Carving the stamp
Preparing the paint
Collection of finished stamps
Colored pencils
Stack of finished stamps
Rolling paint onto the press
  1. 1

    INSPIRATION

    Hear a song that fills your brain with images, colors, feelings, thoughts OR experience a color, image, event, person, feeling, thought that reminds you of a song lyric.

  2. 2

    PENCIL TO PAPER

    Illustrate and/or hand-letter using graphite and erasers onto some tracing paper. Get your favorite tools from the legendary Daiso. Casually prove your art school wrong - no you don’t need to spend 37987 dollars on supplies to make shit happen.

  3. 3

    TRANSFER

    Hand-burnish the graphite to a blank rubber stamp block cut down to 4x6 inches found at the inimitable Artist & Craftsman Supply. (Yes, they ship!)

  4. 4

    CARVE

    Use the burnished lines kind of like a coloring book as you let all your anxiety melt away. Make sure to decide whether you want your image knocked out of color or to appear more like a line drawing. If you want it knocked out, carve the lines. If you want it like a line drawing, carve everything but the lines.

  5. 5

    TEST

    Make a test print. Roll out black ink on an ink bench with a brayer. Use the brayer covered in black ink to saturate the uncarved pieces of your design.

  6. 6

    EVALUATE & REFINE

    Grab some scratch paper and flip the inked side of your stamp onto the surface of the paper. Wash your stamp, check your test print for any places you may have missed carving and carve as necessary.

  7. 7

    PRESS

    Ink your new stamp and press it to paper.

    You’re buff now.

  8. 8

    DIGITIZE

    Scan a print and digitally play with the image and add other hand-crafted elements as needed. Congratulations! You’ve now made your heap of student loans worth it by employing some of those hard-earned graphic design skills.

  9. 9

    MULTIPLY

    Entrust your art baby with a magnificent artisan who can multiply your image impeccably and efficiently. (See my vendors for some recommendations!)

  10. 10

    RELAX

    Marvel at the fact that something you had swirling around in your mind is now in your hands and ready to share with the world! … Or keep to yourself, up to you. Either way you made a thing - yay!

Tools of the trade