Way back in high school, one of the fun things we did in art class was create our own stamps by carving linoleum blocks. Recently, I’ve been thinking about that project and the possibility of not only creating my own stamps, but also beautiful stamped fabric.
Carving linoleum for stamps is just one of many ways to create your own personal stamps. Since I thoroughly enjoyed it in school, I went on line looking for a small kit to get me started!
You can purchase linoleum blocks for printmaking as well as a linoleum cutter and blades at your local art supply store or online. I located a Block Printing Starter Kit on Amazon that included everything I needed to get started.
It included a linoleum cutter with three different size blades, a block of linoleum with a wood backing, a brayer, tray and printing ink. I love to purchase kits when I’m trying out a new craft. It supplies everything that I need, and if I end up not enjoying it as much as I thought I would, then I’m not out a ton of money.
Affiliate links to Amazon below
For this project I used:
I began by designing my own vintage camper pattern. As you probably already guessed, I’m a huge fan of camping themed crafts. The ultimate fun of designing your own stamps is creating your own designs. It could be meant for scrapbooking, cards, wedding announcements, fabric design, or other forms of art.
You can design what you love, or even use my free vintage camper download!
Print the pattern to the size that you want. Flip it over and color in the backside of the paper with a charcoal pencil.
Lay the pattern onto the linoleum side of your block, and then trace the design. The design will transfer onto your linoleum.
Use a pen to draw over your transferred lines so that they will not smudge off while you are working on carving the stamp.
Bust out your linoleum cutter and start carving! The kit that I used came with a variety of blades, some with more of a U shape and some with more of a V shape. I used the U-shaped blades for removing large pieces of linoleum in the wider areas and the V-shaped blades for cutting the details and outlines. Carve with the curve of the blade down into the linoleum.
When deciding where to carve keep in mind that what isn’t carved is going to print. Decide where your lines are and what you want to show up when stamped.
Linoleum is much harder to carve than rubber or soft carving blocks. It is best to take a slow approach when carving it. Working fast may result in the cutting tools slipping.
Please note: The blades on the cutting tool are sharp! This is not a project for young children or anyone struggling with fine motor skills. Always cut the linoleum away from you and work slowly to avoid hurting yourself with the sharp blade!
This is my finished piece. Note that I had to go grab some pink ink and try it out before I remembered to take a photo. (I got a bit carried away with my fun new project!)
There were a few errors in the finished stamp (places where I slipped), but all in all, I was pleased with my first stamp.
How to stamp
I practiced on paper first to see how my design worked. I used stamping ink pads rather than the ink and brayer method. I found that it created less mess and gave me a more even coating of ink.
I also found that my stamp got a better ink when I dabbed my ink pad onto the stamp instead of the other way around. I also discovered that I could get much better coverage by using a block printing mat behind my paper.
My new stamp made a great addition to one of the pages of my daily journal.
I used this same technique to print my pattern onto a piece of cotton fabric. Be sure that if you are stamping on fabric that you use ink meant for fabric. After the ink has thoroughly dried, you can apply a hot iron to the design in order to set the ink.
I then used fabric markers to add in details and create something unique.
I plan to use my camper prints to make either hot pads or placemats with. I think they will be a fun addition to my RV!
Have you ever tried linoleum stamp making? What did you make with your stamps?