I've graduated from bookplates and little produce stamps to an actual portrait.
What on earth made me think that I could pull this off? I honestly have no idea.
But as it turns out, it wasn't actually that difficult (maybe because of all the practice I've had making bookplates for presents). It did take a few hours to complete, but I managed to get it right on the first try, which doesn't always happen around here.
I think it was helpful that I used a Mastercarve block this time, which was much less crumbly than the Speedy Cut brand.
There are 3 main steps...
-Change the original photo to look like a stamp using photo editing software.
- A high resolution picture with a white background works best. I used this one that Jenny took, but I could have removed that chair in the background and made it a bit easier on myself during the carving.
- Crop the picture to the area that you want to turn into a stamp, choosing dimensions that are the right size for the block of rubber you'll be carving.
- Apply the stamp effect. In my software, Photoshop Elements, it's under Filter -> Sketch -> Stamp.
- You'll want to mess with the Light/Dark Balance as well as the Smoothness in order to get something that looks reasonable to carve. Remember you'll be removing everything that is white, while leaving all the black areas.
- Now is a good time to create a horizontally flipped copy in addition to the original. This second, flipped image will be much easier to use as a reference when carving and you can print them both at the same time. (Image -> Rotate -> Flip Horizontal)
-Transfer original image to block using the same directions as in the bookplate stamp tutorial or if you have access to a laser printer or Xerox machine you can try using acetone (nail polish remover) which gives a much clearer transfer, though it does leave the black image permanently on the stamp.
- Print the image on a laser printer and let dry. Cut around design, leaving a half inch border.
- Wet a cotton ball with nail polish remover, squeeze to remove all excess liquid.
- Place the paper ink side down on rubber and tape in place.
- Quickly, with light to medium pressure run the cotton ball over the image. Do not go over any area more than once.
- Remove paper immediately.
- If it is smeared, you can remove the ink from the rubber by rubbing with the cotton ball. Let dry before trying again.
(In this picture the one on the right is the original image, which shows up reversed on the block. The one on the left is what I used as a guide while carving.)
-Carve away all the white.
- This video is an excellent resource (and also happens to be what inspired me to try stamp carving in the first place).
- Start with an easier area like the outline of her hair and move to more difficult areas like the thin black lines of her jawline and eyelids.
- When you think you've got all of the white areas removed, test your stamp. It'll be pretty obvious where you've missed.
- Continue carving and stamping until you're happy with the look. If you start to get tired or frustrated, you should stop immediately and come back to it later. It doesn't take much to really mess one of these up.
And I guess that's about it.
Now to figure out what I'm actually going to do with this.
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Contest Winner's Personalized Stamp
Personalized Bookplate Stamps (has a list of supplies)
Cute Little Produce Stamps