A relatively new hobby I’ve taken up recently is rubber stamp carving. It started when I stumbled upon some handmade rubber stamps being sold on Etsy some years ago. At the time, I was running my own Etsy shop (which I’ve since “retired” since work got in the way) and was looking to speed up the process and reduce the cost of packaging my products by having a custom rubber stamp logo made for my shop. The price of these custom stamps turned me off, though– they were about $25 USD for a small stamp. Yes, I know it’s a custom piece and it’s handmade but it was, for me, a ridiculous price especially when converted to Philippine Pesos. I can buy roundtrip domestic promo plane tickets for that price.
Fast forward to last year. After coming across Geninne’s handmade stamps tutorial using erasers and this photo of a heart-shaped pencil eraser stamp on Pinterest, I experimented with making eraser stamps myself, documenting my progress on my Instagram (username: @wedgienet).
“I made a simple heart-shaped eraser stamp a few days ago using an X-acto knife. Hopefully, with proper carving tools, I’ll be able to make more complicated stamps someday :)” (March 2012)
Second attempt at carving eraser stamps… This time with proper carving tools. Not as clean and perfect as I wanted them to be but it’s a start, yes? Pretty pleased with how they turned out” (March 2012)
Then I left for a 2-month vacation and had to leave my stamp-making stuff behind. I considered bringing them with me but I knew I would barely have time to craft and I knew I was going to pick up new stamping tools and materials during my trip anyway 😛
Back in Manila two months later, I started using rubber blocks I purchased during my trip instead of erasers.
“Made a quick #rubberstamp while waiting to leave for Saturday lunch. Happy to be back at my crafts table with my tools, paints, brushes, etc.” (June 2012)
“Some rubber stamps I made recently. Gray one is cheap, unbranded rubber block (and it shows). Pink stamps are carved from Speedball Speedy-Carve” (June 2012)
In addition to the woodcarving tools I had been using previously, I also started using a Speedball linoleum cutter I bought abroad to carve my stamps.
“Outdoor weekend plans = cancelled T__T was supposed to trek to Taal Volcano (you know, make the most out of living along the Pacific Ring of Fire) :(” (July 2012)”
“Super lazy #Sunday— I un-RSVPd to an event I RSVPd to in favor of staying in, rolling around in bed, and making a #rubberstamp #selfportrait. I am hermit-y.” (August 2012)
Those are most of the stamps I’ve made so far. Carving rubber stamps is just a little something I do before I start real work (illustration/design projects) or after spending XX hours on the computer. It’s a way for me to unwind and make something with my hands and not with a mouse. There’s something relaxing and satisfying about sitting idly and quietly, carving rubber. Weird.
I didn’t really know anyone local who was also into carving stamps until I got to connect with fellow illustrator Lorra on Instagram earlier this year. Thank you, Internet, for bringing people with similar interests together. I wonder how people from Internet-less generations before ours managed. Lorra and I met up for an afternoon of hot chocolate, lemon squares, and stamp carving, but that’s part 2 of a blog entry that shall come at a later time as this entry is too long already 😛 Cliffhanger much? 😛
EDIT: Read part 2 of this post here.