How to make a stamp

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Here are some photos of the scarves that I finished last week and a short how-to on stamp making.

Making a stamp for silk resist is very easy and requires only an idea, a piece of plexiglass, a plexiglass cutter (both should be available at your local hardware store), a sheet of fun foam and some glue - I use either super glue or rubber cement.

Your design should be fairly simple and read well as either positive or negative space. Transfer your design to the fun foam and cut it out with scissors. Scissors will create a smooth beveled edge that works well for gluing and stamping. If you have multiple shapes within your design, it is a good idea to draw a map of pieces onto your plexiglass with a sharpie marker so that you know where each small element is supposed to go once you start gluing. Use the plexiglass cutter to cut the plastic to the appropriate size for your stamp.

If you use super glue, apply tiny dots of glue at 1/8 inch intervals to the back of the fun foam and quickly stick the pieces onto the plexiglass. These should stick for just about forever. Try not to get your fingers too involved, you don't want to wear your new stamp all day.

Rubber cement allows for some adjustments after placement and is good for the accident prone. Apply a thin layer of glue to the plexiglass and to the fun foam. Allow it to dry until it is tacky on both surfaces and then press the foam pieces frimly onto the plexiglass. Lay the assembled stamp flat and place a heavy book on top for about an hour. This results in a sturdy stamp that can be removed in case you want to re-position the pieces or use the piece of plexiglass for something else.

Where to get a design motif?

Sometimes my design ideas come from my own drawings, sometimes they come from other design sources.

These carnation blossoms are two of my favorite stamps.

They are from a small study of carnation buds and blossoms I did about 8 years ago.

I found the spear-like buds very intriguing so I made a stamp of that simple design and used it for a couple of years. then I wanted to add some variety to the designs I was stamping with that motif and created the blossom stamp to co-ordinate with it. They have ben very successful. I can create rigid, static upright motifs with these stamps or use them as a garden element, adding fern patterns, birds, insects or my signature moon stamp.

These fuschia blossoms were created in a similar fashion. I did a quick setch of a friend's hanging basket and later translated that into a set of fuschia blossom and bud stamps. These ae wonderful bcause in order to make the design read corectly, I stamp the flowers on, allow them to dry and then draw in stems and leaves with my fine line applicatr after the scarf is in the stretcher frame. This creates a scarf that can be painted in a groovy, 1970's stained glass window look.

The swallow image originated from a one of Graham Leslie McCallum's source books. I like these books because they are full of simple B&W line drawings of relatively simple design motifs. I like other souce books, too, but I find that I am often distracted & overwhelmed by the addition of colors or including complete designs on the page instead of simple elements.

I made the first stamp from a line drawing inspired by two or three of the swallow images in the book. I wanted another swallow, slightly larger and swooping in the opposite direction, so I simply traced the first foam swallow onto another piece of foam before gluing it to the plexiglass.

You can also get nice stamps at Michaels' and other shops that sell foam home decor and kid's craft stamps.
One your stamps are made, use a foam brush to apply Elmers School Glue Gel, diluted 2 to 1 with water and stamp the designs on the silk. Allow the resist to dry, stretch the silk and paint. Do not paint over the resisted image, as the glue is water soluble and will break down.

When the scarf is painted, cured and washed, you can embellish the resist design with textile paint or ink. I like Dahler Rowney's Acrylic inks - they are supple and shimmering and flow nicely onto the silk.

Wash the stamp with warm water after each use and allow to dry before storing it away and it will last for many years. You can also use the stamp for paper creations, for stamping paint or thickened inks to fabric or even for home decor.


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