Carve Your Heart Out: A Handmade Stamp Tutorial

Stamp MaterialsValentines is just around the corner and, once again, it’s time to bring out the craft box and make something creative for your significant other.

I’ve been itching to use the lino cutters The Adorable Husband gave me for Christmas so I thought now’s the right time to do it. Here’s a quick tutorial on how to carve your own rubber stamps.

What you need: 

  • Lino cutters/craft knife
  • Rubber stamp carving block (an ordinary rubber eraser works too)
  • Stamp pad
  • Paper (you can also use tracing paper)
  • Pencil

Step 1: Figure out the size of stamp that you want then cut the carving block and paper according to that size. If you’re using a store-bought eraser, just cut the paper according to the eraser’s size.

Step 2: Draw your design on the paper.

Stamp Step 2

Step 3: Turn the paper over and place it on top of the rubber block. Rub the surface of the paper with the end of your pencil (or scissor handle… anything hard, really) to transfer your design onto the rubber block. This is where the tracing paper will come in handy.

Stamp Step 3  Stamp Step 3 transferred

Step 4: Ah yes, now the fun bit… carving! Before you proceed, please make sure you’re in a good mood and no one is around to bother/annoy you. A lot of patience is required in carving.

You can start wherever you want but I find it better to begin with the outer edges first then work inward. Use the Small V cutting edge of your lino cutter to carve the shape of your design. This way it can protect your design when you carve the bits around, in this case, the heart. Doing an initial carving of the shape decreases the possibility of you carving INTO your design then subsequently get frustrated and throw the rubber block at the wall.

Once you’re done, you can opt to change to a Small or Large U Gouge to carve out the space outside the heart. Switch back to the Small V to carve out the finer details of your design.

Stamp Step 4  Stamp Step 4 carved

You can use a craft/X-acto knife but lino cutters have better precision in my opinion. Some cut the shape of the entire stamp closer to the design’s edges. I think that, too, is a matter of preference.

Below are two ways you can do your design, have more inky surface (left) or less (right):

Stamp - Final

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