DIY Eraser Stamp

I love all things crafty, but truth be told, I am just not all that good at the "crafty" thing.  I'll put it down to impatience.  I just get so excited about it and often rush through, making the end result not near as cute as the picture I saw on Pinterest.

Years ago when I was first living in Japan, B and I were watching an old ladies DIY TV program and I saw them make keishi gomu (rubber eraser) stamps.  The next time we were in the city I came across all of the supplies and bought them on impulse, not really knowing what I would use them for.  I eventually ended up making citrus themed stamps which I used to decorate plain white cocktail napkins for our wedding reception.  It was easy, inexpensive and was a completely unique little thing to add to the party.

Fast forward to today, almost four years later. I am planning a last-day-of-school party for my class, and since there are only 10 students (spectacular students at that!) I want to make them a little something to remember me by.  I thought about t-shirts, but that was going to get expensive, and since they are fast growing 5 year olds, they will just grow out of them tomorrow.  Then I saw these canvas tote bags at Muji (here is the US link...they only seem to have the larger size and it's more expensive).  At only 150 yen each they definitely fit in my budget, and seemed much more useful than a t-shirt! 

I couldn't decide how to decorate the bags.  I know I want all of the students to sign each others' bags at the party, but they still needed a little something.  I was chatting with mom about it and she suggested making an eraser stamp - genius!  I had forgotten all about them!  As soon as I ended our call I hiked to the train station and went into the "craft" store to get everything I would need.  Once back home, I forced myself to wait until after lunch to get started.

I just did a quick search and there are lots of tutorials online, but here's how I made my stamps and tote bags.

1.  Gather all your supplies!  You'll need a rubber eraser*, linoleum cutter, xacto knife, stamp pad**, tracing paper and pencil (not pictured).  (I actually got a kit this time around.)

*In Japan, the craft stores and 100 yen shops sell special "big" erasers that are actually meant for making these stamps with.  If you can't find one, any rubber eraser will do.  Just make sure it's big enough to accommodate your design.

 **Be sure to check that the ink you get is suitable for what you will be stamping.

2.  Choose your design.  I started by drawing mine on paper, then once I was happy, I traced over them using the tracing paper that came with my kit.  Be sure you use a pencil!

3.  Transfer your design to the eraser.  To do this, simply place the tracing paper pencil side DOWN on the eraser.  Using your fingers, carefully rub the design so that it transfers.

4. Trim your eraser.  I actually forgot to do this and began carving, which is why it's already partially carved!  I do suggest using your xacto knife to cut the eraser down to size first.  That way you don't waste any eraser.

5.  Carve away!  Start by carving carefully around the outside of your design.  Remember, it's the parts that you don't carve away that will become the image of your stamp.  It may be helpful to darken all of the parts you don't want to carve with your pencil, to avoid any mistakes!

6. Test stamp.  Do a quick test stamp on scrap paper to check for places that may need to be carved away a bit more, so that you have a nice clean image.

There you go!  Now you're ready to stamp away!  I washed my stamps with regular water in between colors.  Just be sure to dry them well before stamping again.

Now for the bags.  I started by writing each student's name on a bag using special fabric pens I found.

Then I used my eraser stamps to stamp my designs onto the bags.  Easy peasy.  I am SO thrilled with the results, and I think my students will like them as well.

This is the perfect craft for a wanna-be crafty person like me.  The stamps are really simple to make, especially if you keep the designs simple, and really the possibilities are endless!

No comments