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Sunday, December 6, 2009

Excursion from beauty stuff... my new hobby: Carving stamps! =D

Don't worry, this will be an off-topic post but I am not turning LP into a crafts blog... I am not a very crafty/artistic person except when it comes to paint my face or to draw with pastels =)

However recently I really got into the stamp carving thing...and even I am still far away from being a good carver I like most of the stamps that come out. They surely look handmade but most are usable!

As with many things in (my) life it's the Japanese who produce the best quality tools for this new hobby of mine. I got German carving blocks and they were just crappy! Usually most stuff from Germany is great quality but the carving blocks were not. I think it might be because stamp carving (as a hobby for normal people) has no tradition here in Europe.

My favorite tools are all from Seed (Horunabi).

Basically what you need is:

-a cutting board

-Various carving knives (well, some carve with a normal exacto knife but I am not good enough for that yet!)

-rubber blocks (there are various ones...normal density for all sorts of designs or higher density ones for more intricate patterns)

-tracing paper

-pencil (2B or HB works well!)

-a pattern/design you want to carve

-a stamp pad to test your stamp

As you see I have 2 pattern books from Japan. Also each of the rubber blocks comes with a sheet with designs and some sheets of tracing paper.

I tried various carving blocks and must say I like the thicker ones (about 1.2 cm) better than the thin ones (like the one in the pic below which I used for the Sunbonnet Sue stamp here).
I like how the Japanese rubber blocks have a very smooth colored top layer so when you carve you see the contours better.

The first step is preparing the tools. Draw the design you want either freehand or copy any design you want on transparent paper.

Turn around the transparent paper and place it on the rubber. Scratch the paper so the design transfers to the stamp. If you want to carve a name it's easy this way as you can draw the design in the normal writing direction, when you turn it around it will be a mirror-image which, when stamped, will be back to the normal direction (sounds dumb but sometimes my English is really sucky!).

Then cut away the piece with the design from the rubber block.

First start carving around the contours. The best is resting the knife and turning the rubber block so the line gets smoother and more even.

I use finer knives (the one with the royal and light blue handles) for small details and the wide round one (with the green handle) for cutting away big pieces, especially on the outer parts of the stamp

The one with the wooden handle is my favorite one for cutting the contours.

This is the final stamp. When I stamped it the first time I noticed that it needed some more cleaning up but the result is ok =D
I am no way a pro but I am getting there slowly (you should have seen my first stamp =X )

I got all my tools from Japankawaiiya on Etsy. She has some stuff listed but she can also order (I am waiting for 8 more carving blocks from her =D)

I first got the set of 3 knives but the one with 5 is so worth it as it has the finer knives that are great for more intricate designs.

Oh, this is a stamp I did, too:


. said...

Oooh, that is adorable~~! =D

Sheila said...

You carved your name stamp too right? The one you used to stamp the letter in the sample that you sent me? I thought it was really adorable. You're so talented!

. said...

Hi Kathi! (I'm new...!)

That's way cool! I thought I was artsy-craftsy but stamp carving is something that never occurred to me as something to get into. o_O And esp. with how expensive stamps are it's really cool you can make your own. n_n How long does it take you to do one?

Annie Dong said...

Oh wow, that looks SO cute! I can't wait to try it once I finish my exams!!!! ^_^

PBunnieP said...

so cute! The tools do look alittle dangerous though.

Catherine said...

Awww, this looks so cute and fun!! :D

Sofie said...

Carving stamps is really fun! I tend to do a so called linoleum cut instead ._.;

Anonymous said...

Hi, Kathi! :D
That's so cute! What a great hobby :) Just dropping by to say hi. Hope you're doing well. :) I miss you!

Kit L said...

Really cute and what a fun hobby! I got into crafts recently myself and like make make up it can get quite $$$ but a lot of fun.

Ms.Lovender said...

Oh... love your stamps..

Ms.Lovender said...

Oh... love your cute.

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