Making your own stamps can be as simple as carving a shape into a potato. However, there are many more sophisticated ways of making your own stamps and this can be a great way to get the perfect stamp for a project. Some techniques require very little in the way of special equipment. The key to success, what ever type of stamp you are planning to make, is a good design. Simple bold images are best.
Potato printing is one of the most simple forms of creating a custom 'stamp'. While this is often thought of as being an activity for children, some surprisingly sophisticated results can be achieved. Other types of vegetable can also be carved. Carrots, for instance, are great for making little 'peg' stamps. When you are making stamps from vegetables or fruit, they need to be used immediately as the stamp will dry out making it difficult to get a crisp image.
Craft foam is easy to cut and when applied to a block, can make a great stamp. Craft foam can be cut with scissors, making it a quick and easy way to produce simple stamps. The cut craft foam can be attached to a normal acrylic stamping block or other solid form using a glue stick or repositionable adhesive. Many simple shapes are ideal for cutting out of craft foam. Some craft suppliers sell ready cut craft shapes which can also be a quick way to make custom foam stamps.
Erasers are low cost and easy to carve. They offer a good introduction to stamp carving. Plastic erasers are suitable, as are art gum erasers. The main restriction is the size. Erasers are typically relatively small and as such are best suited to smaller designs.
Soft block or carving block is a material that has been specifically designed for stamp carving. This is easy to carve and available in different grades. See Soft Block for more information about the different types of soft block available. Soft block is easy to carve with cutting tools. Images can be transferred onto soft block for carving using simple tracing techniques, see How to Transfer Images for more information including a list of places to find free stencils that are ideal for turning into stamps.
It is now possible to make clear photopolymer stamps at home using very little in the way of special equipment. Sachets or pockets of photopolymer are turned into clear stamps by the use of light and a black and white image. Larger systems are making the creation of stamps to sell a real possibility.