How to Stamp Without Stamps

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    DIY Stamps: How to Stamp Without Stamps!

    How to make an impressions without rubber stamps. Getty Images | Westend61

    Looking for a new challenge? How about making DIY stamps out of everyday materials and create your own unique prints!

    Rubber stamps are just one way for stampers to make their mark. A wide variety of other materials can be used to make an impression on paper and these can be a great way to explore new and creative ideas. While the results are less predictable and controllable than working with rubber stamps, a rich and diverse assortments of patterns can be created using items from discarded bubble wrap through to vegetables. This is a wonderful way to try new things and is a good inspiration kick-starter for times when you are short for ideas for designs.

    Using materials other than rubber stamps is perfect for experimental projects, and because the materials are largely low cost, there's no worry about wasting money if things go in a slightly different direction to that planned!

    DIY Stamps - Stamping Without Stamps

    There are a huge variety of items that you can use to stamp with. Some ideas which you'll find on the following pages include:

    • Bubble wrap
    • Cardboard inner from a paper roll
    • Potato
    • Fingerprint
    • Rubber bands around a brayer

    However, anything with a textured and reasonably flat surface can be used to stamp or print on paper. As well as stamping on paper and cardstock, a lot of the projects on the following pages would be great for stamping or printing onto fabric. DIY stamps are often less intricate than shop bought stamps, and as such, they are better for big projects such as stamping on a t-shirt or pillow. Simply swap paint or ink for fabric paint or fabric ink. This will give you a long lasting design which will be uniquely yours!

    More Ideas

    If you enjoy experimenting with different techniques then looking for and trying different stamping material will be a fun challenge. Check out the projects and tutorials on the following pages for some great ideas and inspiration.

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  • 02 of 16

    Make a Stamp From a Potato

    Make a stamp from a potato. Getty Images

     Potato printing or stamping is probably one of the first experiences of stamping we have as kids. This is an extremely versatile form of stamping and while it is a great project for youngsters, it is also a useful standby for more experienced stampers too! Basic shapes are easy to cut and can look very effective. This is also an extremely low cost way to stamp images. The main drawback of stamping with potatoes is that the potatoes will start to dry out after a while and this makes it difficult to achieve an even print. Therefore after cutting the potato into a shape you need to use it relatively quickly quickly. Check out this tutorial for more information - Make a Potato Stamp

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  • 03 of 16

    Stamp With Bubblewrap

    Make cute prints for backgrounds with bubble wrap. Kate Pullen

     Stamping with bubble wrap creates large blocks of pattern (depending, of course, on the size of bubble wrap you are stamping with). Pieces of bubble wrap are easy to find and are often used as packaging, making this an extremely low cost stamping project. More information about stamping with bubble wrap is available here in this tutorial - How to Stamp with Bubble Wrap.

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  • 04 of 16

    Make An Impression With Fingerprint Art

     Another really fun way to make an impression is to create fingerprint characters from your fingerprints. All you require to get started creating is an ink pad and a marker pen. Simply dab your finger into the ink pad and press your finger onto a piece of plain paper. When the ink is dry, take the marker pen and start doodling features onto the fingerprint to create your own funny characters.

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  • 05 of 16

    Make a Heart Stamp from a Potato

    Make a potato heart stamp. Kate Pullen

    If you don't have a heart rubber stamp available for your romantic themed project, or if you fancy making something with an image that is a little different to what you can find in the shop, how about taking a humble potato and a knife and whittling your own potato stamp. There are many benefits to making your own potato stamp. Not only is this an easy way to create a custom shape, it is also very low cost. All you need is a potato and knife!

    How to Make a Potato Heart Stamp

    You can either cut a potato shape from your potato freehand, or if you have a heart shaped cookie cutter to hand, you could press the cookie cutter into the top of the potato and use this as the base for your heart. You simply then need to cut away the pieces of potato that you don't want to show on your stamped image. You can stamp with your potato as you would a normal stamp. Here are some tips for making and using a potato heart stamp:

    • Use a flat blade knife to cut the potato. If you use a knife with a serrated edge then the surface of the potato will be patterned and will give an uneven print. While this may present some interesting design opportunities, it might not give the finished effect you require.
    • If you don't fancy cutting a heart into the potato by hand, but don't have a cookie cutter of the correct size and shape to hand, use a printed heart image and draw around this on the surface of the potato.
    • When you stamp with the potato, remember that the potato contains water and as such it will dilute your stamping ink or paint. The potato will also leave a starchy deposit on your ink pad therefore if you are going to stamp with regular stamping ink it is best to use an old ink pad that you won't be using for future heirloom stamping projects.
    • You can use paint to stamp a potato print with. Any thick paint will work well. I applied the paint to the surface of the potato with a paint brush to ensure that there was an even coverage. However, you could also pour some paint into a saucer and use this as an 'ink pad' for your stamping project.
    • Potato stamps are ideal for stamping on fabric. The shapes are typically bold with simple lines, making this ideal for decorating fabric. Use fabric paint or ink to create patterned fabric using potato stamps.
    • Add some sparkle to your project by mixing some glitter into your paint.

    Stamping with a potato is a great way to make a custom image that you can use to create handmade cards and scrapbooking pages. There is one drawback to making your own stamps from potatoes and that's the fact that the potato will dry out and can only be used within a relatively short time frame. This means that if you are planning on using your potato stamp to make a lot of items, for example invitations, you will need to ensure that you use the potato stamp in one sitting. You may need to cut a second stamp if you are planning on using the stamp in a project or series of projects that will stretch over more than a couple of hours.

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  • 06 of 16

    Stamp With Paper Tubes

    Stamp with paper tubes. Kate Pullen

    The cardboard tubes, which form the inner of paper rolls such as kitchen paper rolls and toilet rolls, make a great source of material for stamping. The cardboard rolls can be used to stamp a variety of shapes onto a page. While the basic shape of the cardboard roll is a circle, you can pinch and pull the cardboard tube to create different shapes. Teardrops and pear shapes are easy to create and can be used to create images such as flowers.

    How to Stamp with Cardboard Paper Tubes

    There is no right and wrong way to approach a stamping project - particularly when you are experimenting with different techniques and stamping material. When you try stamping with an unusual item such as a paper tube, simple variations can create a whole new look. However, which ever approach you take, there will be a few basic principles that remain the same:

    Materials Required

    The following materials are required when stamping with cardboard paper tubes:

    • Cardboard inner tubes from rolls of toilet paper or kitchen paper
    • Ink or paint to stamp with (I used a rubber stamping ink pad to make the images above, however paint poured into a saucer or plate would also work well)


    Simply dab the cardboard tube into the paint or onto the ink pad until the surface is covered and then press it on paper to create an impression on the surface of the paper. It make take a few tries to get an even image as the cardboard is porous and it may absorb the ink or paint before you can stamp with it.

    Tips for Stamping with Cardboard Tubes

    Here are some tips for stamping with cardboard tubes:

    • The top of the cardboard tube may not be completely even. Therefore you may stamp shapes that have gaps in the shape. If this is incompatible with your design then simply discard the tube and try another.
    • Squeeze one side of the tube to make a teardrop shape and try shaping the tube to create other types of image.
    • A great background image can be created by stamping shapes onto a piece of paper, allowing each of the shapes to overlap slightly. Then color the portions of the image using different shades or colors to create a fun and striking effect.
    • Try other types of tubes or shapes, for example polystyrene cups, and see what different effects can be achieved.
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  • 07 of 16

    Rubber Bands and a Brayer

     A brayer is a tool which is often used in rubber stamping projects to give an even coat of ink to a rubber stamp. However, it is also a great way to apply rubber stamping ink direct to paper. Impressions and decorative effects can be achieved by wrapping items such as rubber stamps or even pieces of fabric around the brayer. This tutorial has more information - Brayer Techniques

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  • 08 of 16

    Make Rose Shapes With a Radicchio

    Make rose shapes with a lettuce!. Martha Stewart

     Who'd have thought that such a pretty shape could be created from a lettuce! The radicchio lettuce can be used to create rose type shapes. This is fun to do and all sorts of different shapes can be achieved with leafy vegetables like this. Try celery and other vegetables to see what effects and patterns you can achieve. When stamping with vegetables, remember that they naturally produce water and therefore they can dilute the ink or paint you use. This needn't detract from the finished results and the variations it provides can give added interest.

    Learn how to make your own prints using a radicchio at the Martha Stewart website.

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  • 09 of 16

    Make Lace Prints

    Create lace prints with a rolling pin and lace. Helana and Ali

     Hop over to the Helana and Ali blog to learn how to make lace prints from a crochet lace doily and a rolling pin. What a brilliant idea! The best results will be achieved with a doily with plenty of texture, which is why a crochet doily is ideal.

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  • 10 of 16

    Make a Stripe Print

    How to make and use a grainsack stripe stamp. Tidbits

    Here's another way to make a print using a rolling pin. Here, on the Tidbits website, we learn how to make a cute striped print. While this project uses rubber stamp making sheet, I think a similar effect could be achieved using craft foam.

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  • 11 of 16

    Stamp With A Feather

    How to Stamp or Print With a Feather. Kate Pullen

     Really attractive shapes can be achieved by stamping with a feather. You'll find more details and the full tutorial here. We used a large feather from a chicken to create this print. Other feathers will give different effects. A peacock feather, for example, could make a very striking print.

    An alternative to using a feather would be using a leaf. The back of a leaf, where it is more textured, could give a great print. Just ink it in the same way we inked the feather to create an attractive print. 

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  • 12 of 16

    Scrunched Foil Stamps

    Scrunched foil stamps. Munchkins and Moms

    Scrunched foil gives a lovely organic shape when stamped as Munchkins and Moms demonstrates in this pretty project. This is a great way to make a lovely tree and you could draw some flowers or even create a small apple stamp using the eraser of a pencil to stamp some apples, depending on the season!

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  • 13 of 16

    Plasticine Stamps

    Make stamps from Plasticine. Filth Wizardry

    Here's a brilliant idea from Filth Wizardry - making stamps from Plasticine. This gives an almost infinite number of shapes and styles you can create to stamp with.

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  • 14 of 16

    Yarn Block Stamps

    Pictures made with yarn block stamps. An Everyday Story

     Yarn block stamps or yarn block printing is a project which can be enjoyed by adults and children alike. Hop over to An Everyday Story to learn how to make these great prints.

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  • 15 of 16

    Stamp with cardboard

    Stamping with cardboard. Pure and Noble

    Here's another fantastic low cost idea for creating great looking stamped images. Over on Pure and Noble we're shown how to use simple cardboard stamps to decorate t-shirts. These would also make great backgrounds for handmade cards and scrapbook pages.

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  • 16 of 16

    Carve Your Own Stamps

    If you have always wanted to carve your own stamps but been unsure how to start - this project is for you!. Kate Pullen

     While the projects on the previous pages have looked at using other materials such as vegetables and paper tubes to as stamps to make patterns on paper and fabric, you can always go one step further and create your own stamps using soft block or even erasers.

    This is a great way to produce your own stamps. Unlike some of the projects we've seen on the previous pages, carving your own stamps gives you a greater degree of control over your work. More intricate designs can be achieved using stamp carving techniques.

    Whatever method you choose, creating your own DIY stamps is a fun way to create your own unique designs. Make your mark with custom made stamps!