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By Jeromina Juan
Ever wonder about the possibilities of designing your own stamps without having to carve anything? There is a simple way! You’ll need one ordinary household object – silicone caulking. Yes, the one you use on your bathtub, sinks, and windows!
With no carving to do at all, this task cannot be simpler. And the result? Clear stamps just like ones you buy at the craft stores, but made in any design and pattern you want, in any size. Here, I made some stamps in the style of vintage botanical designs, for summer.
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Materials

1/8″-thick acrylic plexiglass; can be found at hardware stores
X-Acto knife
Metal ruler
Silicone rubber caulking (clear)
; can be found at hardware stores
Water-based paint
Brayer

Note: You can cut plexiglass to size by scoring a straight line several times using an X-Acto knife and metal ruler, and then placing the plexiglass on a table with the score line over the edge and snapping it in one quick motion.

Directions

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Step 1: Sketch your designs on paper. These botanical designs range between 4″-6″ wide. The leaves are 2″-3″. But your designs can be any size you like.
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Step 2: Hold the caulk tube vertical and tap it against a flat surface 8-10 times to remove any air bubbles. Cut the tip of the tube with scissors. I usually cut about 1/8″ away. Remember, the size of the hole on the tip of the tube will be the thickness of your lines, so cut cautiously! You can always cut a little more off, but once the tube is cut, you can’t make the opening smaller again.
Place your design under a piece of plexiglass and trace over it with the caulk, making sure you are evenly squeezing the tube and all drawn lines are touching the plexiglass. The harder you squeeze the tube, the thicker your lines will be. In some designs, this might be a desirable effect. You might want to practice on some scrap paper or plexiglass before you start on your stamp.
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Step 3: Let the caulking cure for 24 hours, and then your stamp is ready.
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Step 4: On a sheet of plexiglass, squeeze a dollop of paint. To create an ombre print, you will need to use two paint colors at the same time. Load the brayer with paint as you roll.
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Step 5: Using your brayer, apply the paint on the stamp. You will need to make three to four passes to ensure all lines are covered.
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Step 6: Carefully press the stamp on your desired surface.
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Step 7: If your design has other components, like this one does, repeat Step 4 to add them to your print. In this case, I’ll add some leaves to my flower.
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Step 8: Create a beautiful botanical pattern! Clean your stamps immediately after use by wiping the surface with a dampened paper towel and any small spaces with a dampened cotton swab. Then, wash gently under running water with a little bit of soap.
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Here are several samples of homemade botanical stamps: lilac, peony, and dahlia, each having two leaves (plus a stem for the lilac).
Stamp your own designs and patterns on paper to create beautiful stationery. Or on fabric to make your own floral-print clothes, table cloths, and placemats. Or accent a narrow wall in your home with your own stamped designs. Of course, stamps can also be anything other than floral. Enjoy – the list is endless!


About the Author:
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Jeromina Juan is the author of the blog Paper, Plate, and Plane, where she shares a slew of out-of-the-box crafting and entertaining ideas, and recollects her few-and-far-between globe-trotting experiences.

DG


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Comments

  1. Jenny Chang says:

    that’s a great idea! I’m going to try these.

  2. Rhianna Lederman says:

    I love that it’s easy and you can trace your own design! How clever!

  3. Crafty Saffy says:

    Just curious about how well these hold up to time & use… how long do they last? Does the silicone tear off of the plexiglass during use? What about storing them- do you need to seal them in bags, or with something between layers?
    I think this is a brilliant idea, and can’t wait to try it! Thanks for sharing!

    1. sunemoonsong says:

      i like the idea of doing this on plexi glass, or maybe even real glass. This way you could reuse the plexi. Great idea

  4. Jenn says:

    I am in the process of redesigning my art studio and wanted the look of beautiful screen print graphics on throw pillows for the studio couch…now I’ll make my own EXACTLY how I pictured them; thank you!

  5. Kimberly Chapman says:

    Awesome, if you use food-safe kitchen caulk (like Mike McCarey does for his modelling-chocolate impression mats), you could totally use these on cakes.

  6. Jeromina says:

    Hi!
    Glad so many of you like this craft project. To answer your questions:
    -As to how long they last, I have used mine to create several sheets of stationery and they are still in tact. The same caulking used in the bathroom withstands time and a lot of exposure to water and direct scrubbing, so I do hope these stamps will endure the same.
    -In order to ensure the silicone does not tear off the plexiglass, each and every single line of silicone must be touching the plexiglass so it cures directly on the plexiglass. Any segments not touching the plexiglass will lift off.
    -The stamps do not need any special storage. Once the silicone rubber is cured, it is there for good since the plexiglass is non-porous.
    Hope this helps answer your questions. Enjoy creating your stamps! :D
    -Jeromina

  7. Jennifer Ferrell says:

    Genius! I just may have to try it this weekend! Thanks for sharing such this awesome idea!
    Kidest regards,
    Jennifer Ferrell

  8. Natalie says:

    Oh my gosh how SUPER DUPER awesome!!!!! Thanks for sharing!

  9. Heddy says:

    Brilliant!!!! Thanks for sharing, you ROCK!!!

  10. annie says:

    This is amazing! I can’t wait to try it!
    ~a

  11. Sam Stoic says:

    This is so exciting. I can’t to try it out myself. I like using larger images but the stamps are so expensive and all the same. This will give me the size and creativity I am looking for.grx

  12. annie says:

    Genius. I LOVE THIS!!!

  13. Tabitha says:

    This is such a cool idea! Thanks so much for sharing it. I definitely want to try it out. :-)

  14. Marge says:

    Thanks for this idea I have seen other crafters trying to make their own stamped images most of them are so many steps and to time consuming Thanks Marge

  15. Molly Moran says:

    This is really cool. I’m wondering how you keep the printing surface even. I mean, this is an additive process. When you carve stamps, you subtract material, and you know that what you leave it place will all be on the same plane if you carve from a block with a level surface.
    How do you keep some of the silicone from sitting higher on the plexiglass than the rest of it? Or do you just press really hard when making the print to account for any slight differences in height?

  16. Megan says:

    Love this idea! I own a letterpress and I’m wondering if it would be possible to create these on a thin, adhesive-backed plate to use in the letterpress? (Similar to a photopolymer plate.)
    Not sure it would create the exact impression desired but would still be a great, quick way to do handmade prints! What do you think? Thanks

  17. Jeromina says:

    Thanks for all the comments, everyone!
    To answer Molly’s question — thanks for bringing up this fantastic question! Yes, that’s true, because it is an additive process, the surface will not be perfectly even. A steady squeezing of the tube is definitely required to keep the caulk on the same plane as much as possible. There may be some peaks that form when lifting the caulking (such as to start new lines). Those peaks can be flattened out using something like a stir stick or popsicle stick and the like, before the caulking cures. And yes, it does help to press the stamp firmly during use. Hope that helps!
    To answer Megan’s question — what a great experiment that would be to try it on letterpress. I am not sure how well the stamps would withstand such heavy use, but I would love to hear about it if you try it out. I wish I had a letterpress machine. I’m definitely curious myself to see how it works. Thanks for bringing up this possibility!
    -Jeromina

  18. Carol says:

    Can’t believe this! What a great idea, thanks for sharing.

  19. lola says:

    Woooooooooooooooooooooow ! This is a great idea . I love love love it .

  20. deborah says:

    You can make the opening smaller if you cut it too large. Just take a small piece of cello tape and wrap it in a cone shape around the tip of the tube. Presto with a little adjustment, lines as thin or thick as you wish.

  21. Lauren says:

    That’s already a thing. It’s called print making.

  22. Vjola says:

    Your idea and art has given me a strong push in my path of studying different stamping ways. You teared some darkness I have had, giving me so more inspiration to continue in the difficult exploration I’m making.Your mind is open and fruitful. A lot of gratitudine.

  23. Vjola says:

    Your idea and art has given me a strong push in my path of studying different stamping ways. You teared some darkness I have had, giving me so more inspiration to continue in the difficult exploration I’m making.Your mind is open and fruitful. A lot of gratitudine.

  24. lyncooper@rocketmail.com says:

    what would you suggest for adding some sort of a handle to push down the stamp. I work with kids with special needs, and they would only be able to push the stamp down with the use of something to hold onto

    1. Beverly says:

      What if you super glued a knob or handle to the back of the plexiglass? They would not store as neatly, but maybe this will help your kids.

  25. Lani says:

    I had some frustrations with the caulk not coming out evenly and being too stiff (and the tube puncturing!). Any thoughts of using a hot glue gun or maybe even elmer’s glue / wood glue?

  26. ascrapoftime says:

    This is such a great idea! I can’t wait to play around with it! I featured you on my blog this morning at http://ascrapoftime.blogspot.com

  27. CSC says:

    What a clever technique! I have most of the materials already and can’t wait to give it a go. Thanks so much for sharing!

  28. Carolyn says:

    I tried this and worked until i was ready to test the stamps. Some areas were a little bit higher than others and when I stamped them, only part of the design stamped. Any ideas on how to fix this?

  29. Thank you ! This seems so simple ! Great idea ! I sure will try it some day !