Rubber Stamping Relief Work

For a lot of people, the art of rubber stamping relief work is the most tedious aspect of the job. Considering that this is the part that can make or break your rubber stamp, it is rightfully the most vital aspect as well. You can stick the rubber die wrongly onto the cushioning or wrongly attach the handle onto the stamp's wooden mount and still manage to fix things. However, make a wrong cut on your rubber die design and you will either have to change the entire design or start all over again, from scratch.

Here are the basic steps involved in doing rubber stamp relief work in your workshop and how you can go about getting your own customized process in place to allow creativity to flow through. Remember, you might have the best designs in the world but if you don't know how to do rubber stamping relief work, you won't get them out on the rubber stamps.

a. The first step is to gather all your materials and a lot of companies have started producing rubber material that can be used on rubber stamps as dies. Alternately, you can get old erasers and start using them before you go out and spend some money on new material - especially if you are just practicing or learning the skill

b. The tools come next and the best thing to have with you is the Exacto knife. This knife works perfectly on all kinds of rubber dies and if you want something to make some special shapes or clean out larger areas on your rubber die, a v-gouge and a u-gouge are the best tools to have in your bag. Hobby knives also do well while things like nails or screws can be used to get special textures or shapes that you wouldn't, otherwise find tools for. You will also need a soft pencil, some hard pencils and tracing paper along with tape to hold things in place. Acrylic mount blocks can be used to print on thin or large rubber dies and are available easily in art-supply stores and more. An old spoon, wooden, maybe to rub the design onto the rubber die

c. The next thing is to choose the image that you are going to place on your stamp. This can be something you make on your own or something that you find over the Internet and are looking to use on your own stamp. This is also the most ethical way of stamp-making where you do not use someone else's design to make stamps. All you need to make sure is that the design you choose matches the skill level you have to carve it out on rubber

d. To transfer the design onto the rubber die, you need to place the tracing paper over the design you want to make and draw it out on the tracing paper. Alternately, you can directly draw on the tracing paper itself - in each case, using the soft pencil to make the design. Once you have the design, place the transfer paper onto the rubber die and re-trace your design with a hard pencil, this time. If you have a complicated design, you might want to make things easier for yourself by simply using the wooden spoon and rubbing the design with the back of the spoon. The image should appear on the rubber die as the mirror image of what you want, in the end, when you use the stamp on paper

e. The way to understand rubber stamping relief work is that you need to carve away every single part of the rubber die that has nothing printed on it. In the beginning, when making a cut on the edge of the printed part, make an inclined cut away from the printed part of the design. This is the right way to cut the design as the design-parts are the highest points of your rubber die while the rubber, under it, is also the most you can have without spoiling the design. This way, your relief-work is the most stable it can be and lasts the longest despite wear and tear

This is, basically, how you carry out rubber stamping relief work in this wonderful hobby. After you have done this part, what remains is the mounting of the rubber die. If you have a small and thick rubber die, you might not even need to mount it. In other cases, you can find a stiff backing or make one on your own and glue the rubber stamp in place. This, you will see, is the easy bit - what you need to pay attention to is rubber stamping relief work.

Once you get into the habit of carving out rubber dies and getting the right shape in the way & form you desire, you will quickly realise that there isn't anything more interesting and exciting as finding the next design to carry out more rubber stamping relief work for your projects.

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