Next to Christmas, Valentine’s Day is one of my favorite holidays. There’s just something about dedicating an entire day to love that appeals to the romantic in me. That’s not to say that I think Valentine’s Day should be reserved only for lovers. I like to make it a celebration of love for my friends and for myself.
One of my Valentine’s traditions is to make Valentine’s Day cards and give them to my friends, just like when I was in elementary school. Except now, instead of dropping them into specially decorated paper bags at their desks, I mail them across the country, and even abroad! I’ve been trying to get back in touch with my artistic and creative side, so I decided to make a block stamp design for my Valentine’s Day cards.
I had never made a block stamp before, but I was inspired by my sister Helen’s previous projects like her Cactus Holiday Cards last year, and her Valentine’s Day Cards in 2014. This year, I decided to be a little cheesy and make “Bee Mine” Valentines. Check out my step-by-step process below if you’d like to make some of your own!
Rubber block (for easier carving)
Water-soluble printing paint
I started out by sketching out my design on the rubber block, and then going back and tracing out my final design with a black marker. To make things easier for myself, I filled in the areas that I wanted to remain raised in black, and left the areas (the negative space) in white. Also, if you are adding words to your design like I did, remember to mirror the letters!
Then I started carving.
It was my first time making a rubber stamp, so I wasn’t completely sure where to start.I dove right in and started carving any space that was meant to be negative space. I realized too late that my method made it really difficult to carve out the smaller details next to large, already empty spaces. My linoleum carver had nothing to smoothly glide against.
After a while, I managed to clear out all of the negative space on my stamps (patience is key!), and could finally start stamping out my design onto my cards!
I set up my painting station in my kitchen, because the counter provided an even, flat surface for my stamp. I lay down a piece of cling wrap for my paint, and made sure to roll out my rubber brayer in the paint until I got an even coat. Then I rolled out the brayer over my stamp design until it was coated evenly in paint.
I have to admit that my hand/eye coordination could be better, and not every single stamp was perfectly centered on each card. But that only adds charm! I stamped about 10 more cards than I needed, so that I had the option to only send out the best ones! My advice for this step would be to find a balance between how much paint and pressure (when pressing the stamp down on the paper) is needed to get all the details in your stamp to show up, but not smear paint everywhere. Personally, I found that a thin, almost tacky, coat of paint, and gentle pressure worked the best!
I am pretty pleased with how my Valentine’s stamp came out on paper! I experimented using light tangerine, pink, red, baby blue, white, and grey card stock to vary. I liked this project so much, it may be the start of a new Valentine’s Day card tradition!
- I highly recommend water-soluble paints, because it will make clean up a breeze