Sketch to Stamp tutorial: Part 1

One of our goals listed in this post for the upcoming month was to make a stamp to accompany each screen for printing. Some folks really like the process of stamping, so it made sense to create a stamp that’s kind of a “sidekick” to the screens to give us the option of stamping or screen printing or both. I’m beginning to see that this just might not happen this month! But what has come up is an idea Corinne had to incorporate one of her drawings into a new project all together. She must know I can’t resist juggling 12 projects at a time…

I recently found a tutorial on heart-shaped hand warmers here and it seemed like a great idea to turn some of the scraps that we’ve already printed on into our own handwarmers! I mentioned the idea to Corinne and she got excited about drawing a “dancing heart man” to print on these hearts so she set to work drawing the perfect, fun illustration to stamp on fabric for these hearts. It’s too bad we won’t have any of these ready for Valentine’s Day but it certainly won’t hurt to have smiling, dancing, heart men to warm your hands all year round.

Since we did a tutorial series on how the sketches we do in art class turn into screens for screen printing, let’s do one about stamping- specifically carved rubber stamps. There are many ways to make a stamp, but this is how we make custom stamps out of our own drawings. Here we go!

Step 1: Find the drawing you’re going to use. It can be big, small, complex, simple, etc. but remember that you’re going to have to either carve out or carve around all of the details you draw so it’s best to start with something simple if you’re a beginner (which, by the way, I still consider myself).

Here’s a picture of the drawing we’re using Corinne’s sketchbook:


Step 2: This step can be done in 1 of two ways. Either you can trace the drawn image with graphite, or if it’s already drawn in graphite this step can be skipped. Drawing or tracing the image in pencil is what is going to help transfer it to our carving material. The cool thing about this is that the image will be reversed on the stamp material, but then re-reversed when it is printed- meaning, you don’t have to worry about the image being backwards.

Step 3: Here is our image traced in graphite, and then reversed onto the stamp material. This is done by simply turning the drawing over onto the stamp and rubbing with your fingers over the entire drawing. Transfers like a dream! The stamp material I’m using is called “Speedball Speedy-Carve”’s really soft to carve, and I usually carve into both sides because it’s a decent thickness so you can get two stamps out of one piece. This is 1/2 of a 4×6″ piece of speedy-carve.


Part 2 will show the actual carving process- the only time consuming part of making stamps. The coolest part of this whole thing is that Corinne is a great stamper and sewer, and has recently been practicing cutting around fabric pattern pieces so she’ll be able to do this whole process from start to finish- one of the greatest goals of all! Thanks for reading and come back for Part 2 of the tutorial, as well as an update on our self portraits and recent holiday-themed creations!