or alternatively: how to destroy a perfectly good eraser (as my hubby says).
i've done a little bit of rubber stamp carving in the past, but nothing compared to some of the super inspiring things i've seen online recently! the flickr: carve your stamps pool is pure inspiration, and full of cuteness! i even compiled a list of a few of my favorites quite awhile ago, but when i saw these little snowflakes via gennine's art blog [pretty much her whole set is phenomenal], i knew i had to pull the little erasers back out! and of course, since i have a thing for teeny tiny little items en mass, i knew i couldn't stop with just one.
step 1: materialsi use pentel hi.polymer smooth white erasers- they're soft and easy to carve, and cheap [$1.50 for 3 at walmart/target!] each eraser will make 3 of the little 1" round stamps i'm making here. also a sharpie to draw your designs, and a carving tool. i use a little cheap set meant for wood, walnut hollow 6 piece set, but am dreaming of a speedball linoleum carver [a bit more expensive but still not too bad price-wise, and provides much more control over your design!] you also need some extra wine corks and possibly an x-acto knife.
step 2:trace something the size you want your finished stamp to be [i used a wine cork]. three wine corks will fit on each eraser. gently slice the circles apart with your x-acto or one of the flat carving tools.
step 3:carve around your circle, keeping the carving tool right along the line you have drawn. the only trick to doing this well is trial and error- aka the reason it's good to start out with the cheap erasers!
step 4:draw your design on your nice, smoothed out circle with sharpie. then take the sharp corner of your carving tool and trace back over only the lines you have drawn. don't go too deep or too fast! go slowly and carefully since a slip of the hand can mean a painful cut to your finger or messing up your design.
step 5:once your circle is defined, continue chipping away the sides and flattening out the bottom so that the extra eraser is trimmed off around your circle. [shown right to left in the photo.] you want the bottom to be mostly flat so that it can be glued onto your wine cork. i usually fully flatten it out after i've carved the design because it's easier to hold onto as you're carving before you've trimmed off the extra!
step 6:glue the 'flattened' stamp onto a wine cork so that you have a 'handle' for your stamping success. i used my favorite, rusty trusty e6000.
step 7:test out your stamp to make sure the design is just how you want it. you can very gently and carefully make some changes if one of your lines isn't the smoothest, or that little corner needs to be rounded out a little more, etc. so fun!
and done! repeat and make tons of cheap, fun little stampers. find something fun to put the whole collection in [such as an emptied out and painted altoids tin!] and add to your stash of awesome stamps. maybe even make a set with a theme as a gift for a crafty friend?
but what can i make with my little stampers?
pretty much anything you can stamp! make your own stickers, decorate some post-it notes, stamp some fridge magnets, or stamp your own christmas or valentine cards:
you may even want to carve your own personalized address stamp, or a banana stamp [why not?]. if you're having a hard time picturing what the actual carving part looks like, here's an awesome video of gennine in action [amazing!] and, if on the other hand, you love the look but think i must be a delusional psycho to sit and carve things out of erasers [haha] here is a fantastic etsy shop called cupcake tree where you can buy them pre-done! most of them are around $10 or less.
here are some other stamps i've carved in the past. the bigger one was done with a speedball speedy carve block, which is pink and more like the texture of a classic pink school eraser [a little harder than the white ones]. michael's also carries both of the speedball products shown here, which is great because i love using my 40% off coupons from the paper!
[this one was my original logo for my etsy shop. i used this thing on everything, which is why it's crumbling apart a little bit! in the future i'll probably use the speedball block for something like this- it seems a little more long-lasting for a stamp that will be used a whole lot].