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Surface Design with Mark Making and Handmade Stamps

You know when you have a feeling in your bones about something? Maybe you're scared to say it out loud, but you...have a good vibe? That's where I'm at regarding some new products we're planning for 2019. I think it's gonna be really good, but we'll just have to wait and see. Hint: Bags. Totes, pouches, etc.

Part of what we are doing in preparation is some surface design work. I'm experimenting with mark making with regular tools like paintbrushes and pens, but also by printing some designs with handmade stamps. Here are a few of the resulting pages.

trio of marks

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Want to make some marks of your own? Creating your own handmade stamps is easy.


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 "foamies" 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

Matt and I are hard at work on a bunch of new items that will be coming soon, along with a bit of a new look we are very excited about. Want to know all the things we're up to as they happen? Sign up for our email newsletter here (and save 15% off your next order). 



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