Hand Carved Stamp // Bloody Success

First of all, let’s all have a moment of celebration because this is my

100th Blog Post

Hooray!

Secondly, last night I embarked on something that’s been an ambition of mine for a while. My dear friend, Natalie, is getting married next summer and has asked me to do all of her wedding collateral. She’s allowing me great creative freedom and her tastes align so well with mine– it’s going to come out marvelously. Even more marvelously than this first component, let’s hope.

We decided it would be pretty neat to have a stamp. Her last name to be is French, so we thought an elaborate monogramish F to ‘seal’ the envelopes and accent the many pieces she’ll have would be lovely. With a little bit of Jessica Hische inspiration, I designed an F to work from.

F designFrom here, I printed it out and attempted to transfer the ink with acetone nail polish remover onto a block I’d bought from Blick ages ago. With the assistance of this awkward man’s video, I had enough of an outline to start carving.

Up until this point, things were going pretty smoothly. Tom Hanks’ voice was soothing me as I carved, watching Radio Flyer. The rubber took a while to get used to and the lines I’d drawn suddenly seemed very, very thin. I started to get agitated. I started planning this very blog post in my mind, complete with my stream of consciousness journey… This isn’t so bad oh my God this is a pain in the ass I wonder if Natalie knows that she now owes me her life, oh hey progress this is starting to look pretty good hey this is going to be awesome I am awesome SHOOT! I cut off that petal I need the super glue where is it where is it….

So the innards finally are carved out, and it is time to eliminate the extra rubber outside of the stamp zone. This is where there is a key change; this is where things get ugly. Large pieces of rubber need to be stripped away, and so I’m being a little liberal with my x-acto blade. Big slices are being eliminated, and I am so close to getting to try this thing out! To see what it looks like with ink! These are the things in my head while I was neglecting to follow the “always cut away from you” rule of thumb.

Wound

Rule of Thumb. The thumb, my thumb, will never forget this rule because during one especially large swipe, the rubber gave way and hurled the blade toward my left hand. Before I knew what happened, there was metal-bone contact and blood was SQUIRTING! I shrieked, and Justin came racing downstairs, no doubt thinking I was being raped or someone was looking in my window or any number of scary things. I squeezed the sides of my finger to stop the bleeding, my right hand completely soaked in red. I was laughing and crying and kneeling on the floor trying not to faint while Justin sopped up my desk blood.

“I’m going to throw up!!” “If you throw up, I’m going to need to leave.” “I need to call my dad. I just want my daddy. I have to call my dad.” “Dad! ….. Hah… ah blubber blubber… indecipherable hiccups and sounds” “Alex, have you been drinking?”

Anyway. It was high drama. I like to think I’m pretty cool under pressure but that hypothesis was profoundly disproved late last night. The stamp ended up looking pretty killer. I coated the rubber with a clear spray-on coating and I am pretty proud of how it turned out. This is an experience I have learned from and I’d happily embark on another stamp making endeavor… next time with a fish cleaning glove, though.

Stamp Results

Somewhat ironically, that gauze was part of a graduation gift given to me by Natalie’s mother almost 6 years ago. Her daughter is going to have an emotional distress charge on her invoice. ;)

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