Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Rubber Stamping Adventures!

Hidey ho, campers! How are you enjoying the summer so far? Thankfully, it's been a very mild summer this year, so I've been able to spend less time lying in a puddle in front of the air conditioner! The question, then, is what have I been doing with all that extra time?

As some of you know, I've got this driven need to learn things. Asked what my goal in life is, I'll often reply that my goal is to learn everything. EVERYTHING. Yes, I know I'll fail, but just think how much fun I'll have learning in the meantime!

The latest thing I've been learning recently is how to carve my own rubber stamps. See, it all started with business cards...

I've designed my own business cards in the past, and I've been very happy with them. The problem is that they go so quickly. I made a ton of cards a couple of years ago to tide me over until I could get some proper cards printed up, but I kept running into the same issues- business cards can be expensive, and I don't know that I always want the same, single image on my cards. Then there's the question of what can I do when I run out of cards and need some in a hurry?

Some of my first stamps. Robot! :D
So, my kind of strange creative mind hit on rubber stamping. I thought about having a stamp created with all my information on it, but then I found how much a single business-card-sized stamp could cost. (Think $25-40!) Because of this, I started thinking about carving my own stamps. It's something I've been interested in for years, but have never really had the time or opportunity to do.

A quick google search found a Speedball carving set for significantly less than $40. While waiting for that to reach me, I hit my local Dollar Tree and grabbed a bunch of erasers and a couple of things I thought I might be able to make a stamp pad with. Because I'm so fond of bright color, I knew I didn't want a single-color stamped image. So, I grabbed a children's watercolor paint set and some felt to see what I could come up with.

The result? Well, my first stamps were a smashing success, but they were pretty small. My husband brought home some larger erasers a few days later, and I carved the middle stamp in the above image. I've carved over 20 stamps now, and have only cut myself twice, so I figure that's a good thing, right?

Then came the stamp pad. Let's see if I can simplify what I did- I got a medicine organizer with 7 separate compartments, put the watercolors (green, blue, purple, red, and orange) into different compartments with some water to liquify them, then poured them onto the felt and let them dry. To use the stamp pad, I spray it with a light mist of water 5-10 minutes before I plan to use it, then again right before, and oddly enough it works!

I also decided I wanted something beautiful for the back of my cards, so I set out to make something... colorful and me-like. It's amazing what you can create with a set of Crayola watercolors...

Once it was dry, I doodled over it in white, adding paisleys and hearts, fun phrases and spirals. I wanted something that looked like pieces of a whole once it was cut up. I wanted something that felt special, as if I were giving a piece of art to everyone who gets one of my cards.

The result? Crazy fun business cards in gradient colors that make me SO happy... I've had to hand-write the blog address, mainly because I don't carve that well yet. Still, I'm happy with the result so far.

Stamped business cards version 1.

Stamped business cards version 2.
I've also carved some flowers, some leaves, as well as a few other things. Then I wondered what I could do with them, so I started experimenting. And yes, I'm frugal, so I've been painting on old envelopes. I'm weird that way. :D

Not bad for children's watercolors and some eraser stamps, eh? So what do you think of all these? And what do you think I should carve next?

Leave me a comment telling me what you think. I need the feedback, what can I say?

Til next time...

I'm still alive, isn't that fun?
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