I have been writing so much lately about goal setting, people are probably thinking “Uh, hey when are you going back to writing about handmade stuff?”
What a great week. I have been crafting my little heart out over here in Redscorpioland, and how appropriate since it is going to be Valentine’s Day very soon.
Back when I was a kid, a long long time ago, we had the lamest Valentine’s Day cards available to us. Hearts and stuff, with the most eye-roll inducing puns. No superheroes, and no candy. Or even worse, conversation hearts. Did you know they are made of bone meal and earwig honey? Gross.
It’s a big deal nowadays though. And a great time for kids are parents to get together and make some simple & cute handmade cards. My kids do not pass out Valentine’s to their classmates at community college, but I still make a handmade card for my sweetie almost every year.
This is the card I made for him this year. (He walked by my work table and saw me making it so the surprise is already blown. Hello, Dear.)
I call this technique ‘faux linocut’ and it works great for making a special card for your sweetheart, or 30 cards for the whole class. Side note, I turned Mark Frauenfelder onto this when he was teaching his CreativeLive course. That was pretty awesome.
It’s super easy & kid friendly because it doesn’t require any cutting. The hardest part is remembering that everything you do to the stamp must be in reverse so it prints properly. I should say that is the hardest step for me. It helps to pre-sketch or print your design in reverse and then copy or trace it onto the stamp. Then your brain doesn’t need to try to reverse the image, just copy what’s on your sketch. Yes, I had to do that.
All you need is “fun foam” or craft foam (preferably the self stick kind. That saves you the step of gluing the foam to the base and the time it takes for the glue to dry), and a rigid base. We happened to have some nice wood squares about 3″x3″ and one inch thick. Anything about that size that is smooth and rigid will do.
With a pencil or a dried up ballpoint pen, draw your design into the foam. As you can see in the picture below, I have a dried up ballpoint dedicated to embossing. I take it very seriously. Wherever you draw, the foam will compress leaving a permanent groove. Be very careful drawing the design because once the foam is mashed down by the pencil, it will not bounce back. There’s no erasing with this project.
When you are happy with your design, apply a light layer of craft paint to a paper plate, or plastic tray or something with a wide brush and tap your stamp in it til it’s evenly coated.
With the painted side of your stamp up, carefully lay your paper or card onto the stamp. Gotta get it right the first time because once it’s on there is no adjustment.
Smooth it out all over with the back of a spoon, a popsicle stick or perhaps one of those fake credit cards they are constantly mailing out. Gently, because you are not trying to squeeze out the excess paint, you’re just making sure the entire surface of the paper gets printed. Now lift the paper and be amazed with the awesomeness of your print. This technique was shown to me by my Dad, and since he has a Masters in printmaking, I trust he knows what he’s talking about. If you are doing this with kids, they can just stamp away the regular way.
This is a perfect example of my favorite kind of craft; one that is so simple and yet you could get very creative and make it super complex and elaborate. And they are reusable, just wipe clean after stamping! Would you like to see the rad anniversary card I made a couple of years ago? Click here.