Wood Stamps

What You Need:

  • A block of wood, more than 1/2" thick (Outside dimensions can vary, but remember the surface will determine the size of the print and you'll also want to be able to pick it up by the edges.)
  • Newspapers to protect your work surface
  • Pencil
  • Permanent marker
  • String
  • White liquid glue (school or craft)
  • Ink for print-making, found at any art or hobby store
  • Paper, fabric, or wood to print on
  • Water to clean your stamp
  • Paintbrush
  • Colored pencils or crayons

What You Do:

  1. Before you set out to make your own stamps, lay down newspapers to protect your work surface.
  2. Create your stamp by gluing a piece of paper to your block of wood.
  3. With a pencil, draw a design on the paper. It should have strong outlines as these lines will be the part that will leave a print.
  4. Use a permanent magic marker to draw over and darken your design.
  5. Glue your string over your design outlines. Keep the string as close to the lines as possible. Let this dry completely.
  6. Now use the tip of the glue nozzle to lay down a thin line of glue over the string outline. The dried glue will be what makes the print. If the glue spreads too much, your outline will be fat when you stamp your design. Let this dry until the glue is transparent.
  7. Use your paintbrush to paint the glue-covered string. You can also ink your stamp on a stamp pad if you have one that's the correct size. Work quickly enough so that the ink doesn’t dry before you can apply the stamp.
  8. Take your inked stamp, and stamp your design onto a nice piece of paper or fabric. Let it dry.
  9. Carefully color the inside of your design with colored pencils and crayons. If you are using this on fabric make sure you use fabric or textile paint.

With your custom built “stamp", you can now create originals designs for greeting cards, repeat motifs for wrapping paper, or decorate your own unique tee-shirts or pillowcases!

Did You Know?

  • Japanese woodcuts were first used around 800 years ago.
  • Woodcuts make art when a raised surface is inked and pressed against paper. Sometimes the woodcut is put into a press and paper is rolled over it, but each time a print is made the woodcut has to be re-inked. This is a much faster method of creating many copies of the same image than by drawing or painting them one at a time.
  • In a traditional woodcut, the cut is made by cutting out the negative space. This activity is the opposite in that it has you raising the design's outline higher than the background to create a positive space.
  • One of the most famous Japanese artists, Hokusai, created a series of woodcuts called 36 Views of Mount Fuji.
  • Hokosai's best-known work, which you may have seen copies or imitations of, is called “The Great Wave.”

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