We hope you’ve had time to enjoy our series of Family Crafting Month projects. Abby Glassenberg is here today to show you how to carve rubber stamps! You probably know Abby from her work at While She Naps; Abby shared her Baby Butterfly Pattern here this spring and she also has a new line of Abby Glassenberg Designs PDF Patterns in the shop.

Abby Glassenberg is a soft toy pattern designer, craft book author and sewing teacher living in Wellesley, Massachusetts. She is the author of The Artful Bird: Feathered Friends to Make and Sew and has a new book about soft toy design coming out in May. Abby loves to dream up new stuffed animals to sew and has a sketchbook “full of too many ideas.” She enjoys teaching other people to design their own sewing patterns and writing about running a handmade business. Abby is the mother of three girls, ages 8, 6, and 2, and you can bet she is doing something crafty with them any day of the week.

You can learn more about Abby’s work on her While She Naps blog. Abby’s softie patterns include step-by-step photos and clear instructions showing you how to sew creative, fun toys for babies, children and anyone who is a child at heart. You can purchase the PDF patterns here at Sew,Mama,Sew! and in Abby’s Etsy shop.

Enjoy today’s project, and be sure to comment on any giveaway posts in the Family Crafting Month series. (We’ll select winners this weekend!)

When I craft with my kids I like to use high quality materials because I find that they are easier to work with and produce much better results than the cheaper products that are made for kids. And I like to choose projects that will produce real, useful results. Carving rubber stamps is a project that meets both of these requirements. It’s fun and relatively easy to do, and kids are really excited to see that it’s possible to carve your own custom stamp that you can use in all kinds of creative ways.

My six-year-old daughter was very excited to get started with this project. We used the new book by Geninne Zlatkis, Making an Impression, as a guide for learning the right techniques and to get some inspiration for our designs.

When I was a child I remember carving linoleum in art class and gouging my fingers with the carving nib. To carve stamps we use the same nibs, but the rubber material is so soft and easy to carve that the risk of hurting yourself is very slim. Both my six and eight-year-olds carved several stamps using the carving tool completely independently, had an easy time with it and were injury free.

To carve stamps you’ll need:

  • Stamp carving block (like this). We bought a 4” x 4” block, carved several stamps from it and still have some leftover. You could also carve a white eraser.
  • Linoleum cutter (like this)
  • Craft knife
  • Pencil
  • Tracing paper
  • Ink pad
  • Gift tags, blank stationary, or craft paper for stamping

Carving the stamps:

1. Draw some designs on scrap paper.

2. Use tracing paper to trace over your chosen design.

3. Flip the tracing paper pencil side down onto your block and rub it to transfer the pencil lines.

4. Use a craft knife to cut roughly around your design.

5. Put a #1 nib into your linoleum cutter and use it like a pencil to trace around your pencil lines. Hold the nib at a 45 degree angle, using it like a little shovel. (Kids often begin by digging too deeply with the nib so you may want to help them get the right depth at first.)

6. Put in a #5 nib and carve out the rubber that is outside of the design.

7. Do a practice run by inking and stamping your stamp on scrap paper. Go back and carve away any areas that didn’t get fully carved the first time. Add details with the #1 nib if desired.

8. Ink your stamp and make some gift tags or stamp it in a pattern on a big sheet of craft paper to make wrapping paper. Try stamping some blank stationary, too!

Here’s the finished project in use as a gift tag!