Tuesday, 9 July 2013

DIY Tutorial: Personalised Stationary - Part 1

Part 1: How to make your own rubber stamps 

I can finally post this tutorial up now that I've given the lovely lady her birthday present including this handmade stationary set! She's always writing letters to people and making things herself so I knew she would appreciate it and I really enjoyed making it.

In Part 1 I'm going to show you how to make your own rubber stamps. I've split this tutorial into two parts because otherwise it's quite lengthy. This way you can also read either the rubber stamp part or the envelope part individually if you don't want to do the whole thing.

Things you will need:

1. Cutting board or protective mat
2. A rubber of any size. I found this one from Wilkinsons for 80p!
3. A scalpel 
4. Lino Cutter
5. Pencil
6. Interchangeable tips for the lino cutter
7. Scrap paper

Lino Cutters

I bought a lino cutter especially for this project but I knew I would be doing lots more printing. I got mine off eBay from this shop but since then Amazon has brought down the price of theirs. It also comes with 5 different size tips which you definitely need.

Choosing what you want to print

I was a bit ambitious considering it was my first time using a lino cutter or making a stamp. I had a vision for what I wanted my stationary set to look like so typed out the word hello on my computer and copied it. If you aren't very good at fonts or calligraphy like me you can cheat. Head over to a font website like Da Font and search for one that you like. When you find one, click on it and you will see a box at the top that says Custom Preview, type in your phrase and hit submit and it will bring up your word(s) for you. Now you can copy and past, print screen of just trace the letters from the screen onto your scrap paper.

Printing the right way around!

We've all been there. You take your paper from the printer, trace the picture or photocopy something and it comes out backwards. This isn't so much of a worry if you're doing a pattern or shape but with text you need to get it right. If you're doing it freehand but want something to copy, Flip your text as an image in Photoshop. Most photo editing software, even free ones that you get with computers can do this.

If you're tracing from the screen, you need to trace it the correct  way around onto paper and then lay your paper face down. See the photo is the last step as to how it should look. In order to make an imprint you need to use anything from a 2B pencil or darker and press quite heavily onto the paper. When you have done this, lay your paper face down (as see above in the photo) and rub the back of the paper firmly. When you lift the paper off you should have an imprint of you text/shape.

Nearly ready to start cutting...

If the imprint is faint, go over it again with a pencil. If you need to see more clearly where you are cutting and what you are leaving, shade in the negative space. Remember, once you cut it away there will be no pencil marks left to get onto your print.

 The Cutting Process

Starting from the top left: Begin slowly on the outside with one of the wider tips. This helps to remove a lot of the excess space quickly. When you have taken most of the negative space out, swap to your smallest tip and start to work in around the shape (See bottom left photo)

Tip: Take your time when doing this, especially if it's a delicate design. If you go wrong, it's more than likely that you can't fix it and have to start again!

Soon enough you will end up with something like the bottom right hand corner and only have the inside of the letters to do. I have to admit, I found this quite tricky but when you get the hang of the angles of the tools and how it all works it gets easier. Practise makes perfect!

Finished stamp

When you're happy with it, cut it off from the rest of the rubber to make it into an individual stamp.

 Tip: Go around the edges a few more times so that they are the lowest point of the stamp. You might think that the design is raised enough above the rest but I guarantee that when you stamp it for the first time, the edges will catch and print too!

Don't waste the rest of the rubber!

I made some more simple stamps out of the remaining rubber. Out of an 80p I now have 5 lovely stamps (one of them isn't show here!) Bargain! 


If you were doing proper lino printing, then you would use lino paint or acrylic. But seeing as though is is only basic printing, I used a regular stamp pad which you can pick up from stationary or office supplie stores for cheap and in quite a few colours. I happened to have this black one so this is the one I used.


You're going to get fed up of me saying this but practise using your stamps first before you use them on your good card! I used an off cut and had a go so I knew if i needed to tweak any of them . As you can see, the bottom left scalloped stamp has printed one of the edges so I had to cut a bit more off.

The finished product!

I'm really happy with how these turned out, especially for my first attempt! The set of 10 includes 3 x Hello cards, 3 x Hi cards, 2 x XO's and 2 x blank for extra writing. I like that they look hand printed and I think it always give handmade presents a nice feel. 

Look out for part 2 of this tutorial on how to make DIY envelopes to house these lovely note cards. The post will be up later this week!




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