady.
And there we have our completed stamp -time to clean up!
Optionally, if there is a lot of empty space around your stamp you can remove it with a sharp pair of scissors. Cutting away the excess will ensure a cleaner print.
I’m adding permanent ink to this stamp to test it out. One of my favorite is StazOn for it’s durability and it has a sweet almond scent.
The finished product is beautiful! Make sure you wash your stamp after you’re done using it.
You can mount your finished stamp on a piece of wood or clear block. This block is from Hobby Lobby and I used super glue to adhere the stamp. The clear blocks are great because you can see though them and know exactly where you’re placing it.
When I am stamping a large batch, like these shopping bags, I use permanent acrylic paint and a brayer to roll the paint on.
Another way you can brand with your logo is to use different types of paint and ink. Below is a fabric tote bag that I printed using fabric paint. I use these totes at markets as a bonus for larger purchases.
It’s important to know that mistakes do happen and my finished logo stamp was not the first one I worked on. Below on the bottom left you’ll see my first attempt. After almost 3 hours of carving my hand slipped. It wasn’t bad, but it was enough to destroy a whole word. I decided to cut out the first word completely and keep the stamp, thought I’ve never used it. Live and learn, and know that mistakes happen, even if you know what you’re doing.
©The Roving Nomad