For my first ever tutorial, I want to teach you how to reuse old champagne corks to make elegant, unique handles for home-made stamps.
Materials You’ll Need:
Stamp rubber for carving
A set of stamp chisels
(I realize I left a few things out of my picture. Better luck next time.)
Use a sharp knife to slice off the top end of the cork. Cork cuts like nobody’s business, but it helps to use a gentle sawing motion to get a quick, clean cut.
Carefully cut your new surface until it is angled correctly and is relatively flat. You’ll want the stamp to lay flush against it later for gluing!
Place the cork over your stamp rubber and trace around its perimeter.
Select the straight blade tip or, if you don’t have one, the knife from earlier will work alright.
Cut in only a few centimeters along the line you’ve traced. And it doesn’t matter if the cut is sloppy. Any imperfections can be shaved off later!
Now gently peel the circle away from the rest of the rubber. This will create a curved edge which creates a smaller circle on the bottom of the stamp. I love the effect that this has because it gives it a rough, rustic look so you don’t have to spend all of your time trying to make it smooth and even. 😉
Here’s what it should look like when you’ve got it all punched out!
You’ll probably have some seriously messed up looking edges at this point so take that blade tool and carefully shave this problem areas down. Remember to continue the angle that you created with the torn rubber into the areas you’re carving.
Here is an idea of what the bottom of your stamp should look like after pruning the edges.
And here’s that the profile should look like! Not the combination of slice marks and torn patches intermingling to make a cool, rough look. The edges are also slightly curved though this picture doesn’t seem to show it as much as I remember.
Time to doodle! Sketch your stamp design onto the rubber with a pencil. If you mess up, just erase it and start again! If you’re planning to use text on your stamp PLEASE keep in mind that you’ll have to write it backwards so that it will stamp the correct direction later on. I learned that one the hard way.
Swap out your straight blade for a fine chisel for the detail cutting.
Do a quick trace of your design with this chisel hugging close to your lines without cutting into them.
Here’s my outline finished. You’ll notice as you carve, especially with the tiny chisel, a lot of rubber dust will collect in the grooves. That’s where the paintbrush comes in handy! I like to brush out my stamp every now and then while I’m working to make sure I’m seeing everything clearly and I haven’t missed something important.
Now it’s time for the big guns. Choose a chisel with a broad semi-flat blade for carving out the body of the stamp.
Slice away! Be careful of your design as you’re carving around it and make sure you carve deep enough to allow the design to stand out on its own when stamping. I personally like the look of grooves as opposed to a perfectly smooth stamp body, but you can play with this design element as you like.
Dip the cork into Mod Podge and smooth the glue over the entire surface. I find that it’s easiest to shake the Mod Podge and then stamp the cork directly into the glue in the lid.
Now slap on that stamp! You’ll notice that it’s probably not a perfect fit, but never you fear; we’ll be fixing that after the glue dries. Also make sure to remove any excess Mod Podge with a paper towel to keep your stamp looking neat.
Wrap a rubber band securely around the cork and stamp and align them to your happiness. You want to make sure that the rubber band is holding them tightly together because this will result in a sturdier bond with the Mod Podge.
Once the glue has dried (I left mine overnight just to be careful) remove the rubber band and pop that flat blade back into your chisel handle. This is my favorite part. Carefully cut back and stamp material that hangs over the line of the cork. This is your chance to fix any lumps or mistakes and give your stamp a smooth, seamless look.
And that’s it! You’re done! Now take that pad of ink and get stamping! You may find that there are some parts of the stamp that show up even though you’ve carved them back, so be prepared to add some finishing touches to your stamp once you’ve applied the ink.
I hope you enjoyed my first ever tutorial and that it wasn’t too wordy or picture heavy! I had a lot of fun working on it so expect to see more in the future!