A TECHNIQUE DRIVEN Blog dedicated to mastery of surface design techniques. First we dye, overdye, paint, stitch, resist, tie, fold, silk screen, stamp, thermofax, batik, bejewel, stretch, shrink, sprinkle, Smooch, fuse, slice, dice, AND then we set it on fire using a variety of heat tools.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Originality-Making Custom Stamps

Originality-Make original art-by Deborah Babin

In this day and age access to the internet offers unlimited resources for our inspiration; however, this can unfortunately increase our temptation to copy. Pinterest is an excellent resource and some people think what they see there is fair game. Copying is a violation that goes unnoticed by many. I too like to search for inspiration on Pinterest and I stress the word INSPIRATION (only) for I only aim to make original art.

This month my posts will focus on: Simple ways to elevate and/or sustain the art you make to original status with simple and economical methods.

Topics: Making your own stamps, stencils, painted sheer layers and embellishing.

Always ask yourself: How Can I Strive to Make Original Art?

It is fine to use an inspirational references fairly literally to begin with. This is acceptable for learning and experimenting. During this phase (hopefully) you will begin to see that it is actually impossible to truly copy another persons work. Which is a good thing! I encourage you to see as this (as it is gradually) revealed to you AND to embrace what you see. Notice, what is happening that you can embrace rather than reject and move into a new direction. This is where we have two choices...1. become discouraged because the realization makes us feel inadequate or 2. become motivated to pursue and discover our underlying abilities.

Can you relate to this experience?

I love discoveries. I love a challenge. That is where I learn the most and find the most satisfaction.


This week the topic is STAMPS-How to make and use them for originality

Yes, there isn't much excitement about stamps in general. There are zillions of stamps manufactured...and, they are expensive! Let's refer to them as: artful impressions instead. I like to make my own stamps, save money and us them to develop original qualities for my art.

I like to draw all sorts of things. Often times I draw freely without intention.

I enjoy drawing continuous line drawings because I relate to these readily as they can translate into quilting motifs. And, drawing continuously allows my thoughts to flow.

Do you like to draw or doodle? 

Here is an example of my doodling. The vertical lines with linked circles were my favorite so I decided to make a stamp as well as a stencil from it.

Linked Circles Stamp above, inked with black ink on paper below.
Speed Ball Carving Tool

This stamp was carved from a product called: Easy Carve available from Speed Ball. It is like an eraser that comes in various sizes and carves like hot knife in butter; use the Speed Ball carving set to carve this product. 

Economical Alternatives:
I get great satisfaction from resourcing found objects. 

Stamps with line and edge designs made from pieces of Styrofoam meat trays.
The two top stamps produce fine lines from the edges. These have been cut off the sides of the Styrofoam tray where the edge curves at bit with two to three layers glued together. The bottom stamp is one layer with dots that were made by melting the Styrofoam with a stencil cutter.

Top: Positive Bottom: Negative

Sticky back foam sheets-These are found in the craft stores in the kid stuff. They are thin foam sheets with a sticky back that is covered with paper. Simply draw a design with a ball point pen, cut it out, peel off the backing paper and stick it onto a support; in this case I used Styrofoam. I cut it out with an X-acto knife. You will end up with two stamps: Positive and Negative

Styrofoam meat tray has multiple uses.
Acrylic paint is applied with a foam roller.

Keyhole stamps: Left to right:
Carved impression, carved stamp
Foam Stamp impression, Foam Stamp

Holder: Place a piece of making tape doubled over.

More about making and using stamps will follow this week.

The content of my posts here are excerpts from my online course offered on the Academy of Quilting. My course: Mixing Up Media This course is scheduled for: April 1, 2016

Please visit my website: www.deborahbabin.com


  1. Looking forward to your posts this week, Debbie! I am working to get back into stamping, and especially want to use found objects either for the impression, or to recycle. I'm heading over to your website to check it out, along with your course description.
    BTW, I totally agree with you about original art, vs copied art. I constantly find inspiration from others working in the mediums I use, but try really hard to use them as inspiration to create my own art, rather than a pattern I can replicate.

  2. So glad to meet you. I relate and everytime I succumb to buying a stamp or stencil I cringe because I know I'm not being true to my heart's desire. It is gonna be a good month!!! thanks

  3. I love your opening paragraph. In a nut shell I agree with the let it defeat you or embrace it and learn something from it.

    I agree with the idea of original art but also feel that sometimes I wish we had more of the apprentice idea in the arts. Great masters and artisans had pupils who studied under them and became great artists in there own right.

    I am not comparing myself to a great artisan... By no means. But to learn you need to take in knowledge, work with it and then make it your own. Even using commercial stamps or stencils, pictures for collage, commercial fabric the combination of materials and the way you use them makes it your own.

    I think that everything you see, read, and class you take adds to your interpretation of what you make. Interesting balance of what makes ones art their own.

    Thanks for the reminder of creating simple foam stamps etc to add to your work. It is so fun to doodle and then figure out how to use it.

    Looking forward to the month and checking your site.


  4. Thank you everyone for the positive responses. Yes, the simple tools we can come up with are (for me) the most pure. It isn't about the constant search...more products, more books, more fabric (ugh!)...more everything!
    It is about what you make.
    I will be writing more about this in my future posts.


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