Stamp Carving for Beginners: Patterned Leaves | Daniela Mellen | Skillshare

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Stamp Carving for Beginners: Patterned Leaves

teacher avatar Daniela Mellen, Artist & Author

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

14 Lessons (42m)
    • 1. Class Intro

    • 2. Safety First

    • 3. Class Supplies

    • 4. A Closer Look at the Linoleum Cutter

    • 5. Making the Designs

    • 6. Transferring the Design

    • 7. Cutting the Stamps Apart

    • 8. Carving Stamp #1: Part 1

    • 9. Carving Stamp #1: Part 2

    • 10. Carving Stamp #2

    • 11. Carving Stamp #3

    • 12. Carving Stamp #4

    • 13. Carving Stamp #5

    • 14. Skillshare Class Wrap Up

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About This Class

Carving Rubber Blocks into shapes and textures allows artists, even more ways to gain additional art supplies. And, best of all, carving the blocks yourself, allows you to tailor the shapes, sizes, and textures to the needs of a specific project. In today’s class, beginners can learn the basics to carving 5 Leaf Shaped stamps. We’ll start with the design process, creating various leaves with various patterns and textures. Then, after selecting the 5 that we want to use, we’ll transfer the designs to the rubber block, and take the steps to carve them. We’ll start out carving straight lines and then carve gradual curves. This will help us get the feel of the process. We’ll move on to carving more rounded shapes, and end with carving cursive text.

These stamps can be used in many types of artwork, (journals, collage, card making, mixed media) and gives the added bonus of a beautiful, handmade art supply.

Meet Your Teacher

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Daniela Mellen

Artist & Author


I'm an artist and author living in coastal Florida and surrounded by plants, animals, marine life, and the warm sun - all things that inspire me.

I am drawn to creating things and love to get lost in projects. Each day is a opportunity to learn something new, build on existing skills, and branch out to new ones. I was formally trained as a educator which is my passion and incorporating art into teaching makes my life complete.

I upload art classes every Friday, here on Skillshare. You'll see handmade books, memory keeping, watercolor, acrylic paint, unique art supplies, and photography composition. Thanks for joining me and I look forward to seeing your work.

Check out my blog for additional info on my website or my YouTube Channel for additional c... See full profile

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1. Class Intro: I had an artist making my own art supplies allows me to create the exact tool that I need for a piece. Carving stamps is one example of creating an art supply that I can use over and over again in my work. You use the stamp by adding a layer of paint or ink and then pressing it onto paper or fabric. You can make multiple images with the same stamp by simply ranking it. In today's class. Stamp carving for beginners, making leaves will create five leaf stamps using a carving tool and a rubber block. For these supplies can be found in art stores or online. Hello, I'm Daniela Mellen and I love carving stamps to use in my work. Being able to create various shapes and textures in any size I like is both helpful and rewarding. As each stamp is unique and very valuable to me. Stamp carving involves using sharp tools. So we'll practice safe techniques, such as carving slowly at all times and away from your body, will use the right tools, either a woodcarving set for a linoleum cutter that is designed for such work. I think the stamps themselves, our artwork. In class, we'll go over the most basic of techniques of carving straight lines and then slightly curved lines. And finally, cursive writing. This class is for beginners and will teach five leaf stamps, starting from the easiest and slowly increasing the difficulty with each design. You can alter the designs and create your very own. And I'll show ways to adapt the stamp after it's carved and then test out the impression. Thanks for joining me today. Now let's get started. 2. Safety First: Just a few basic safety tips when carving stamps, keep the blade pointed away from you, carve away from your body and go slowly. Just remind yourself to go slowly and I can't emphasize that enough. Make sure you're using the appropriate tools, like the soft rubber blocks designed for stamp carving. We're not carving wood or linoleum. We're using linoleum tools to carve the soft rubber block. And once again, go slowly. 3. Class Supplies: So here are our stamp carving tools. Now I started with the linoleum cutter, and we'll go over this more in detail. But additional tips in here are the tips store in this handle. And there are different widths and sizes. And like I said, we'll go over that in a later chapter. You can also use some woodcarving tools. And it's a similar premise, but each one is permanently attached. You don't remove the edges and you can just choose the one you need to carve the part of the stamp that you want to carve. And again, use caution. All these tools are sharp. I use a pair of scissors for my template and to actually cut the stamp material. Here I have a straight edge. This is just like a little box cutter and this came with the woodcarving set and it's very similar. It's just another tool so you can use either one of these. I use a Sharpie and a pencil to make my sketches. And for that, I use just some scrap paper. Just happens to be copy paper because it's very light and easy to work with. And then I have my carving blocks there. You can find them in art supply stores and online stamp carving blocks and you can get them in almost any size. This is four by six. I have little round ones that I like to use, little square ones. And you can buy an assortment of them very reasonably priced. And you could even get an assortment of different sizes as well. And then lastly, after we make our stamps, I like to test them out. And so I just use some three by five cards and just some ink here. Any color will do just happen to like this color. So I use that a lot for testing out my stamps. In the next chapter, we'll take a look at our linoleum cutter. 4. A Closer Look at the Linoleum Cutter: Now for stamp carving, it doesn't matter which tool you use. Just find one that you're most comfortable with. And I happen to like an assortment. So the benefit to me of these woodworking tools is that they come in a set and they come with different sizes. And so I find that very helpful for getting different shapes and different degrees of depth and and lines on my work. A straight edge, no matter what format you have it, if it's a little box cutter or a scalpel is very helpful too, and they all have their purposes. Now this speed ball linoleum cutter is a little bit different. I really like having dedicated tools to each one of my tips when I'm doing my carving. This one in particular, this model stores the tips inside the handle, which is very handy. I like to have an assortment of these so that I can dedicate each handle to a specific tip. And in this case, because I'm happy with these woodcarving tips that are a little larger. I always tend to put my smaller one here, but as you can see, there's larger circular tips in three different sizes. And then there's a straight edge. So theoretically, you don't need these, you just need one set. Now to assign it to the edge here. You just screw off the top part here. And it's a beautiful setting. It's well-crafted. You keep scrolling until you have no two parts. And then if you, so these pieces fit together quite nicely. Now the way to attach the blade is I like to put the larger of the two pieces into this circular area here. And then I take my blade and I feed it in from the top. I turn it to the side and I try and catch the blade around the center of that piece. And then I feed in the other piece, making sure that this part here, the little neck, the straight edge is closest to me and the tapered part is closest to the point. So it just follows a regular guidance. And as you can see, all three pieces are in there. If I hold it like this, notice nothing is falling out. And then I just screw in the top again. And I keep screwing it in until it's secure, twisting it. And now I know it's secure. It's not going to go anywhere. So therefore, I have all my tools ready to start carving after I make my designs. The next chapter we'll go over making the designs to get texture leaves for stamp carving. 5. Making the Designs: To create the designs for my stamp, I like to do them on paper. Some people like to go directly to the stamp, but I make enough mistakes that I feel that it's easier to remedy them on paper than it is to try and erase them on the block because they don't really erase the pencil doesn't really erase from the block. So the first thing I need to decide on is how large to make my stamp. If I only have this size stamp, well then I'll put this down on my paper and trace around it. And that way I'll know that all my designs have to fit in that area. Same thing with the square here. But I know that I'm going to use the bigger block and cut it down to size. So that gives me a little leeway. So to do that, I'm going to make five stamps, just the same shape. So to do that, I'm going to create the first shape and it's just going to be a teardrop leaf. And that way I'll have lots of textures with the same shape. And that will give me some creative control when using them. It'll be a very valuable tool for me. So the first thing I do is make the shape. And if I'm happy with the shape and I'm happy with the size. I'll go in there and cut it out to make my template. Now once I have that template, I'll trace it down onto my paper. And even though I'm going to make five of these stamps, I want to make a few extra. And that gives me some creative leeway and design where if I create a stamp in pencil, I decide, Oh, what if I try something else with that? I have those extra spaces to do so. And sometimes I'll make a lot of designs, but I'll only do five car five that day. So I'll save the remaining designs to use as needed. Now because we're focusing on texture today, I want to make each of these have a different texture. The easiest thing to carve on a stamp that I find is a straight line. So I'm going to just make my first stamp be straight lines. I'm just going to go all the way up the stamp. The next one, I think I'm going to go across and this just gives me a little leeway. Or I can decide if, if I like either of these. It's also a good way to start the creative process. So first thing I'm gonna do is make some traditional veining. So I'll make a straight line down the center of the leaf. And then I'll make the veins coming in and out. And again, these are very basic stamps, but they're very fun to work with. On the next one, I think I'm going to leave a little border around the entire perimeter and maybe keep some lines here. And so I want to get rid of these areas here. These are the ones I'm going to carve out. And so I'm going to fill those in with my pencil. On the next one, I think I'm going to start at the top and come to the bottom. So I have a little variation on this straight line. I'm starting some curves here. And then the last one I'm going to write a word here and it can be grow or anything I think. All right, Love. Do a nice big script. Just like that. In the next chapter, we'll go over transferring our designs. 6. Transferring the Design: So transfer our designs. I like to cut each one out. So now that I've cut each one out and I have my original template, I can decide which five I want to carve. So I think we'll carve these five or to set this one aside. And I like to keep this one as well as the original template. And I might continue to carve them at a later date, but to transfer them, I'll take one at a time. And then I'll just flip it onto my rubber block here, setting it down. And once I set it down, I hold it in place. I'll go around it with pencil. And I leave a little border so that I don't carve right up to the edge of the stamp. If I'm carving a straight stamp like a square or a rectangle, that I might leave it right to the edge. But for around, I like to have a little leeway. After I have my exterior shape carved a hold the paper down, not picking it up. And I'll take something to burnish it. And I'm burnishing the word love that we put on the back of the stamp. And I'm going around all the areas that have the pencil mark. And then I'm going to still hold down the back and peel up the stamp to see if I got the transfer. And I did. I'll continue doing this with the remaining stamps onto the block and then we'll come back and take a look at our work. So my images are all transferred. The area that has the pencil or is the area that I'm going to carve. So on some of them, I might want to take my sharpie and just trace over that area that I'm going to carve. It makes just a little easier to see. And even though the graphite remains on the stamp, the only time it will rub off is if it's an area that's important. So I have my lines here, add another line in there. And I'm only going to trace the areas I want to carve on this one. I like to go ahead and fill those in. It just helps me keeps me in check. And then I'll review that area where I wrote the script. So now in the next chapter, we'll start cutting apart our stamps and then start the carving. 7. Cutting the Stamps Apart: Now to start cutting apart the stamps, I like to take a straight edge, particularly a metal one. This gives me just a little protection. And I take my carving blade and I open that carving blade longer than the depth of that stamp. And that's a pretty deep stamp here, quarter inch or so. So I set my block down, I take my straight edge. And on this one because it's got a little cushion. I like to put my straight edge flush against the stamp. I'll just start by gently pulling that blade towards me. I'm only going through the stamp about a quarter of the way. And each time I go, I just go a little deeper. And eventually it cuts apart very beautifully. I'll come down here and do the same thing here. And I'm cutting it in this formation to preserve the stamp. I could cut around the stamps and have an L-shaped block, but I like to keep my blocks straight. I don't really like the odd pieces of blocks. So again, I just gently cut through a little bit of the stamp each time I go, not rushing this. And it cuts fairly nicely. Then I'll take my stamp and I'll start with the one with two pieces and I'll cut off the excess material. Again, repeated cuts. And then from here I can start cutting the stamp. I like to cut in between them. And so I won't go straight in between them, but I'll go a little diagonal. Again. I like to pull the blade toward me slowly and controlled. And I strive for four cuts in between. Sometimes it takes less and sometimes it takes more. But there I have two of my stamps. I'll continue cutting them, separating all the stamps. And then we'll do each stamp one by one, the carving. And we'll start with the easiest and end up with the most complicated. So now I have all my stamps cut and I was even able to salvage this little block. I'll save this block along with the remainder of the block that I didn't use to carve for another day. And in the next chapter, we'll start carving our first stamp. 8. Carving Stamp #1: Part 1: So now the carver first stamp, the first thing I like to do is I examined whether I need to carve around the stamp or if I want to carve the lines and I like to carve the lines first and I'll tell you why. When I'm making my carving, I like to go right off the area that is my stamp. And it makes for easier to cut the actual shape of the stamp later. And it makes for a nicer car at first. So I choose the first blade I want and I'm going to use my smallest blade. I could use my second smallest blade if I wanted to cut those lines thicker. But I like to start with the smallest blade and then I could always go back if I feel at that line isn't thick enough. Now to do this, I always carve away from me and I always go slow. I always tell myself go slow. I've had a trip to the emergency room when I wasn't following that rule, so I learned fairly quickly. So I wholly stamped securely. And just like with the cutting and just try and make a smooth cut the first time, following that line and going right off the stamp. Now it's not very deep, it's effective. But I can decide if I want to continue further. And I'm going to just go one more time over that area. Again, going slowly and deliberately right off my area. And here I have some little shavings going to go to the right of the stamp and do the same procedure. Again, this takes a little practice but not a lot. I'm just working on pressure, keeping that pressure the same and just going the length of the stamp. If I see that this shaving remained, I'll just gently pull it off and pull it to the side. I'm going to go over to the right one more time. And I don't have to go the dent I don't have to extend to the base of the stamp, just to the area where I have my sketch. I'm going to flip my piece around so that it's on the right-hand side because I'm right-handed and that's easier for me. Again, hold nice stamp tightly so it doesn't move. And then I make my carving. And I like to really clean my little Carver here. In between each swipe. I find it distracting. And I do the last stripe here. So now I have my carving pieces right here. Now I'm going to switch back to my straight edge and I'm going to carve the stamp. So this time I'm going to carve and I'm going to pull it towards me. So I'm going to start up top here, gently press into the stamp and then pull around following that shape. And I like to do fairly straight lines. And i've, I know I'm going to have a curve. I leave a little border and I do that border because it gives me a little leeway. So then I'll come back in a little deeper and start that curve. And as you can see, I have a little sliver of a piece. I'll turn my piece and continue this until I get that rounded shape. And again, it's just a patient thing. And I'll continue all the way around. Now if you like the woodcut look, you can make just a series of straight cuts. But for this one I want a little more of a curve. When I have that, I can pull it across. And I see that this little spot here needs to be taken off. So I'll just cut straight down, like I'm cutting a stick of butter. Continue all the way around. Again. I left a little leeway. I can come in here and trim that off. And then I can cut right down here. So now we have a bunch of little scraps, is a bigger scrap here. I can save that. And then I just throw out the old. But I'm not quite done yet. In the next chapter will come by and take a look at our peace with our stamped image. 9. Carving Stamp #1: Part 2: So now to verify that this stamp is exactly what we want, I'll take my ink and I'll press my stamp into my ink. And I'll take a peek. And it looks to be mostly the ink looks to be mostly on the area I want. And then I'll just press it here on this paper. This is my first impression. Any imperfections will show up. And that looks really good to me. If I wanted to emphasize these lines a little further. I can go in there with a larger tool and carve those lines out just for demonstration purposes. I'll do that. So I'm going to start at the middle again, holding my stamp down and very carefully just go in a little bit, pulling up first layer here, just to make that a little larger in elongates the area we carved. Now because I already remove the stamp, it's a little harder at the ends. My tool likes to jump up. So just keep that in mind. Gonna go here, Continuing. And it's just a slight little variation from what we have come over here. And so then for my second test, strip out, press this into my stamp ink and press my stamp. And as you can see, the lines are a little bigger. There are a little wonky here, as you can see. So I can spend more time fixing this up. I'll do that and we'll take a quick peek. And so that is somewhat better, but I want to go in there and just carve out a little more anyway. And I'm almost done. I just want to fill in that area one more time. So that's a little bit better. In the next chapter, we'll carve the next stamp. 10. Carving Stamp #2: For our second stamp, I'm going to do the same procedure. I'm going to start at the base here, and I'm going to start with my second smallest piece. And I'm just going to carve straight across holding the stamp and pressing as I go. And now if it's skipped a little, I'll just come back in and go over that piece gently and slowly. Again. I'll continue to do this until I have a straight channel carved out. I want the vines to be a little thinner on the sides. So I'll switch to my smallest carving tool. And again, I'm gonna carve right off the stamp starting from the center and carving right out. Again, these are straight lines. You can make them curved if you'd like. But I like to start slow. Once I have that carved. Once I have that carved, I'll cut around the side of the stamp to create that shape. The same procedure I did the first time. And then once I have my leaf, I'll do my test. So I like the way that leaf looks. There's plenty of room in here. If I wanted to go and put more vines in by taking my little tool and making those lines in between the first ones. But for my purposes, I'm really happy with the way this stamp looks. The next chapter we'll come back and work on our third one, where we start to make some turn shapes. 11. Carving Stamp #3: So now for this shape, we wanted to carve everything that's black. We're going to start by carving are straight lines. And then we'll come in and do our curves. I like to start with my smallest tool, and I'll start in the center of my stamp, mainly because this is the longest line here. So I'll start at one end. And I'm going to bring that stamp and that straight line carving the same way I did before. And then when I get to the edge, I'm just going to lift up and pull that up. Now you can see there's a little piece left here. So I'll dig the corner in and come up to the edge here and pull off that curve. So I kind of have this perimeter started. I want to come back in a place I started originally and carve out all that dark color right to the edge there. And I can come back in and gently shave off just a little bit each time. I'm going to turn my piece so that I'm going up a little bit and stopping. And I get to the top of that section. And then I'm going to turn my piece and do the same thing on this side. All the way down to the end. And then pulling it straight up. I'm going to come here and go all the way across. So now that I've gone around the outline, it's easier to remove the stamp from the center. So I'll let that weight and I'm just going to carve the outline one more time. Just with my small tool. And I'll go around both sides. I'm going to leave that centerpiece for now. And I'm going to start on this piece on the right. Start at the tip here, all the way down to the end and pull up. I'll come back in, remove some of that, turn my piece again. So I'm always working away from me. And then pull up again gently pull away from me. So I have that piece done just the perimeter. I'll start on this next piece. I can come around again, curve to the side, pull off the piece that I just shaved off, and again, come back here, turn my piece and I have that perimeter removed. I'll do the last piece which is the real curve, starting at this point, gently holding it down with my right hand and very gently turning my stamp was my left-hand just letting that pressure car of the stamp, I can come back in. Do the same thing with a little more control just a little bit at a time. And then carve this, write out the straight line. I'll begin carving the center pieces out. And I'll continue all the way up the stamp. Anytime I see a little bit of that Sharpie marker, I'll know to go back in there and carve that out. I'm gonna come over here on the edge and just a little bit of Sharpie exposed. For this piece, I'm going to switch to my next larger size because all I have to do is pull up that little section in the middle. I still want to go slow. But I can do it fairly easy with this larger blade. Now for this one, I'm going to switch back to my smaller blade and I'll start with the smaller side. And just take a little piece down to the edge, come back in and continue. So I have the entire center carved out. Now I'll take my straight blade. And again, I'm going to carve out that stamp the perimeter. Again. Go slowly and deliberately trying to do those straight areas first. Don't like to get too much of a curve when I'm carving out the perimeter. I can always go back in and carve out that shape a little more fine tuned. Then I'll do my test. Ink up my stamp. Impress my piece. If there's any areas I want to change, Now's the time to do it, but I'm quite happy with the results. 12. Carving Stamp #4: For our fourth stamp, we're using gradual arcs here. I'm going to start in the middle, and I'm going to start in the center of these arcs and just glide my hand with very large motions all the way up top. I'll tilt the stamp a little bit and do the same thing here for that second line. Then I'm gonna come over here to the bottom of the stamp and continue making those lines where they meet up and all intersect at the same point. It's very smooth motion. And now I'm ready to cut out the shape scenario. My shape cut out. We can go back in and fine today, areas that aren't exactly smooth. And then I can test it out. So I like how that looks. I'm going to take my tool, my small tool could have carbon. Another line in the center. First thing I wanna do is just dry off my stamp just to avoid any possible areas that would slip. And I'll start in the center and come all the way up to the top. And now I'll test out my stamp again. And I like that better. You can modify your stamp as much as you'd like. And this is the process you use. The next chapter we'll carve our final stamp, the love stamp. 13. Carving Stamp #5: Now the carbon has stamp. There are lots of curves here. It does produce a nice result and there are a couple of things you can do. I'm going to today carve out the area that I drew in with the marker, the darker black. And I want to really go over that one more time, really making some areas thicker so that I get a nice impression. When I come to this E here, I think I'm gonna make a little space between the E and the V, a little more space than I have here. So I hope I'll remember to do that. I'm going to take my tool and I'm going to start and even though these are all curved lines, I'm going to treat them like lines. So I'll start at the tail here. And I'm just going to carve up this L. Once I get to the top, I'm just going to gently continue to turn the stamp. And then I'm going to continue right to the bottom. And I'm going to pull up. And I can see the area that I've removed. Now, there's a little area here that I didn't remove. And so I'm going to start by putting my tool down here and just carving a little bit of that area and taking it right up. I'm going to come over here and the area with a little cross hatch and start. So the next letter go to the top of the O. And I'm going to go to the top of the V. And then I'm going to come down the V, turn around and go right up and stop there. Now it's a little different than what I wrote with the Sharpie. But I'm going to stamp that and test that because it's letters. It's a little more tricky to carve and it's not really a beginner carving. But I do like to give it a try and it's very good practice, even if the end result isn't what's desired. I'm gonna come over here to this o, continue to carve out the 0 all the way up to that point and pull that out. And then I want to carve this E, go start here. Curve all the way around that loop. Turning that stamp. And I wanted to leave a little space between the V and E and carving right to the tail. Just like that. I didn't car very much from the stamp as you can see. But perhaps it's enough to get our word. Gonna cut out the shape. And then we'll do our test and see how much more work we have to do to get the image that we want. Push this aside and see the test. That looks pretty good. The v is a little wonky, but it's not bad. Gonna cover this up. I'm going to come in here and just carve out that bottom of that V a little better. I want to sharpen this little area here. And now I'll do another test. It's not perfect, but it's hand carved and it looks kinda interesting. So I'm quite pleased with that. The next chapter we'll take a look at our finished pieces and we'll look at some other stamps. Just a little variation on the same theme. 14. Skillshare Class Wrap Up: So here we have our completed stamps. In order from least difficult to most difficult. It's really fun to see the progression when you're carving them, to keep stamping them, to see what changes you need to make. And sometimes you get lucky and they come out just let the way you'd like the first time. But it is interesting because sometimes the design and the stamp have different features that you want to pay attention to. And of course, there's always more practice needed, especially for me with my word stamps. Now, these aren't the only variations you can have on a leaf stamp. Here I have a different leaf, slightly different shape, but just different textures. And C here, I didn't mind the wantonness of the stripes. And I think it added to the piece, it made it very interesting. And here I carved out circular images for this. So it's very helpful in my work to have all these different textures and patterns to work with. I hope you'll try your hand at one of these hand carved leaves to really play with the texture and the patterns that really speak to you. If you do snap a photo of your work and maybe even the progression with your stamping the inks throughout your process. That would be very interesting to see. Please be sure to follow me here on Skillshare to get notified of future classes. Please consider leaving a review. And thanks for joining me today.