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OSA Classes-Making Stamps from Cut Rubber Scraps

Back when I was just a stamper and buying unmounted rubber stamp sheets I wondered what could be done with all the leftover scraps. And now that I manufacture rubber stamps I sometimes feel buried in scraps of rubber left from cutting out stamps to send to my customers. I have tried to find some outlet for recycling this rubber (once it has been pressed it cannot be pressed and baked again) but to no avail. So I decided that maybe it could be used for making stamps designed from pieces of the rubber. After a bit of experimenting I have come up with what I think is a simple method for doing this. Using this method you will be able to turn your own inspirations into stamps--well at least some of them. And once again you will be looking at the world around you with new eyes. This method will never replace the fine art stamps available online, at your local stamp store or at stamping conventions, but will allow you to add some special accessories to your stamping kit.


The first step it to collect all the required materials as shown in the following photo. You don't have to photocopy for this method, just print out.


The materials I have found useful are as follows:


Rubber Scraps

When you cut rubber stamps you have purchased on a sheet of stamps, save the scraps. It is a good idea to save the scraps from each sheet in separate baggies. There will be slight variations in the depth of the rubber, even from the same company, and it is best if all the pieces used on one stamp are at least close to the same depth. Adding cling vinyl mounting foam under the base of your stamp will allow for some variation in depth. If you don't have any scraps to use, just ask when ordering stamps if any scraps could be included. Depending on the process the vendor uses and whether or not they cut individual images they may be happy to send you some (I know I will be--I hate seeing anything go to waste!) Keep scraps of all sizes, even itty bitty ones as you will find you can use them in lots of ways if you experiment a little bit.


Scissors

You will need scissors that can cut rubber and plastic sheeting or transparencies. I use Chinese kitchen shears and then a pair of Fiskars for fine tuning.


Adhesives

For this method you will need a temporary glue that will temporarily adhere your transparent material to a copy of the graphic you are using for your stamp design, and that will adhere cut paper sections of a copy of your graphic to the top of the rubber scraps while you are cutting (or tracing, if you prefer). I like using the spray on stencil adhesive, the can I have now is from Delta. You will also need a permanent glue that will hold the rubber to the transparency or whatever clear plastic scrap material (like the clamshell boxes take-away food come in or other stiff, clear plastic packaging that you are able to cut with scissors) you use for the base of your rubber. (Rubber Cement will NOT work.) I find the E6000 craft glue works well.


Graphics for your stamp design

You can use any graphic as long as the parts/pieces of the graphic are not smaller than you can cut the rubber. The graphic can be scanned and resized in any image editing program if you have one like Photoshop or Paintshop. The easiest thing is to use clipart. If you are lucky enough to be able to draw, you could just draw your own design to use. If possible the graphics you use should be reversed for this process, however if you don't have a way to do that, you can still use this process with a moderation I will explain at the proper place during the class. You will need two copies of each graphic you plan to use, and I recommend you have a third on hand in case of mishaps.


Material for base of stamps

Because you are going to be putting unconnected pieces of rubber together into a design, you will need some type of base to adhere these pieces onto. While you could stick the pieces directly onto cling vinyl mounting foam, that would result in messy adhesive exposed in the blank areas of the stamp and you might not be able to place the pieces together with a good result. So I use either an acetate transparency (like used for overhead projectors before the digital ones were developed) or cut, flat pieces of the clear plastic used for packaging. You will see why this works so well during the class.


Static Cling Mounting Foam (optional)

I like using this material because it is convenient and I don't have to permanently mount any of my stamps. If you prefer to have your stamps mounted on wood, you can still do that, but you should use some type of foam to provide a cushion between the stamp and the wood to get a better impression from your stamps.


Miscellaneous items to make life easier

Tweezers, cotton balls, Q-tips, nail polish remover, rubbing alcohol, colored markers.


If you are unfamiliar with cutting unmounted stamps from sheets and using static cling mounting foam and acrylic blocks, you can check out some tips by clicking here. Below are a few stampouts of some stamps I made while developing this method for this class



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