Creating my own stamps has been a recent passion of mine, and in the last few months I have created over 300! I will post some photos of my stamp collection soon, but for now I want to show you how to make them. It is super easy, fun, and you can make whatever designs you dream of and use them in many MANY ways (I used mine in my wedding invitations - also an upcoming post).
You can make stamps out of different materials like linoleum, potatoes, styrofoam, etc, but my favourite materials are erasers and Speedy-Cut rubber blocks, which have a similar consistency to erasers. If my designs are small, I tend to use erasers bought at the dollar store (like the round ones shown in the third photo below - you can take advantage of these shapes and use them as part of your design!).
You will also need something to carve them. Speedball's linoleum cutters are very practical, they come with a variety of cutting sizes and are pretty easy to use. You can get these at your local art store, or online.
Finally, you will need pretty inks and surfaces in order to use your stamps. Inks come in a variety of colours and textures, and have different uses too. I have also used fabric paint to stamp my own designs on pillow cases and other fabrics. Your options are plenty!
Other optional materials include a pen, pencil, and tracing paper. These will make it easier to transfer your design onto your eraser before you start carving away.
Once you have all your tools and materials ready, it is time to begin (I have posted a series of photos of all steps below for your convenience!). You can play around and create your own design on a clean paper or decide to use another design. I played around and came up with a simple fox design. Place the tracing paper on top of the design and trace it with your pencil. Then carefully place the paper, tracing face down, on the desired location on your eraser. With the back of your pen or your fingertips, gently press down on the paper, transferring the image on to the eraser. Make sure you hold the paper with your other hand so that it doesn't move around while you are transferring it!
Using your lino cutter start carving the design on the eraser, being careful not to cut yourself and making sure you are pointing the tool away from you. As you can see by the photos below, since I chose a circular eraser, I could choose to leave the stamp with the circular border around, or I can choose to carve the outside of the fox figure so that my stamp will only be the fox without the border. I think both are beautiful and will give you variety in your designs, so you can decide what looks best to you. After that, you are done, feel free to ink up and try out your beautiful stamp!
TIP: After you are done stamping, you can take good care of your creations by gently washing your stamps with warm water and liquid hand soap, that way they will last you longer. For really intricate stamps, I also use a soft toothbrush (you can get it at the dollar store), and rub softly in circular motions to get the ink out, specially in the corners.