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, 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!
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How to Make a Stamp
For the Stamps:
If you don’t feel like going out and buying the above materials you can order them here:
- Scissors/X-ACTO Knife (ADULTS ONLY)
- Cutting Mat (optional)
- Hole punch (optional)
Making 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. 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.
Making Stamp Pads:
Materials for the Stamp Pads
- White glue
- Tempera paint
If you want to make your own stamp pads here’s a simple recipe:
Mix tempera paint and glue with the following ratio: 3 parts paint, 1 part glue
Cut sponges to fit some small plastic containers (use inexpensive new for the dollar store or recycled plastic tubs), and mix the paint/glue right in the container to make mini ink pads. I 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. Cover them tightly with a lid to prevent drying out.
NOTE: These pads will dry out over time. Try refreshing them with little bit of water on the sponge.
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!
Wanna make you own stamp and font? Check out our fun Design For Kids Series that will teach you both:
If you enjoyed making DIY art materials be sure to check out these posts:
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