Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Christmas Secrets (carving your own stamps)

Looking for a holiday gift that says 'I was thinking of you and your favourite things'? Maybe carving your own stamp is the answer.

I love the organic look of hand-carved stamps. They feel so playful. They're never perfect, but somehow that very quality makes them more lovable. This little party of mushrooms is carved in honour of a fab family member who loves mushrooms (a family member whom I've forbidden from this blog until after Christmas, of course!...So that I actually have something to blog, LOL.) Click on the pic above for a close look...

How to?: I browsed etsy to get some artsy inspiration (aiming for a little retro-funk vibe.) Then, I doodled different mushrooms on a piece of scrap paper (I love using regular ballpoint pen for its smoothness.) This part can be really intimidation free. You can just keep scribbling until you come up with something you like & then use vellum cardstock to transfer them onto the linoleum. If you use a really soft pencil it works astonishingly easily. (I used a 7B and traced my s out of my pen scrawlings.) After tracing them on the vellum, just invert it (pencil side down) onto the lino and rub. It'll leave a faint-ish line that you can go over in pen--and then attack with the lino carving tools!

If you have a large block of lino you can just keep carving until you have one or more that you like. It's meant to be organic looking so that takes some of the pressure off...(For more detailed--and hopefully more coherent--directions, see this post or this post.)

Here's a close-up (below) of one of the mushroom stamps. (Though it looks like it, the dots on this little mushroom fellow's cap are not carved in--I just used the back of my pencil to pull some ink, so it'd leave a subtle detail):

P.S. The background paper in this picture is really easy to make "bubble paper" (made with reinkers.) Interested in a tutorial for making some? Please see this post.

Some great tutorials others have done on lino carving:

Zenheart's tut @ Mindful Craftiness
Beth's tut @ Sunberst Illustration + Design
Relief printmaking tut @ TSKTSK illustration design craft
Geninne's tut @ Geninne's Art Blog (pointed out by the talented Michelle(?) of Allen designs @ see her great lino owl here.

Thanks for looking; if you try this I'd LOVE to see what you make!
:+) Mel


Leann said...

these are so fab Mel! how flippin' clever are you?! x x x

Becky G said...

These are so stinkin cute! I've thought about doing this, but that's as far as I got! Very nice!