Hand Carved Stamp :: a tutorial

Lately I am very into stamp carving, I went all around Sydney trying to buy all the tools I need for my stamp carving project! And finally today I’ve got everything that I need to get started 😀 I am just a beginner, but I want to show you how I did it. And if you know a better way of doing it, please do tell me!^^

Step 1 - Carving blocks

I bought three types of carving blocks to try, in this tutorial, I used Renoir’s Ezy carve block (the white one on the right). It is very soft, its texture is similar to erasers. The Speedball carving block feels similar to the Ezy carve block, but I have yet to try it out. The grey piece up the top is lino, it feels quite hard, I would imagine it to be harder to carve.

Step 2 - Cutting tools

I am using Speedball’s lino cutter to do the carving. I bought four different type of blades. If you don’t want to buy so many, the most important of all would be the V-shaped no. 1 blade, because it allows you to carve small details. However, it would be quite time-consuming carving large areas with such a small blade.

Now we’ve got all the tools ready – time to get started^0^

Step 3 - Draw and cut

Firstly, draw your pattern on the carving block. I like frogs so I used a frog design – it’s from a fabric that I like. You can draw anything, but if it’s your first time, don’t make it too complicated. Also, remember not to press too hard while drawing on the block, it’s very soft so a pencil can scratch it quite easily. And then cut out the design from the carving block, a normal cutter will do here.

Step 4 - Trace around the edges

I used a very thin knife blade to begin tracing around the edge lines. This step is optional, you can jump straight into carving if you are confident enough.

It’s very important that you cut at an angle away from the edge. This helps the stamp to be sturdy and the stamp will last longer! And also, I think it is easier if you carve away from yourself.

Step 5 - Carve around the edges

After tracing, I switched to the V-shaped no. 1 blade to carve around the edge lines.

Step 6 - Carve the larger area

Switch to a large size blade to carve the areas away from the edge lines. I find the U-shaped no. 4 blade very good for this task.

Step 7 - Time to test the stamp

It looks 90% done, it’s time to test the stamp with ink and paper!

Step 8 - Test outcome

Looks like the edges are a bit ragged. I would recommend that you test the stamp out earlier in the carving process (probably when it’s about 70% done), because the ink helps to see exactly how thick the edge lines are. I tested my stamp a bit too late, some lines are now too thin.

Step 9 - The carved stamp

I tried to smooth out the ragged edge lines a bit. It’s time to test again!

Step 10 - Final stamp (on paper)

I am very happy with my frog stamp^^

So that’s it, it’s done! Carving stamp wasn’t all that hard, I enjoyed the process very much. Next time I will try out the other two carving material and will let you know how I go with them. I bet you can’t wait to carve some stamps too!

  • hey girl~ you gotta hook me up with stamp making tools and rubber. I can’t find any tools in Hong Kong at all. It’s really frustrating~~ How much is the carving tools kid? It’s the exact same brand I saw in this blog.

    • Jo:

      Really? Aren’t there any art shops in HK, I remember going to one in Mong Kok. I can try to find out the address for you if you want:)

      I didn’t buy the Speedball carving tools as a “kit”, they sell the handle and blades separately. I bought the handle for AUD$15, and each blade is AUD$4.2

  • Emma:

    Your stamps are fantastic! I’ve been wanted to try making stamps for a while, where in Sydney did you find the carving blocks? I’ve only been able to find lino…I’m in the inner west but would travel anywhere to get them!

    • Jo:

      Hi Emma,

      What a coincidence! I live in the inner west too!! And the place I bought the carving block from is also in the inner west!!:)

      The shop is called Amazing Paper and the address is:
      186 Enmore Rd
      Enmore NSW 2042

      I bought a piece of lino as well, yet to try it out though, but I cannot imagine it to be easy b’cos it feels so hard!

  • Emma:

    Thanks so much for that Jo! and for emailing me direct to make sure I got the reply!
    I’m in Leichhardt so Enmore is right around the corner and I know that shop because its opposite my fave Turkish takeaway!
    Thanks again, I’ll definately go check it out, its closed Mondays so it’ll have to be tomorrow.
    What did you think of the tools you bought?

    • Jo:

      I’m glad I could help!^_^

      You mean the speedball cutting tools, right? I think they are actually quite good, they have finer blades then most other carving tools and reasonably priced.

      I got them from Oxford Art in Chatswood. Don’t go to the Oxford Street store, they are always out of stock on everything!!! And if you happen to go to the Chatswood store, they sell speedball carving blocks there as well, I got a piece but I haven’t tried it out yet so I can’t compare it to the one I bought from Amazing Paper, but I heard they are quite good as well. I didn’t tell you this b’cos I thought Chatswood would be too far for you, but if you are going in to get the carving tools, might as well:)

      PS. Oh, and thanks for letting me know about the Turkish place, I live in Stanmore, so I’ll definitely go and try it out!!!

  • Emma:

    What blades do you recommend as a starter pack?

  • Emma:

    or any you bought you could totally do without???
    I’m still investigating, I’ll let you know what success I have! I tried Tillys but my toddler started attacking everything so we had to escape…

    • Jo:

      That would be a very cute scene ^0^

      And back to your question. I would recommend you to get two blades minimum to start with, the V-shaped no. 1 is an absolute must – for carving details, and then get the U-shaped no. 4 for large areas.

      Hope that helps 😀

  • Another cool tutorial.

  • Grace:

    Hey Jo,
    although this is a pretty idiotic question…:P
    i have a speedball now, but i can figure how to insert the blades! D:
    i’ve fiddled around..but it doesn’t fit!
    What exactly are you supposed to do to insert a blade??

    • Jo:

      Hi Grace,

      I thought it’ll be easier to explain with pics.. i’ll send you an email! 🙂 I hope I’m not too late, have been a busy weekend><

  • Grace:

    thanks so much Jo!

  • Elizabeth:

    Thank you so much! I’ve always wanted to try this, now I know how to go about it. Thanks again.

  • Jacquelyn:

    I realise this is an old post but this has been incredibly helpful for me, I’m adding a stamp detail to my wedding invites. And the store information has been super helpful 🙂 Thanks so much for this!!!

  • Pkae:

    Not sure if you can order from an online site and not pay a whopping amount in shipping, but DickBlick has about any and all art/craft items you could want (minus fabrics 😉 ). Hope this helps. Their prices are usually very competitive and they are well known in the states for good quality.

    I like to see and touch my possible purchases (not to mention disliking ship charges), but if it’s just not possible to find what you want in a store, online is good; I’ve bought a ton of stuff online from a bed to shoes to art/craft and have never been cheated and have been able to return (at their expense) anything not up to par or just cuz it wasn’t what I wanted.

    Just a bit of FYI, IMHO 🙂

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