I tend to make things in a complicated way, so I usually start explaining technique using a complicated method rather than starting with the most simple one. But if something is simple it doesn’t mean it has to be boring, right? It just needs a bit of creativity.
So what I am going to explain today – there are plenty of materials you can use to create a stamp. The one I am showing has many advantages – it is easy to use and clean, it is light, it is greener than some other materials and you can reuse it as many times as you wish. It is EVA (ethylene-vinyl acetate) board. It is the same thing shoe companies use for flip-flop soles. It is not the best material for shoes (very abrasive) but very good one for stamps.
We will need:
- EVA board
- steel ruler (you can make it without it)
- adhesive tape
- pattern on a paper
EVA usually has some texture on one side, I don’t use that one, just the flat one. In Zlín you can get EVA boards with both flat sides, but it is slightly far from Prague so I use what I can get in Prague shops (Řempo – crafts shop). I got this one at Újezd (a shop next to the rope shop – nice one too). It has 1 cm thickness, the thicker the better the grip is.
I decided to go with the easy geometrical shapes – a set of same size squares for multicoloured printing, so I wouldn’t have to clean the stamp after every single use to change the colour, then a set of equilateral triangle and rhomboids. Finally a set of various rectangles. All sets have matching sizes, so I can combine them, squares have a side of 65 mm, triangles too, rhomboids are 65×32,5mm and rectangles have one side always 65mm and the smaller ones are smaller by golden ratio(Golden ratio – wikipedie).
I drafted the shapes on a paper right next to each other (sharing sides) so I wouldn’t have to make more cuts than necessary. I cut the paper pattern out with scissors, leaving a small amount of material on sides, and attached them to the flat side of board with a tape. Using cutter I cut the inner lines to the half depth of the board and then then the outer lines. I was using the steel ruler, it goes much faster and the result is nicely even, but it is possible to cut the stamps without it. Don’t use plastic ruler, you will immediately destroy it.
I cut out the outer lines completely so the stamp would separate from the board. I removed the paper pattern and cut through the remaining inner lines to separate each stamp.
Besides the basic shapes I also did one more complex with inner cuts. This material doesn’t allow too many details, but some straight lines were fine. For cutting more segmented shapes I would recommend using other materials, like softcut.
What can we do with a primitive square stamp? I tried colour gradient, from dark blue to light blue in 5 steps. I have mixed my blue colour with white to create 4 lighter shades. Because I didn’t make an helping tool to place to prints, the squares are sometimes jumping up and down in lines. But the result is lovely.
I did some marks on the material at first. I marked the fold and the centre (fabric will be used for a tote bag) with an iron. I laid the stamps on a fabric to see the size of the gap. I printed the first squares to the corners to leave enough space for seam allowance, the the middle square and the ones in between at last to finish a row. I started with a row of darkest colour, then a row of the lightest colour, then I printed the middle squares on both sides, then the ones in between… and so on.
When you first use the stamps, make some sample prints on a test fabric first – EVA board is a porous material so it soaks in a bit of colour at first. After few uses the surface is filled up and it becomes more even. A bit of colour remains in it even after cleaning the stamp, but it never comes out when applying a different colour. When you finish printing, you should wash the stamp with a sponge, soap and water, and leave it to dry. When you make larger prints it is good to wash the stamp from time to time. And it is also good to wash your hands when printing, so you wouldn’t leave your fingerprints on a fabric too.
Easy as pie, right?