Recently, someone asked me about the image that I made my fridge magnet from. I hand carved it from carving block and use it like you would a rubber stamp. I have used my stamps in lots of ways. I have made jewelry from them and I have also made paper castings using them. Here is a picture of some of the stamps that I have done.
After carving them, I like to stamp the image onto paper, color it and apply it to the back side of the stamp, so I can easily locate it. The wooden stamp shown here was a seldom used stamp from which I removed the original red rubber stamp and then glued my stamp to (with E-6000) after stamping the image on the wood. I love the way it looks so professional. This shot shows the carved sides.
There are several really great books and videos on this subject and I like the book Art Stamping Workshop. It really gives lots of instruction and ideas. Carving erasers is probably the best way to get started.
You don't really have to have special tools- exacto's and other easy to handle blades will work, but a carving set, similar to this one will make the job much easier and more fun.
I have carved most of my stamps out of erasers, but I have also used craft foam to make stamps. I like foam stamps, in fact, one of my best paper castings was made on a .99 foam stamp.
Here is a shot of how my stamps look stamped in black and how they look colored in. You are really unlimited in what you can do with eraser stamps. I often forget to reverse my image and am surprised when I stamp it and it's backwards. Also. the "eyeless" stamp was quite a happy accident. I forgot to carve the eyes and mouth, but it gave me the option of changing it to suit my mood.
Lastly, don't be surprised if the stamp looks really funky when you are through with it. It just might. That doesn't mean the image will be bad. I try to ink my stamps while I am carving them, to get a feel of how they will look when complete. I don't try to "clean up" my images too much when I am carving them, as I like the arty look of a stamp that is a little rough looking when it is stamped. What ever your style, you can usually make it come through in a hand carved rubber stamp.
Hand carved artist block and eraser stamps seem to be a bit more fragile that commercially made rubber stamps. In fact, some artists don't like to carve the Artist's Block, because it it so soft. Keep this in mind when you are cleaning them and you will be very happy with the results. It doesn't matter whether you are using potatoes, erasers or artist carving block, hand carved stamps are a blast and can be done by almost all ages. Just remember you are using very, very sharp tools, treat them with respect and you'll get along fine.
So let's get out there and carve some stamps and post them on your blog. I can't wait to see them.
Take care and check back later in the week for a really wild thing that I am working on. I am always trying to recreate the look of dichroic glass without the hassle of a kiln. You might be surprised to see what I have come up with. Talk soon. Ta, Ta.