Thursday, February 13, 2014

champagne cork stamp tutorial.

so, you know how we've been drinking a lot of sparkling wine? well, we've had a lot of extra corks lying around. 

and alice got a fantastic idea. 

see, at alices ballet class, her teacher gives everyone hand stamps if they're good. alice LOVES getting her stamps from miss regine. well, one day, alice picked up a cork and told me "put your hands on your head for stamps!", and "stamped" my hands with her imaginary cork-stamp. 

which gave me an equally fantastic idea: i could totally make her a whole set of actual stamps with all the champagne corks lying all over the place. and since, you know, i have a degree in printmaking (which, by the way, is a super in-demand employable skill and i never have to explain what i went to school for. sarcasm), it was actually REALLY easy. 

in this project I'm basically using the same principles as a potato stamp, but since were using corks instead of potatoes, we can clean them up when were done and keep them forever, so its way less wasteful. plus, now alice has a whole bunch of fun stamps that were basically free. 

you should totally try it out. 

heres what you'll need:

champagne corks (obviously)
a marker
a small, sharp knife
scrap paper 
stamp pad (or paint)

and heres what youll do:

step 1: use your marker to draw the desired finished shapes of your stamps. you'll want to stick to simple shapes (remember, they are pretty small and the cork is soft and not suitable for intricate details). i mainly wanted these for alice to use at craft time (and maybe help her learn her shapes), so i did a heart, star, triangle, square, flower, and arrow:

step two: use your knife to cut a thin layer of cork away from the area NOT colored with marker (in artsy terms, this is called "negative space", you want to get rid of it). the best way to do this is to make vertical cuts (perpendicular to the surface of the cork) all the way around the outline of your desired shape, and then make horizontal cuts (parallel to the surface of the cork) about a millimeter or two below the surface of the cork to remove the negative space. if you do it right, when you're done, your cork will now look like a stamp:

step 3: using your stamp pad (or paint, my "big and juicy" stamp pad was NOT as juicy as advertised, and i ended up just using paint) to test out your stamp on the scrap paper and make sure the resulting shape is what you wanted (and if not, simply wipe off and fine-tune with your knife).

and ta-da! youre done:

now you have a whole set of (basically) free stamps for all your paper crafting needs!

i was actually really surprised that the curvy shapes (like the heart and flower) and the more complex shapes (like the star and arrow)  ended up coming out MUCH nicer than the simpler ones (like the triangle and square). 

and now if i could just find my stash of blank greeting cards we could make some valentines...

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