Monday, August 16, 2010

Making and Using Your Own Rubber Stamps- Monster Style

Last week my son and I made a bunch of stamps together and we both really enjoyed it so I thought I'd share with you how we did it. How it works with a 5 year old is that you let him draw a picture on the block with a sharpie and then you do the cutting. Then they get to stamp. So the first drawing Jasper handed me was the cutest little heart. I was lovin' it until the next 6 he gave me were all monsters. Monsters with 4 legs and 2 heads, monsters that look fairly amoeba-ish to me with 50 eyes, and monsters with pinching claws... to describe a few. I made a slew of my own stamps later but mine are boring compared to his so I thought I'd show you his. They're soooo much cooler. :)

Way back when I first started college I took a class on relief printing. I had no idea what it even was but it was an art class and fit into my schedule block so I signed up. We used linoleum blocks and would carve them using a speedball block cutting tool. Fast forward 18 or so years and I still love to carve blocks.

Today I primarily use the EZ cut blocks that are made of a rubber material. It's similar to that of an eraser, and as you may expect easy to carve. You can buy the blocks in a 9" x 12" size and then cut them down to any smaller size you desire. I rarely use block printing inks anymore, but tend to use what I have on hand, acrylics or ink pads. What hasn't changed is my choice in cutter. I still use the Speedball cutter. It comes with a number of different carving blades that all fit interchangeably on the handle. The little carving blades store in the handle of the cutter itself- genius!

The other thing that's changed is that I've begun to print on fabric. I love that I can create my own patterns or add my own texture to a fabric. I have a wood grain stamp that I created from an 9" x 12" piece of the EZ cut and I love the look it gives me. I used it for the background of a mini art quilt I made up for a friend.

We ended up making quite a few of the monster stamps and Jasper stamped his own Monster Army with them. Next up- Robots!!! I'll let you know how that goes. :) Tomorrow's post will include a little how-to for carving the stamps as well. Then I'm hoping a few of you will feel confident enough to give it a try. It really does add a lot to your mixed media arsenal of skills to know some basic printmaking and it's soo sooo easy. So I hope to see you tomorrow for a printmaking 101 class!

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