There are numerous ways to make stamps. There will be various, but inexpensive supplies used. For the most part, the stamp making is for adults, thought I’ve done all of the types described with children.
Type I: Eraser Stamps – Any soft erasers can be used. There are specialty erasers sold in art supply stores, but any size cheap eraser can be used. (Avoid the school type pink rectangular ones, because they are very hard.) Taking a pencil designs your simple shape on the eraser. I.e. a star. You scratch away the eraser surrounding the star with a butter knife, Exacto knife, etc., leaving the star intact. When you stamp it, only the star will appear. Or you can dig away at the star and leave the eraser surrounding the star. When you stamp the area left will be the stamp color and the star will appear sans color. Some erasers are crumbly, so simply put a towel or paper on your work space to avoid making a mess. You can get a fair amount of detail when working with eraser stamps.
Type II: Potato Stamps – I, personally love making potato stamps. If you are working with a large class, it is a cheap and fun way to make stamps. Buy a handful of potatoes. Wash them, and dry them thoroughly. Cut them in half. If you want small stamps, cut them in quarters. For tiny stamps, cut them into eighths. You will be cutting on the “meat” of the potato, not the skin area. When you hold your stamp, try to hold it on an area with the skin, because it will help you get a better grip. For cutting into a potato stamp, you can use an Exacto knife, but you can also use items like wood BBQ skewers or even a pencil to engrave your stamp. Suprisings, many artists use potatos for printmaking. Make your design with your pencil and follow the same steps for cutting it out that you see above. If your hands become moist from the interior, make sure you dry your hands, and pat dry your potato, to avoid slippage. Before placing your stamp on the ink, firmly pat it dry to avoid making your stamp appear watery.
Type III: Sponge Stamps – This is another great, cheap alternative for making stamps in large quantities. You can go to your local dollar store to buy large amount of sponges for only a dollar. You are looking for sponges that feel soft, yet firm. If the sponge is super mushy, your image may become blurry. Sponge stamps are best for very simple shapes like squares, circles, hearts, etc. Draw your design on with a Sharpie or some other permanent marker. Cut out your design with a sharp scissor.
There is one very important thing you must keep in mind when making stamps, out of any material: Any words you write will come out backwards. So if I was to write my name on an eraser stamp: LAURA, it will read ARUAL and the letters will appear backwards. A great way to help you write correctly on your stamps, is to have a little mirror handy to make sure your lettering is going to appear correctly.
Over the years, stamps have become very expensive. Go by your local craft supply store, and check out their stamp department. Most stamps that are a decent size will run you between $10 and $24 dollars. That is far to expensive for my tastes. If you search for “unmounted” stamps via Google, or on Ebay, you will find amazing stamps for very little money. An “unmounted” stamp is a stamp that is only the design on rubber. Some people have a hard time getting used to not having the rubber attached to wood. But, keep in mind, you can easily mount your own stamp on scrap wood, cardboard, etc.
I personally prefer to leave them unmounted. That way I can feel what I’m doing. And, as long as you are stamping on a firm surface, you will not get a blurry image. Happy stamping.