Friday, 14 May 2010

Stamp, Stamp, Stamp...

I found some of these in the Art Centre a couple of weeks ago:

They are blank circles of lino-cutting material, with a sticky back.  They're designed for use with a (rather expensive) lino-cutting and stamp-making system.  The blanks themselves are quite cheap though - £1.99 for a pack of 10 - Bargain!

So, I bought some, because at home I already had these:

Yes, a lino-cutting set.

I haven't done any lino-cut printing for years and years (since I was a teenager!).  However, after my printmaking course in January, I really wanted to get back into printmaking at some point. 

Lino prints are relatively cheap and easy to make. Unlike many printing plates, lino-cuts can be printed using manual methods, rather than you having to have a press. Obviously a press makes it easier and gives more scope, but you can use a flat hand, a spoon-back or some other pressing tools to transfer your image, so long as it's not too complex.

So, I had bought some more lino-cutting tools and a couple of bits of that hard, grey lino.  And done nothing. Too busy doing lots of other things instead...

But yesterday I really fancied having a go.  And there were those great little discs, just waiting to be tried out.
I have been wanting a Butterfly stamp for a while now (who doesn't like butterflies?). 

So, I made one:

I drew round the lino disc, then drew a design with a soft pencil.

I placed the design over the disc and rubbed a faint pencil impression onto it, then drew over that with a permanent fibre-tipped pen.  I cut the design out of the lino disc. It was much easier than the "grey lino" I am used to, as this stuff is lovely and soft. You have to soak the old-style lino in hot water, to soften it up, but this is just great - all ready to use and it's like cutting through cold butter.

Then I stuck the disc to a milk-bottle top, as a handle.

This is what the stamp looks like... I love the lino-cutty texture of it.  I could make it all smooth between the butterflies, but somehow I prefer it like this. The prints produced will have that "lino-cut print look", which I really like.

and here are some test prints.

This was the original test print, before I added extra marks to the butterflies.

The stamp was mounted on a large acrylic block for this print.  I think it gave a clearer, crisper print, so I may try this - or another more solid handle - next time, instead of the milk-bottle lid (which is hollow).

I really enjoyed making my stamp and have plans for some more soon! Another, different butterfly, perhaps a tree... hmm, thinking of ideas myself - do you have any good ones for me to try?

Oh, and if anyone knows where I can buy some fine-detail carving tools, I'd love to know!


  1. A little house! Do a house! The butterfly is really lovely: you got an amazing level of detail on there.

  2. Wow - amazing stamp! Just love this idea :-) What would I make? Hmm.... A flower, definitely; a tree; a bird; love Sian's suggestion of a house; oh, too many ideas!!

  3. Oh these turned out lovely: I had no idea you could make your own stamps, very creative! I would have sad flowers and birds too, so not much help. How about arrows, hearts, monogram letters ...

  4. oops, I meant to say "said" flowers, not "sad" flowers, ha ha. Blame the G&T's I had at brunch!

  5. What fun! I love prints because they are so close to stamps. I'm with Sian - do a house. I also like the ideas of a bird, tree or heart.
    Also, maybe a swirl or flourish.

  6. yep go 4 the house, it will fit with ur lil birdhouse for ur etsy win or a cupcake. love this technique, tutorial please
    Jo xxxx

  7. Fantastic! You are quite amazing Lizzie - this would never occur to me ;-)making my own stamps this is! Birdies, houses, trees .... mwaaah - the world is your oyster!

  8. Dear Lizzie
    This is my passion as I teach stamp carving at The Make Lounge. I can answer some of your questions! The tool blades do not come any finer than you already have but you can make finer marks by just not pressing so hard. A very light touch can be gained through experience! Your first attempt looks very good!
    As it is lino rather than rubber, then it's not so easy to ink and stamp. With rubber you can tap it on a stamp pad and get a great impression. With lino the best impression is to be gained from using printing ink and a roller and then burnishing the print with the back of a spoon.
    Keep on doing what you are doing though, it looks grand. And yes! Do a house

  9. how lovely aunty. you are very clever x

  10. That looks really neat! love the detail!

  11. great stuff - there is something very satisfying about printmaking

  12. Wow, this is so good Lizzie, I like the house idea too. Thanks for your comment on my blog - the cupcake holder thing was from eBay: they have quite a few. : )


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