Rubber stamping is a hugely popular activity that can be enjoyed by people who do not have formal art training. Rubber stamps have been used for a long period of time for commercial purposes and in crafts, but what is impressive is the fact that they have been used in fine arts ever since the DADA period. They are fairly easy to print and they provide you with a way to make a number of copies. These qualities are what make rubber stamps so appealing for the small scale artists who use them for all kinds of art forms, including greeting cards, mail art and pins. Although you have the possibility of buying rubber stamps, you can also make your own.
What you need
It is essential to have carving materials. You will find that the terms carving materials and erasers are quite interchangeable owing to the fact that a lot of carvers have started with actual erasers and are still using them. You have the opportunity of saving a great deal of money by buying erasers in large quantities from office supply stores. In order to get started, you can get a simple tool kit. If you wish to carve wood blocks or linoleum block, then you should get V-gouges and U-gouges. Some carvers prefer other kinds of hobby knives, so feel free to try several kinds if you like. If you are dealing with large carvings, you can use a brayer. For rubber stamping you will also need ink. The easiest choice that you can make is dye based ink pads because they clean off of your pattern easily with soap and water. Last but not least, you should get paper and find sources of images. Paper is available in a wide variety of colours and textures, whereas for the image you can use your own drawings and photos.
What to do
The first thing that you should do is to cut a long piece of tube to put your design on. Once you do this, brush off the powdery substance on the inside. To make things easier, lay some tracing paper on the chosen design and redraw it after which lay it on the smooth side of the rubber. Make sure to pint the paper so that it will not slip when transferring the image. If you use the outside, then the design will have line running through and rough areas. Use a pair of scissors to cut the design, but avoid using a sharp knife because it will not work well on rubber. Scissors are much easier to use and they will help you cut out a satisfying design. The next step involves finding something to glue it. If you are working with larger designs, they you may want to use foam because it will make things look a little bit nicer.
Printing is fairly simple, all you have to do being to pick up the stamp and press it onto an ink pad. A common problem that you will encounter when printing is the fact that the first sprint will come out uneven and spotty. If the problem is not your image, but rather the fact that there is not enough ink. Another cause could be the fact that the surface underneath the paper is not smooth or that you are not applying enough pressure. Practice pressing on all areas of the stamp, paying particular attention to the middle, and be careful not to move the stamp during printing.