rubber stamp carving tutorial

how to make rubber stamps

what you need:

tip- to make it just like mine follow the first set of "ingredients".  (to just "have at it" refer to the parentheses)

*pencil/drawing device

* rubber blocks (erasers and potatoes can work too if you want to make small stamps)

*scrap paper

* lino cutting tools (or exacto knife or a sharp kitchen knife)

* scissors

* little cards and envelopes (or paper)

*block printing ink (but really a stamp pad would work better- the art store didn't have any!)

* creativity and patience

BEFORE YOU BEGIN: ALWAYS keep your hands, fingers BEHIND the lino tool, never in front. never cut towards your hands. as crafters, these are our prized possessions and you only got TWO! be careful with them!!

step 1:

lay down a piece of scrap paper- printer size works for small stamps. newspaper works for bigger ones. (this is for you to test your stamp on later- and to whisk up all the scraps in one fell swoop. cuz i hate picking up those shreds everywhere!)

drawing my design on rubber block

draw out your design on your rubber block lightly in pencil (be careful not to puncture your rubber pad). make sure to leave enough room in between everything to cut. for your first try- DRAW BIG!!

my finished drawing

keep in mind- what ever DOESN'T get cut is what prints in color. what ever you cut out will be white (the color of the paper). for my example- my rawfish fish- i want to cut around him plus a little inside for details like fin lines, eyes and mouth. and remember everything prints BACKWARDS. if you're using text- draw everything in reverse. (or if you're a dork like me and making word balloons, put the arrow in the right spot!)

step 2:

in your SMALLEST cutting tool, trace/cut all around your design. be careful, go slow, take your time. cut out the outline and the little details.

starting to cut

my finished cut outline- where i was thinking about adding fish lips (i didn't)

step 3:

now switch to a bigger point.

the variety of tips/nibs for lino tool (my yarn stamp in the background)

cut around just the outline. go all the way to your original outline. when you hit the line it should break and make a clean cut.

sorry for the blurriness- one handed photos are hard!

be careful not to push too hard so you don't accidentally take off a fin! but make sure to cut deep so none of the background prints.

(unless you want it to- it can be a cool effect, think hokusai waves and all those amazing water woodblocks. but in this case- i don't want them showing)

hokusai- for inspiration!

step 4:

trim off excess with scissors. especially if the piece is big enough to salvage for another stamp. (think tiny hearts!!  or anything else small and fun)

carefully cutting!

step 5:

continue cutting and trimming down the background until everything you don't want to print is much lower (in height) than the design. take a moment to admire your handiwork.

my fish!!

tap the rubber stamp lightly over your paper to dislodge anything that might be stuck in your lines.

step 6:

ink on your stamp pad. or in my case (stupid art place) use block ink to brush on your colors. block ink is kinda fussy so be careful not to get air bubbles, too watery, not watery enough.  test your newly formed stamp on a piece of paper. check to make sure what you wanted to print prints and if anything you didn't want- now you know where it is to trim down.


my splotchy ole fish- this is why you use stamp pads


showing the rawfish stamp as a better example

step 7:

go stamp crazy!! make thank you cards, labels, stamp your kid brother, whatever your stamping heart desires. and take pictures and impress your friends! blog about it. :) and make your customers and you happy :D


my thank you cards, stamps and envelopes


i think it all pops better with some outlining- mine's green sharpie


looking good!

end note:

if this is all too much for you, there are some lovely stamp artists on etsy that make custom listings. 

photo and castle stamp by

whimsy by jess

so i hope the tutorial is helpful!! let me know if you have any questions! ill be glad to try to help. :)