Daydreaming on Paper
September 2021
Rediscovering Old Favorites: Rubber Stamps

Most of my interests and pastimes run in cycles. I'll be obsessed with something for awhile, and then one day I just stop and put it aside for an indeterminate amount of time. I have the same cyclic approach to the tools and techniques that I use in my notebooks. I'll get tired of something and put it away until a random impulse or spark of inspiration causes me to dig it back out again. Right now, that's what's happening with my rubber stamps.

Like most of my favorite things, I started using rubber stamps when I was in junior high school. The beauty of stamps, and one of the many reasons why I like them so much, is that they pretty much last forever. I still have and use some of the stamps that I had back then and, over the years, I've built up quite a collection, in addition to the ones that I carve myself. I prefer traditional wood-mounted stamps*, but I also have some clear stamp sets and cling stamps as well.

Most of my stamping over all of these years has been really basic: just stamp the image in my color of choice, and I'm done. It's only been very recently that I have begun to explore other techniques. Most stamping resources focus on card-making or scrapbooking. There's not a lot out there for people who are interested in getting fancy with stamping in planners or journals. Still, there's a lot of useful information online. I look for techniques that I can use to make my stamped images mimic some of the looks found on commercial stickers. These days, I check the blog of my favorite rubber stamp company to get new ideas and then try them out in my notebook - no pressure, no judgment. It's mostly trial and error (lots and lots of error), but it's fun, and every now and then, I end up with an image that I really like. I enjoy the process and will often note what does or doesn't work in case I want to use the technique on "real" projects in the future.


stamped image 1
I forgot to mask off the bottom margin here, so I had to cover it up with a label.

stamped image 2
I've only recently tried using stencils.

stamped image 3
Bunny variations

stamped image 7
Yet more bunnies

stamped image 5
Learning which stamp inks bleed through the page

stamped image 5
Blending, masking, and coloring

stamped image 5
This is one of the rare images that came out fairly well the first time.

stamped image 5
More blending

stamped image 5
I like this one, too.

stamped image 5
I think my stenciling technique needs work. :)


As you can see, I'm not doing anything too complicated, but it is nice to uncover fresh ways of using classic art supplies to enhance my notebook habit.

*I have a stamp positioner and one of those stamp cleaning scrub mats, both of which exponentially improved my experience with wood-mounted stamps and made me use them a lot more.


Happy Scribbling!


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