Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Make Your Own Stamp!

After sifting through my personal collection of rubber stamps and going through the stamp selection at my local craft store, I came to the conclusion that I will never find a decent "Thank You" stamp in an aesthetically pleasing font. So I decided to create my own! All I needed was some carving tools, a block of the 4x6 Speedball speedy-carve rubber, an inkjet printer and printer paper, an iron, a small piece of wood for the mount, some stamp ink, E-6000 all-purpose glue.

First, get on the computer and print off black & white text or an image that will be manageable to carve into the speedy-carve rubber. Use a slightly warm iron to transfer and transpose the image onto the speedy-carve stamp material. Cut out the area where your print was transfered onto so that you have a smaller portion of speedy-carve rubber to manage. 

Next, use the carving tools to cut away all the pink area that you don't want to show up in the stamp. 

After you feel you are finished, do a few tests runs of the stamp using the black ink pad and some white paper. These tests will show if  you have possibly missed some pink areas, while carving. Continue carving away the pink rubber till the stamp produces text or an image similar to the derivative text or image. 

Now find or cut a piece of wood a bit larger than your stamp. Using E-6000 all-purpose glue, glue the stamp back to the wood black. Let the glue set for 24 hours before use. 

In the end I used the "Thank you" stamp I made for brown paper bag business card holders to accompany my sold orders through www.etsy.com/shop/CollectiveIndividual.

Hope this helps someone out there!


Saturday, May 5, 2012

How to Press Flowers

Ever since I was a kid, I have loved to press flowers. There is something satisfying about preserving the colors of nature by gently pressing the plant in a heavy dictionary or a hand-made wooden flower press. The process is so rewarding it often makes me question why it is not a more common practice. Is it our fast pace lifestyle that doesn't allow us to take time and "smell the roses", or is it the fact that some just feel that it is a daunting task? Whatever the reason, I am here to tell you that flower pressing is simple! 
All that flower pressing requires is flowers or plants, pressure, a dark place, and time. 

To find flowers and other plants to press I usually look in abandoned fields or along the country roads. If those are hard to come by, make a trip to your local gardening store or flower shop and buy some!

To press the flowers you must use pressure. Pressure can come in many forms. As I have previously mentioned a heavy book like a dictionary can work. Stack bricks or other heavy objects on the dictionary for added pressure. Flower presses are hard to come by in stores. I would suggest buying one online or even making one yourself. 

Place the flowers and plants in the heavy book or in the flower press using the pages or pieces of paper to separate the flowers. Once everything is in place store the book or press in a dark place for up to two weeks. In two weeks take the flowers and plants out of the dark and out of the book or press. Now you have beautiful flowers to do with what you will!

If you have any questions, feel free to comment.