Making Tiny Rubber Stamps

One of my test pages. Pencil: Pentel Twist-Erase XP. The notebook is a Nakabayashi. Stamp: is supposed to be a mug. I'm hoping it actually looks like one.

One of my test pages. Pencil: Pentel Twist-Erase XP. The notebook is a Nakabayashi. Stamp is supposed to be a mug. I’m hoping it actually looks like one.

I love tiny stamps. You can get some nice sets–I actually have some that I bought a while back, that I really like. (“Diary stamps” was the search term that finally worked for me, I think.) But I’ve also found that I get vaguely discontented using someone else’s images. Even if my images are a lot less finessed, less professional, I like seeing them. So yesterday, I set out to make some small stamps for a journal/calendar-type thing I’m trying.

It’s been a long time since I’ve done a craft project, and I have to say, it felt really good. Unfortunately, I’d forgotten a lot of what I learned from making the first set of rubber stamps, so I had to learn again. And I don’t know what tutorials/instructions I used the last time–this time, I just winged it based on what I remembered.

I’m assuming you already know the basics of rubber stamp carving, but if you don’t, I think this is one of the tutorials I used for my first pass, who knows how many months ago. There’s another tutorial here, which I may or may not have seen before making my first stamps, but the way the X-Acto knife is used is quite similar to how I used my X-Acto knife this time, so there you go.

With that, here are the tools I found most useful in making particularly small stamps:

  • A piece of paper to draw the design on
  • Carving rubber to transfer the design onto (see tutorial links)
  • An X-Acto knife to trace the design once it’s on the carving rubber (see the second link)
  • A mechanical pencil. The “mechanical” part is important, because I used the metal tip to carve away rubber. It was really good for getting into tight spaces. I used a Pentel Twist-Erase XP, if that helps. I found the X-Acto knife/mechanical pencil team far more useful for the tiny stamps than a linoleum cutter.
  • Foam mounting tape. I’m sure I read somewhere, during my first foray into rubber stamp carving, that foam (though perhaps not specifically foam mounting tape) is the right way to mount these things, but I can’t remember where. I also remember reading a lot about adhesives, getting really confused, and then just buying foam mounting tape instead, which… I’ll talk about in a second.
  • Tiny wooden blocks to mount the stamps on
  • A stamp pad

Other tips: obviously, be super careful with the X-Acto knife. (And, for that matter, with the pencil.) Also, the foam mounting tape probably isn’t the best way of mounting stamps–I have found that it doesn’t stick as permanently as one might wish. But it is super easy to apply, which is a win for me. I don’t use my stamps enough to need a heavy-duty adhesive.

Like most of the projects I do, this one is pretty easy–the complexity of the carving depends on the complexity of the image. (I did carve another stamp on Sunday, but it… did not go as well. Or maybe it’s ok; I’m just not sold on it yet. The point is, the mug was a lot simpler.) I’m thinking I’ll add more stamps as needed. And I’ll try to use some of the stamps I already have, because they’re fantastic.

With that, I’ll let you all get back to your Monday. Good luck to anyone who’s planning to try a craft project! And to everyone else: I hope your week is off to a good start, and that it’s full of (to sort of quote my sample calendar/journal entry above) only the best things happening, and wonderful stuff to note!