Introduction: Make a Soap Stamp
If you make soap you may want to personalize it with a stamped impression. This instructable will show you how to make a resin stamp! It works on freshly cut home made bars, but will not work on store bought soap or bars that have been aged. I got my inspiration from Kaseen Cook of Tortuga Soaps in Australia. Here is a link to her page which has a lot of good info about making and using soap stamps.
This is my first instuctable and I appreciate your constructive criticism! :-)
Step 1: Supplies and Getting Started
OK so to make a stamp you need:
* Resin - I like Quick Cast from Tap Plastics
* Mixing cups
* Modeling clay or carving wax - I used Roma Plastilina #3
* Carving tools and smoothing tool
* Goof Off or similar solvent based cleaner
* Duct tape
The modeling clay that I used is called Roma Plastilina #3. It is the second hardest one that they make, which is good for making a sharp well defined mold. To get started though it will probably require heating. Just cut a hunk off and break it into pieces. Then make a small foil tray to hold the pieces. Put it into a toaster oven on the lowest setting for about 15 minutes. This will make it soft enough to form it into the shape you want. I made a disk about 3 inches across and 3/4 of an inch thick. This will be your "canvas" to create on so make it smooth and flat. After you are satisfied put it into the freezer for a few minutes to harden it up.
Step 2: Transferring an Image
This step is not necessary if you are doing an abstract design or if you are confidant in your artistic abilities. I am making a stamp that is my company logo so I wanted to make sure that my proportions were consistent.
Start by printing an image that is the size that you want. If you are printing text or if you care about the orientation of your image you will have to "flip" the image horizontally. I did this in Photoshop but you could also use the free program called GIMP (www.gimp.org).
Now test the transferability of your ink by placing your image upside down onto another piece of paper and putting a few drops of Goof Off or similar cleaner onto the back of the image. Rub a pencil lightly over the saturated area. Lift off the top paper. If the image transferred great! If not you may have to use a ball point pen to color in the area of your image that you want transferred. Most inkjet printers work well, but mine is toner based and required this extra step.
Once you are satisfied with the ability to migrate your design do it onto your modeling clay. It doesn't have to be perfect it's just a guide for your carving.
Step 3: Carving the Clay Mold
This step is the most fun! Start in a corner and scrape out the clay toward yourself. You should go between 1/8th and 1/4 of an inch deep. Keep removing material until you are satisfied with the basic outline.
Now smooth out the impression with a smoothing tool. It looks like a small soft eraser on a paintbrush. Try for a uniform depth and clean edges.
Step 4: Casting the Resin
Now make sidewalls for the liquid resin. I used duct tape. Make sure that you make a good seal around the mold as the resin is very thin and will run out of any leaks.
Mix the resin according to the directions and pour into your mold. Don't pour it directly into the impression rather let it flow in by pouring onto a flat area.
Step 5: De-Molding
When the resin has set up to the consistency of firm rubber but not completely hard it is time to de-mold. Begin by peeling off the duct tape. Then work around the mold loosening the edges. When you have the edge loose all around slowly pry it apart until it pops loose. Then while the resin is still rubbery use scissors to trim the lip off of the edge. Now let the resin harden up the rest of the way, about an hour. After it is completely hardened clean the residual clay off.
Step 6: Final Touches
After cleaning off the clay you can test the stamp on a bar. After testing my stamp i found it to be too deep in some areas. This can be solved by sanding it down some. In fact you could do lots of touch up at this stage with sandpaper and / or a Dremel tool.
Now you have your own Soap Stamp!