Safety Tips for Making Custom Rubber Stamps

Custom rubber stamps are fun and easy to make. There are many ways to make your own stamp–rubber and otherwise–but in my opinion, rubber stamp carving gives you the most opportunity to create a detailed custom stamp.

Julie made the "arting" rubber stamp 
by writing out the word, transferring
it to a rubber eraser and carefully
cutting around the writing.

However, anytime you're working with a sharp implement, like a carving tool, you have to take precautions. Avoiding bloodshed when carving a stamp is especially tricky, as you usually have to hold the carving block with one hand and push the sharp carving tool over it with the other in a small space.

For stamp carving safety tips, I've turned to Julie Fei-Fan Balzer, who is not only a stamp-making pro, she often works in tight quarters.

Julie's Stamp-Carving Tips

Here are some pointers to help you carve cleanly and safely.

  • Always cut away from yourself using a pushing motion.
  • Use very little pressure. You should be removing just a sliver of rubber as you carve. The blade should glide across the surface of the rubber, removing a tiny sliver of rubber with each pass. If you use too much pressure, you may lose control of your blade and get a wrinkly edge on your cut. Think of carving as gliding rather than gouging.
  • Always come out of any meeting of corners. This ensures that you don't nick rubber that you hadn't intended to cut.
  • Turn the block, not the tool. I like to carve on top of a glass mat because the block turns easily. Think of it as feeding the block into the tool rather than pushing the tool around the block.
  • When holding the block with your non-dominant hand, please be careful of your fingers. The tool is very sharp, and a slip can result in gouging the hand with which you're holding the block. Try to place the holding hand out of a direct line with the blade.

Be patient, follow these directions, and the only thing on your hands will be ink!

You can learn everything else you need to know about carving your own stamps from Julie's new book, Carve, Stamp, Play: Designing and Creating Custom Stamps.

P.S. What is the most unusual thing you've ever stamped? Tell me about it below.


Blog, Mixed-Media Supplies, Mixed-Media Techniques


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