Sketch to Stamp tutorial: Part 2

Since we’re participating in the #52weeksofprintmaking challenge, an instagram challenge in which participants produce an original print each week, this seemed like the perfect opportunity to complete and print some fabric with Corinne’s design. Here’s how we carved the stamp, and printed it on fabric to make the hand warmers at a later date!

Step 1: So when we left off, we had just transferred our drawing to the speedball speedy-carve. What’s tricky about stamping is that you can either carve around the entire drawing and then carve out inner details, or carve around each individual line. Since this is a pretty small drawing, I chose to carve around the entire thing and then pick out certain inner details. The general rule of thumb about stamp carving is to start with your smallest tip (my particular stamp carving tool has 3) so in this step you’ll “outline” everything you can with your smallest carving tip. (Excuse the picture, I started doing step 2 before remembering to pick up the camera!)


Step 2: Now it’s time to knock out everything you know you don’t want. All the space around the dancing heart man needs to be scooped out to be at a level below the desired image, so I’ll change tips to the curved “U” shape gauge. Really the point of this is to get rid of as much material as possible surrounding the image without damaging the image itself.


Step 3: My last step in the carving process is usually to “raise” the image more by using the deep “V” gauge as opposed to the shallow “v” gauge. This is to ensure that the image is raised above the carved out parts as much as possible to make for a clean stamp. An optional step is to cut excessive parts off around the image, which I did her so I knew on which side of the stamp the cane would be. You don’t have to do this, but it eliminates some of the excess that could make for a not so clean image.


Step 4: Now it’s time to print! Your first one might want to be a test print because it’s possible that the surrounding bits of stamp aren’t carved out enough and end up getting paint on them, which means parts you don’t want to show print along with the part you do want. If this is the case, simply cut those bits out with the “U” to make them deeper and out of the way. I’m using speedball screen printing ink, which works nicely because you generally don’t need much of it for it to work and we don’t have to buy a separate ink for block printing. I have a piece of glass from an old picture frame that I use to roll out the paint, and when you hear the roller make a sticky, tacky noise when you roll it across the glass you know it’s ready to roll onto the stamp. If the roller slides across the paint and the surface without the wheel turning, you have too much paint.


Step 5: Roll the paint onto the stamp, taking care not to get it on the surfaces surrounding your image. Since the roller wheel is stiff, this shouldn’t happen. When you feel like the entire image is covered, turn it over onto the printing surface and press firmly with your palm. I use the same surface that I do for screen printing, for stamping (tutorial shown here) and pin it the same as well so the fabric stays taught as I press down. When printing on paper, it’s not necessary to use a soft surface.

Here are all of our dancing dapper heart men! We left plenty of space around them to trace our heart template. Later, we’ll cut them out and make the heart hand warmers mentioned in the last post.


IMPORTANT: After the paint is completely dry (4-6 hours depending on thickness) it is important to heat set the ink with a hot iron or dryer. You set your iron all the way up to the hottest setting your fabric will stand, turn your dried, printed fabric over onto your ironing board and run the iron over for at least 3-5 minutes on each section of fabric. Take care not to burn your material, though it will get that hot!

Et Voila! That is our sketch to stamp tutorial for Corinne’s Dancing Dapper Heart Man. 

And lastly- the Valentine’s poem written collectively by 5 art class members, given to all community members for Valentine’s day.

A Poem for You

It’s a beautiful Valentine’s Day

I could make you a Valentine’s dinner.

I could share chocolate and candy,

But I would like to thank you first:

Thank you for carrying compost

Thank you for cooking dinner

Thank you for helping me

Thank you for being my friend

We give friends hearts

We give friends hugs and kisses.

How about this dance?

February 2015