Relief Carving On Rubber Stamps

The process of relief carving on rubber stamps involves a lot of creativity, a great degree of skill and a decent set of tools to create that final stamp in the shape and form you desire. This is one of the most interesting and fun things you can do with your hands because of the sheer range of designs that you can come up with or choose, and carve out on your rubber die. Putting the rubber die on your cushion and mount is the easy bit - the fun part is when you need to start carving out your design and this is a guide that will help you walk through that process, step-by-step, ensuring that you don't make a mistake or miss out anything along the way.

Gathering Tools for Relief Carving on Rubber Stamps

The first thing you need is the right kind of tools to carve out your designs. Relief carving on rubber stamps is slightly different from relief carving on, say, wood. Wood requires harder and more durable tools that need to be coaxed along the way to making the required cuts. In terms of rubber, the thing is slightly different - rubber is softer and even though the rubber die used here does retain its shape, cutting through it is always much simpler a task than cutting through or carving on wood.

That said, getting the right kind of design, with utmost precision, is still quite difficult unless you get a hang of using your tools in the best possible way. That often means trying out different tools until you find the ones you are comfortable with. To begin with, you can get some things like an X-acto knife. This is a carving knife that resembles a scalpel, and comes with nibs of different sizes. It doesn't slip or slide in your hands, and that stability leads to a better, sharper, design. The lower numbers, of nibs, are used in cutting out finer details while the higher numbers or thicker blades are used for broader carvings or carving out bigger chunks of the rubber die.

The next thing you need is tracing paper, which will be the key element in transferring the design onto the rubber die. The rest depends on how you are planning to pick your design. If you are drawing the design on your own, a simple pencil will do the job, but if you are taking a printout of a design or an image, then you can simply print it out and trace out it onto the transfer paper or print it out directly onto the transfer paper, if that is possible.

Choosing and transferring Images for Relief Carving on Rubber Stamps

There are two basic ways to select what design you want on your rubber stamps and, once again, there are two basic ways to put that design onto the rubber die that you will carve out later. For the design, you can pick something out of images that you might find on your computer and print it out onto the transfer paper. The other method is to draw it directly onto the transfer paper but the quality of this design will depend entirely on your skills as a sketch-artist. Effectively, what you are looking for is a design that is a line-drawing or an outline of the element you want on your rubber stamp. This makes relief carving on rubber stamps much easier.

The design needs to be printed or drawn onto the transfer paper in the mirror-image format. This, when transferred onto the rubber die, will create the right-side-up image for you to ink-&-stamp with. The image on the die has to be a mirror image for the impression to come out facing the right direction. Once you have the design on in the right, mirror-image, way, you are ready to start relief carving on rubber stamps.

The Process of Relief Carving on Rubber Stamps

This is when you take your X-acto knife and start carving out around the lines. Unlike regular carving where you start cutting on the lines, relief carving on rubber stamps requires you to carve around the outside of your lines. Basically, your lines need to end up being the highest points on your rubber die and that is what will end up being the impression your stamp makes on the paper. When carving this out, make sure you are careful about sticking to your design because this is where you can make or break your stamp.

Make sure that you carve out everything to the same depth because, once again, improper depth on all sides will make it very hard for you to get the right kind of impression when you use your rubber stamp. The basic fact is, if you are careful with the process of relief carving on rubber stamps, and get a hang of the kind of detail you need to put into your work, practice will make you the master carver that you want to be and ensure that every time you start relief carving on rubber stamps, you churn out masterpieces.

 

 

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