Stamp Carving 101
So you've decided to start hand carving your stamps. Congratulations! Not only do letterboxers tend to prefer hand-carved stamps, but it's a great hobby to work on late at night or while it's pouring rain and you just don't feel like getting up to actually look for a letterbox.
Carving a stamp is almost as easy as tracing around your hand, and even sophisticated-looking stamps can be carved with minimal artistic abilities. This tutorial will show you how it's done, and after just a session or two of carving stamps, you'll be staring at your very own hand-carved stamps in awe.
- Gathering the Materials: This section covers the tools you'll need to carve your first stamps.
- Finding Images: Nobody expects you to be an artist able to draw breath-taking pictures. Nope, here you'll master the art of acquiring images that you can copy for your own use!
- Convert Photos Into Images (experts only): Pungent Bob explains an advanced technique to turn digital photos into carvable images using Adobe® Photoshop®.
- Transferring the Image: Part I: Several methods exist to get the image you want for your stamp onto the carving block. This section shows one of the easiest, cleanest, and cheapest ways to get results: Tracing!
- Transferring the Image: Part II: Learn a more advanced method for transferring images that some letterboxers will swear to—the blender pen. Mark explains how he does it here!
- Carving the Stamp: This section discusses the nitty-gritty details of how to actually carve a stamp. Mostly, it's just a matter of practice, but some of these tips might help you avoid pitfalls common to new carvers.
- Mounting the Stamp: You've carved your first stamp! Congratulations! To give it that extra professional look, you can mount your stamp. This section will give you a few helpful tips.
- What Now?: There are many other great websites about carving stamps, and in this section you'll find some of the best and most useful and alternate methods and tools for carving your own stamps.
- Samples & Examples: Sneak a look at some of the carvings other Atlas Quest members have carved—including a page with some of our first carvings!
But, a disclaimer: Few people carve wonderful stamps right out of the starting gate. Practice, practice, and more practice will make all the difference in the world. It should not take long to start making very pleasing stamps relatively quickly, but it will take a little more effort than that to make truly spectacular stamps. Learning to carve is a neverending process, but fortunately, you don't have to create a 'perfect' stamp to impress yourself and others!
The simple carving methods explained in this tutorial are used by many of the best carvers out there. You probably won't reach that level with your first carving, but be patient. You'll get there.