Local craft and stationery stores carry different types of stamps – in all shapes and sizes. You just need some liquid fabric paint and an ink pad to stamp and create beautifully patterned fabric. Then why make your own stamps?
Because like everything in life you crave for more variety in your designs.
When you make your own stamps you can decide on the design you want, the size you want, and the color you want, its intricasy or simplicity, its style. I can go on.
Simple enough to say – Any beautiful design can be stamped with stamps you have made yourself- you just have to conceive it to be printed on textile, in the color of your choice, as many times as you want. Isn’t that exciting?
In this article I will cover:
How to stamp fabric with fabric stamps
Check out the post on block printing for more details. But as an overview, you should remove any sizing (stiffening on new fabric) on the area to be printed , iron the fabric to remove wrinkles, pencil mark the area to be stamped and then keep the fabric on a flat firm surface and start stamping with your fabric stamps.
You can choose a random pattern or a structured allover pattern for your stamping project. Check out the post on the different kinds of fabric patterns you can try to emulate when designing your own stamps and to learn more about the way the patterns are laid out, have a look at the post on the 25 most commonly used pattern repeats
Remember to keep a backing paper or plastic underneath the area so that the ink is not transferred, especially in case of a garment(the ink will easily leech onto the fabric of the backside ). As said you need a flat firm surface under the fabric to be stamped, but it should not be too hard as well. A thin foam mat above the hard flat surface would give you a good result.
Use an ink pad saturated with fabric ink for evenly coating your fabric stamp. You can use a felt fabric piece as the ink pad or even a piece of sponge . If the stamps are big,use a sponge roller/ rubber brayer to apply the paint.
Ensure that you keep the inkpad closed or else it will dry out fast and be rendered useless.A firm hand is needed to make sure that the fabric stamp gives its paint to the surface evenly. A firm whack with your hand or a firm roll with a roller are all worth a try.
If you have multiple layers, wait till the first layer is dry before the next one is applied. You generally use the individual stamps with one color
Also Check out the related post – Best paint/ink to use with fabric stamps.
Different types of DIY fabric stamps
You can make your own fabric stamps from easy cut rubber, linoleum sheets or wood, foam, potatoes, erasers, sponges
Materials needed to make your own textile stamps
You can buy linoleum (a grey material or a pink material which can be carved easily with a sharp cutting tool) at fine art stores and craft shops.
They are very easy to carve into stamps, with the right sharp edge of your carving tool. 1/4 inch thick sheets are ideal for printmaking.
If you are using rubber you will have to ask for easy carve ones ( very similar to an eraser, other wise you will find that you cannot carve them easily). If they are hard, a few seconds in the microwave will make it soft enough for you to carve it into the design you want.Usually the kid’s pencil erasers are soft enough. A sharp craft knife will cut any simple design easily.
You may need carving tools to cut out the relief spaces. If you are particular about your cuts you can get these tools in different sizes.
How to transfer the image and carve it out
After you have finalized your design, you have to transfer it to the material you are going to use as a stamp.
You can print out the design on paper on your inkjet printer and lightly use a vinegar spray on the back of the paper to transfer the design on to the base -lino cuts.
Or use a tracing paper to trace the design with a pencil and then keep the image face down on the base to transfer the graphite lines. (The pencil lines will easily transfer itself on to light coloured surface like the pink lino or white eraser rubber ).
Here is the best way to make stamps with linoleum
Make a tracing of your design on a paper – it should fit the in linoleum block you have. Slip a sheet of carbon paper face down on the linoleum. Keep the traced design on top. Draw over the lines of the design with a sharp pencil
the lines of the design will appear clear on the linoleum. Cut around the outline with a sharp craft knife
Remember that motifs reverse when stamped. In these methods you will have to design and produce (print or draw) a mirror image of the image you want.
You can also use a stencil to transfer a favourite design or free hand draw the design. So many options.
Carve out leaving the design. The design alone should stand projected from the background. The rest of the area is scooped out from the block using the sharp tools you have. Lino cutting tools include scoops shaped like u or v
You will have to ensure that the portion you want to form an impression on the fabric is smooth and well defined. The rest is carved out. Glue it on to a base- The stamp is mounted on a block of plywood or something firm. Use it to stamp on textiles
Checkout this vidoe which shows how the experts make their stamps from wood.
DIY stamps from found items/ vegetable carvings
Use plastic bottles and other everyday things available at home to stamp your fabric. Try vegetable printing with shapes made by carving potatoes etc. You can make beautiful impressions with nature found things like leaves, branches etc. More on making potato stamps and printing with it here.
Yarn wrapped wooden blocks, simple playdough stencils used by kids, toilet rolls manipulated to shapes all become tools in the hands of the artist.
You can buy foam rollers which can be cut with scissors. Use ink stamp pad and roll the roller over it with light pressure until it has completely taken on color.Roll in one direction ; donot do the back and forth motion with the roller
You can get different effects with foam roller by wrapping the roller with rubber bands or wire. These will give different textural effects
The problem with using foam roller is that you cannot clean it. You will have to use this roller for one colour only.
To store the roller use a plastic bag which is tied so that it doesnot dry out.
You can use stencils for fabric stamping. Use a sponge saturated with colour to transfer the fabric paint. You can use special stencil brushes for this. Check out the post on making our own easy stencils at home