In the realm of arts and crafts ideas for children, rubber stamps rank pretty high up there, and for good reason; using stamps is easy for little hands and the results are magical for kids.
I have to admit I never tire of the look of something hand stamped either; the combination of ink’s uneven texture and the idea of “self-printing” are just irresistible. But hold on there, have you seen the price tag on rubber stamps? It’s high enough that I own exactly four of them, one for the holidays, two I bought for my wedding invitations oh so many years ago, and my architectural stamp, no joke. My daughter has one mini animal stamp set too, so I guess that counts but you can probably tell where I’m going with this…..time to learn how to make a stamp!
I’ve been seeing a lot of fun homemade stamp ideas online recently and decided it was time we tackled homemade stamps to add to our expanding list of DIY art materials! For more stamp inspiration visit these other great links:
- Cosmetic Wedge Stamps from Tinkerlab
- Geometric Foam Stamps from the Plumed Nest
- Printing Stamps from Vicki Smith Art With Kids
How to Make a Stamp
Materials: Homemade Stamps and Stamp Pads
- 1 1/4″ or larger square wood blocks I picked mine up at a local craft store for 50 cents each; you can also find them online
- Craft foam sheets OR pre-cut adhesive backed pieces
- Scissors/Exacto Knife
- Cutting Mat
- Hole punch (optional)
- White glue
- Ink pad or tempera paint
How to Make a Stamp: You will be covering 4 sides of a 6-sided cube with foam. Leave two opposite sides empty so you can hold the finished stamp without getting your fingers inked.
- Step One If you are using adhesive backed pre-cut pieces of foam simply peel and stick them to the sides of the wood block. If they are not adhesive backed, spread white glue on the side of your block and glue the letter or shape down. This is easy even for little hands!
- Step Two If you are using foam sheets, start by cutting it into square shapes that roughly match the side of the cube.
- Step Three From there, cut out a variety of shapes and start gluing them to each side. I used a hole punch to cut out circles from the foam.
- Step Four Let the glue fully dry.
IMPORTANT: If you are making alphabet or number stamps be sure to reverse the letter or numeral when gluing it to the wood block; otherwise it will read backwards when you stamp it!
Of course because I am an aesthetic snob I had to make the blocks look colorful despite the fact that after one use they were covered in ink! Still if you make these as gifts, taking a little time to “dress them up” is worth it.
How to Use Your Stamp: Since these are foam stamps you can either use them with store-bought ink pads as you would any other stamp or you can make your own stamp pad. I used sponges and tempera paint/glue mixed with the following ratio: 3 parts paint, 1 part glue. I bought some dollar store tupperware containers, cut sponges to fit, and mixed the paint/glue right in the container to make mini ink pads. This part was fun in and of itself! I do suggest making more “ink” than you think you’ll need, if left overnight the sponges really soak up the paint/glue and by the next day our stamp pads were a little gooey.
There you have it, simple, inexpensive, custom stamps!
After I made these I started thinking about the endless variety of stamps possible, not just out of foam but out of textures and other objects. For one block I used a plastic grid, rubber shelf liner, burlap, and bubble wrap on the sides. I also covered a lint roller with shelf liner (again peel and stick, how easy is that) and had my own roller stamp which made the dot texture shown below.
One final note, texture stamps work better when using paint rather than a store bought ink pad. You need a lot more of the paint medium to make the texture show through on the final stamp. But the result is worth it!