Stamping Techniques to Try in the New Year

Well, friends, we celebrated 12-12-12, we survived the Mayan apocalypse, and we're on the verge of a New Year. (Depending on where you are when you read this, the New Year may have already arrived.)

hand carved stamp of a pumpkin
Lisa Thorpe combines stamping techniques with
stenciling to create a graphic design.

Personally, I'm not big on resolutions. However, I do like to use the turn of the last calendar page of the year to take stock and refocus my energies. For example, in 2013, I plan to spend more time exploring art techniques in depth, rather than flitting from one thing to another.

In particular, I want to focus on multi-layered printing and stamping techniques. I love the effects of each process and I was especially inspired by Lisa Thorpe's tutorial on how to combine stamping and stenciling to create a multi-layered and colored print. The custom made rubber stamp provides the design and the stencil provides the color.

Here is Lisa's tutorial on how to make a stamp and the accompanying stencil, adapted from her article on the process in the July/August 2012 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine.

1. Place an E-Z Cut carving block on a piece of paper and trace around it with a pencil. Draw your image within the traced shape. When you have the design you want, draw it directly onto the carving block with pencil or transfer the design to the block with transfer paper. (Figure 1)

2. Carve the block with a lino-cutting tool, remembering that what you carve away will be white and the areas you leave will print.  Be sure to carve any text in reverse. Tip: Carve away a little at a time and then do a preview print onto paper to see what you have. You can always carve away more, but you can't put it back.

stamp carving
How to make a stamp, from Lisa's tutorial, figure 1.

3. Print the completed block onto paper and use the printed image to determine what you want your stencil to look like.

4. Place the printed image under a glass plate, put the sheet of acetate on top of the glass, and cut the central image out of the acetate with the heat pen or craft knife. Now you have both the positive and negative stencils. (Figure 3)

5. Trace around the carving block on a second piece of acetate and, on the glass cutting mat, cut out the shape using the heat pen or craft knife to create the background color-block stencil, which will also be used as a guide for the stamp. (Figure 3)

6. Place the negative stencil over the background color-block stencil and transfer the location of the corners with permanent pen. (Figure 3)

I love the graphic quality of Lisa's work and all that juicy color. I'm thinking of adapting her techniques and combining hand-carved art stamps with gelatin prints.

creating a stencil
Creating the stencil, figure 3.

For more rubber stamping carving techniques and ideas for how to stamp in unique ways, you can download Cloth Paper Scissors magazine issues like this one from 2012, Cloth Paper Scissors Workshop™ videos, eBooks, and more from the Cloth Paper Scissors Shop, and start the new year off right.

What techniques are you planning to try in 2013? Leave your comment below. I'll be devoting several posts in January to new techniques and ideas for you, so stay tuned!


Blog, Mixed-Media Techniques, Printmaking


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