Sunday, January 30, 2022

A Stamping Revelation

 After I got sucked in to the vortex that is mixed media, I may have gone a little crazy buying stamps (and other things as well, but that is another story LOL). VarageSale, thrift stores, our very own Art Supply Exchange... no place that had cheap stamps was safe from me. Now I'm the proud owner of a large, jumbled stash of stamps, most of which are mounted on wooden blocks.

Having them all in a tub is, quite frankly, useless. I bought so many so quickly that I don't even know what I have. I could have duplicates and not even know it. And I can't ever find what I'm looking for... and that's if I even own what I'm looking for! Plus, I have it on good authority that storing them in this way can also damage the stamps, particularly those on the bottom. 

So this January I decided it was time to organize them. I did find a beautiful set of storage bags on Amazon, specifically designed for wooden stamps. But (a) they were expensive, (b) I would have needed a lot of them and (c) I really felt I should be able to come up with a method that didn't require me to buy more stuff. 

So I dove deep into Google and Pinterest. And I discovered something amazing. You can remove the stamp from the wood block if you do it carefully. There are any number of different methods and tutorials (none of which I have tried yet). This leaves you with only the rubber stamp. You can also remove the picture of the stamp from the block, adhere it to the back of your rubber stamp, then trim with scissors or a craft knife.

Now you have all these lovely stamps that are much smaller, and fit beautifully into things like old CD cases for storage!

Another plus? By adhering the back of the stamp to cling vinyl, the stamps will cling to your acrylic blocks. I'm not sure how this would work if you also want to add the picture of the stamp on the back, as outlined above. Perhaps transparent cling vinyl, but I don't know if that actually exists.

So after unmounting all those stamps I would have all those wooden blocks left over. I know I wouldn't be able to toss them so I looked into possible uses. Here are some of my favorites:

Add a photo and some embellishments to create a beautiful keepsake for yourself or to give as a gift:

Along the same idea, but without the embellishments, is this cute stacking puzzle. You could make it a much simpler project by just creating the puzzle without the holes and dowels:

You can also use the blocks to create some home decor. This example uses leftover baseboard and other home building scraps, but the process would be the same with stamp blocks (except you may need to scuff the surface of your stamp block with sandpaper to make the paint adhere better):

Or instead of single letters, write entire words on larger stamp blocks:

If you are interested in making something that looks a bit fancier, here are some beautifully painted wooden stamp blocks that can either sit on a shelf or be hung on a wall:

The larger blocks lend themselves well to seasonal decor. I found all sorts of Christmas ideas, but thought these fall-themed blocks were particularly nice:

Here is a cute idea for kids. This method could also be used to make cars or trucks:

If you have access to a good saw, you can make something like these assorted houses and boats:

Or how about a large tic-tac-toe game? These are meant to be coasters, but there's no reason they can't just be game pieces!

Some other fun ideas:

Building blocks for children
Candle holders
Add letters or numbers to create a learning toy for young kids
Drawer or cabinet pulls
Glue different types of sandpaper to them to make sanding blocks
Use as a base for reusable homemade stamps - wrap with yarn, lace, bubble wrap, etc.

I do not have a photo for this, but I read on one forum that you can glue the hook side of velcro to a block, then use bits of felt as daubers for inks or paint. You can remove the felt to clean it and then use it again.

Did any of you know that unmounting wood block stamps was a thing? Have you gone through the process? If so please let us know how it all worked out for you!