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How to Carve Stamps from Fun Foam

I’m cheap.  Plus I just seem to think I can make anything whether I know how or not.  Attitude is a wonderful thing.  It can keep you positive about things—-or obscure ignorance.  Either way you may discover fun things.

So I have decided to add to my “paper arts” with some stamps of my own design.  I bought a fun foam in black and white—the thin version, because my Michael’s did not have a thicker version in a single sheet.

Then I drew a few designs.  I drew a stain glass window because it was easy.  I also used a Zentangle pattern called “Cockles ‘n Mussels” by Margaret Bremner, CZT.

To transfer my drawings to the foam, I simply copied over them thoroughly with a #2 pencil to create a carbon paper effect.  Then I placed them face down on the foam and rubbed them with a bone folder (spoons work well) until enough of the pencil had rubbed off to give me a traceable pattern.  I repeated this process in case I messed up the first one.

This shows the “Cockles ‘n Mussels” pattern done two ways.  The carving tool was ——a ball point pen.  I traced the outside lines of the drawing on the left hand stamp; on the right hand stamp I traced only the inner circular lines.  I went over the circular lines several times to make them deep in the foam.

The left hand version of the stamp was then cut out with some very tiny embroidery scissors.  I have these and can use them better than I do a craft knife which is the logical tool to use.  This white foam has a peel and stick surface on the back which led to some serendipity later.

I did some test stamping on scrap paper and improved my carving based on that.  The top stamp is the left cut out one; the bottom is the one where I just traced over the lines with a ball point.  As soon as I liked what I had, I peeled the backing off and stuck these onto the black foam piece to make them sturdier.

I discover that these work fine on an acrylic stamp block IF you wet (lick) the back before you put it on the block.  Later I drew some more designs by just tracing with the ballpoint pen and glued those to small blocks of wood.  They work fine.

This is the pen carved window stamp.

I carved the window pains out with the craft knife and being a thrifty type, I laid them aside.

Here is the test stamp for the window stamps.  One and two are the ballpoint version; three and four are the cutout.  I rather like these.  There is room to color in the windows in the second stamp.  These,too, were adhered to black foam.

Uh, about those leftover bits—they have that peel and stick backing, so I naturally . . .

peeled and stuck them on some black foam.  Aha!  A fifth stamp!  Sort of a freebie.  

It actually stamps nicer than the intentional ones.  That must say something about my talent.  Anyway it worked.

The foam was less than two dollars.  I had way more than $2.00 worth of fun just wondering how this would turn out.  I urge you to give it a go.

Then you can try carving from erasers.  Cheap white ones from the dollar store.  You can carve on two sides.   Even cheaper.

More later–

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