Experimenting with paper, inks, stamps, paints, fabrics, stitches, metal..........

Experimenting with paper, inks, stamps, paints, fabrics, stitches, metal..........

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Stamp Carving

Adigraf plastic cutting block is a thick flexible sheet of plastic designed for creating printing blocks.  It requires no preparation before carving like lino, which needs to be warmed with an iron to make it maleable enough to carve.  Pieces can be cut to size with scissors and standard lino cutting tools with a selection of cutter sizes allowed easy carving.

I worked on a cutting mat while carving.  Other equipment and materials used were tracing paper, graph paper, a soft pencil, marker pen, craft knife and scissors (the cutting block is also easy to cut).

Sketching out some layouts for an ATC swap I  designed some lettering for the cards - 'flora'  'fauna' and 'atc' using graph paper.  Rembering you have to carve a reverse image, the lettering was transcribed to tracing paper and transferred from the tracing paper onto the plastic with a pencil. 

Swapping the sizes of cutter depending on whether fine detail or larger areas were being cut, a little experimenting was needed to gauge how deep to cut and how much pressure is required, so it is worth carving some test pieces, if only to save your fingers.

First carving attempts......

....and this is how they stamp (this is the back of the ATC)
I love the way the imperfections of the carving end up leaving little spots and flecks of ink when the image is stamped, it gives a 'handprinted' feel.

The finished cards made for the art swap, mixed the handcarved stamps with a selection of other rubberstamps, inks, some drawn embellishments, punched shapes and pre-printed images of different flora and fauna.

The handcarved stamp gave a much clearer image when using permanent ink such as Versafine or Archival.  Waterbased dye ink tended to pool on the material, so didn't stamp as well.  It depends on what type of finish you are looking for. 
With some of the stamping I used a fibre tipped pen to highlight the lettering.

After I posted the carvings and images on Facebook some talented ladies at EmilyLoves and Urbanknitter asked me to carve some stamps for them.  Looking through their photos I came up with a couple of designs. 

Initial Carve
Getting very impatient to see how the stamp looks, I usually do a few test stamps along the way.  During the later carving it helps to identify any little bits of rubber making marks you don't want in the final print.

The carving of 'Y' and 'E' seem to be a bit of a challenge.  On the Emily Loves stamp, though, I do like the lack of uniformity in the letters, it reflects the stitched label I trying to copy.

Final Stamp and Image
The stencil style lettering of Urbanknitter, I thought would be easier to carve.  It wasn't.  Trying to keep the lines really straight was a problem as the plastic tends to 'squish' as you are carving it.  The tricky letter on this one was 'K'. 

Test Print
After this test print it was really tempting to leave the carve at this point, without removing the remaining plastic to the right of the heart. You can get some really interesting images and patterns around the lettering during the carving.

I like the finished stamp though, it was definitely a bit distressed and grungy in style. 

Finished Stamp and sketches for Urbanknitter

Urbanknitter's Photo of the Stamps and Packaging
I also had a go at a stamp for me, so here is my Crafter's Laboratory stamp.  I cut this much more roughly, not bothering too much about cutting too far on the joins of the letters and even left bits of edges of the plastic top and bottom.

This is the material I will be trying to carve next.  Speedball produce a rubber sheet about 1cm thick designed for carving, called 'Speedy-Carve'.  It will be interesting to see how stamps carved from this material differ from the Adigraf sheet.

1 comment:

  1. These are lovely!!! Nice job on the stamps for the ladies too!