Monday, 11 May 2009

Making stamps

Today, we decided to make ourselves some different kinds of stamps, to use in our work. The main reason was the availability of these great cheap erasers: At 15cm x 5.5cm (about 6in x 2 1/4in), they are a great size for larger stamps, though today we mostly cut them smaller to experiment. They carved quite nicely and we got some great results. We also made some string stamps, like the ones Nola made about twelve months ago. Carol brought along a clever hot wire gadget for cutting craft foam safely and cleanly, and some special glue for gluing foam together, so most people tried that too.

These are Beverley's stamps: The top two on the right are really clever, because she carved them as positive-negative of the same images, on opposite sides of the same stamp. You can only see one side of the carved stamps, but you can see the two images in the prints beside them. The left hand one wasn't quite finished at going home time. The bottom one is made from polystyrene foam (a meat tray)cut with Carol's hot wire machine, and glued to a wooden base. Beverley intended it to be used as a border.

Prue was doing other things for part of the time, but she also made some stamps. Most were made with the hot wire machine from craft foam or polystyrene foam, and mounted on wooden blocks. The top right hand one was made with dimensional paint, like the ones Nola made in January from the tutorial by Terri Stegmiller at FibreandStitch. The top left one is a string stamp, made by gluing ordinary cotton string onto cardboard with PVA glue.

Nola made four carved stamps from her eraser. The one that looks like folds was the most fiddly, as the erasers were a little crumbly, under the smooth surface, for such fine work. The top one was made by gluing two commercial foam craft shapes of a frog on top of one another onto cardboard, using PVA glue. Two identical shapes were used to increase the height of the stamp, which would hopefully result in a clearer print. The idea was to test whether PVA is a suitable medium for gluing foam shapes or whether they would fail to hold together or fall apart once they were wet. The bond held well enough for the stamp to be used and washed successfully. The top right stamp was one that Carol made last year to test the usefulness of lightweight craft foam for freehand stamp-making. She found that the surface could be incised, but the pattern was not very deep and is probably better used as a rubbing plate than a stamp.

Carol made some beautiful stamps using the polystyrene and her clever machine. Photos to come...

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