Easy DIY Eraser Stamps

My friend Liz sent me the most wonderful surprise package earlier this year -  a homemade stamp. It was such a thoughtful gift and totally up my alley, and Liz, being the most artsy person I know, made something so ordinary feel so special.

Of course, I was thinking - how can I make more of these? While Liz carved the stamp from a linoleum block with a special linoleum cutter (both of which you can purchase at an art store or online here for fairly cheaply), I decided to take a much less committed, less professional approach. The linoleum of the stamp Liz made me felt just like an eraser, and as soon as I made the connection, I knew an eraser would be a good beginner's material. As for my weapon of choice? I decided to test my dexterity with a Swiss Army knife.

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You can see that Liz's stamp looks much more precise, perfected, and smooth than mine (scroll down for photos), but if you're not ready to commit to a linoleum cutter or block just yet, my tutorial is a great way to test your skill and interest!

Anyway, this is a pretty simple project. It only took ~15 min for the simple heart raised stamp, and ~30-40 min for the lettered flat stamp. And if you have an actual linoleum cutter, this will take even less time!

Things you'll need:

- Eraser with a smooth (not textured) face, or linoleum block
- Swiss army knife (or other knife you can easily maintain control over), or linoleum cutter
- (Optional) Rock, wood/bark piece, or other object for the stamp "handle"
- Pen or pencil
- Ink pad (for stamping!)
- Scissors (optional)
The instructions I've listed below are the same regardless of what supplies you choose. A linoleum block carved with a linoleum cutter will look more professional and clean, since you'll have much more precise cuts and carvings. But, if you don't mind, or even prefer, the kitsch crafty look of mine, you'll be just fine with an eraser and knife from your own home/office/drugstore!

 

Instructions:

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  1. Cut your eraser, if needed, to a small size using scissors.
     
  2. To print a design onto your stamp, if you're not super confident in your drawing skills:
    1.  Print your desired design from your computer. Make sure you size it so that the entire will fit on your eraser.
    2. Then, take a glossy pen, and trace over the icon or text on the printer paper.
    3. Carefully, flip the paper over and press it onto the eraser, stamping the ink from the glossy pen onto the eraser. Now your icon is imprinted (backwards/mirrored) onto your eraser. Easy!
       
  3. Alternatively, if you're feeling great about your art skills, draw your stamp design onto the eraser.
    1. REMEMBER: you need to draw the words or shape mirrored on your eraser, so that when you stamp it, it comes out the right way! (I did my entire "RECESS" stamp the wrong way and when I stamped it, had a mirror image of the word. It was definitely an airhead moment that I could only laugh at!)
       
  4. Now onto the carving! 
    1. For flat stamps: With your Swiss Army knife, trace along the pen/design you've drawn on your eraser. You'll need to trace the outline of all your shapes, on the inside and outside, so that you can remove a narrow sliver of the eraser. Use the edge of the Swiss Army knife to flick and/or push out the narrow pieces of eraser. 

      If you're using a linoleum cutter, you just have to trace your design once, and the material will come out as you trace.
       
    2. For raised stamps: Using your Swiss Army knife blade or linoleum cutter, carve out all the negative space around your design. Keep carving until you've removed several milllimeters of eraser, and your design is sticking out prominently from the rest.
       
  5. Check your stamp: Press your stamp on your ink pad and test your design on some scrap paper. If there are a few tweaks you want to make, get out your knife/linoleum cutter to perfect the stamp.

    For example, I noticed that on my heart stamp, I didn't carve enough negative space, and some of it touched the ink pad when I pressed it. So, I carved more off with my knife so that only the heart would appear on the paper.
     
  6. (Optional) Add a drop or two of glue to your bark/wood/rock/whatever stamp handle, and adhere your eraser stamp to the handle. Let dry, and then you're finished!
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Like I said, now that I've made a couple, I want to invest (a whole $7!) in a linoleum cutter so that I can make much nicer, more precise stamps. I'm feeling like custom erasers will be a great new addition for my Etsy store!

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