This site has limited support for your browser. We recommend switching to Edge, Chrome, Safari, or Firefox.

Surface Design with Mark Making and Handmade Stamps

Our project bags and notebooks feature our own surface design work. I've been experimenting with mark making using regular tools like paintbrushes and pens, printing some designs with handmade stamps, and dyeing folded paper, too.
I thought I'd share a few of the results and give you some tips if you want to create your own patterns.

trio of marks

Note: Affiliate links are included below, which means should you purchase something, we get a small payment for link sharing. It does not affect your price (you pay the same). 

Want to make some marks of your own? One way you can is by creating your own handmade stamps.


You can buy a bag of blocks from the link above if you'd like, which would work great -- but we bought a large bag of used children's toy blocks from a local Goodwill for just a few dollars. We also raided our craft room for things to attach to them so we could create interesting textures inexpensively.

block texture overview

Household items for creating your own texture stamps: 

  • Plastic netting: We cut up one of those plastic netting bags that lemons come in at the grocery store, and wrapped it around a block (we used tape on the wrong side to secure it). It made for a nice modern print. 
  • Foam stickers: We re-purposed some glitter foam stickers by cutting stars and circles into triangles and rectangles and adhering them onto our toy blocks.
  • Yarn, string, rubber bands: We used a bit of our yarn stash and tied it around some blocks. You can also wrap some rubber bands of different widths around blocks.
    • Tip: When you tie yarn or string around a block, use Mod Podge on the surface of the fiber so that when you print with it, the paint/ink will work better (and not just soak into the yarn and get blotchy). It will dry in about 30 minutes.

We also used several items as stamps themselves, such as antique thread spools collected from estate sales, wine corks, un-sharpened pencil tips and erasers. If you want to get fancy, you can carve your own stamps with rubber blocks and lino cutters (check out this Speedball Starter kit if you want to try it). 

Thread spool stamping

Stamping ink, block printing ink and black acrylic paint all worked well in creating sheets of patterns for future product applications (project bags, notion trays, fat quarter fabric, journals and more are coming soon), but there are lots of other things you can do with your stamps. 

Ways to use your handmade stamps: 

  • Use on cardstock to create backgrounds for handmade cards
  • Use them for some of your art journal pages 
  • Use them with fabric paint or screen printing ink on cotton canvas for sewing projects 

For step-by-step instructions, here's a round-up of stamp-making tutorials from around the web. 

stamp diy round up

From Top Left

Want to make some marks without stamps? Here are a couple of videos that are inspirational.

Pattern-Making with artist Ashley Goldberg

Intuitive Mark Making with artist Flora Bowley

We always have new items in the pipeline, so check in on us now and then. Want to know all the things we're up to as they happen? Sign up for our email newsletter and save 15% off your next order (scroll to the bottom of this page and submit your email in the sign-up form). 



Leave a comment


Congratulations! Your order qualifies for free shipping You are $ 35.00 USD away from free shipping in the USA.
No more products available for purchase