Block Printing With Foam Stamps

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Introduction: Block Printing With Foam Stamps

About: ideaLAB is the name of the Denver Public Library's free all-ages makerspaces. We have labs at 6 libraries around the city of Denver - Central, Hadley, Hampden, Montbello, Rodolfo "Corky" Gonzales, an…

Block printing is the overall term for creating prints using some variation on a stamp. You can use a wide variety of materials for making your stamps, the ink or paint you’ll use, or what you choose to print on. Making stamps with foam is a bit easier than making them out of rubber, because we can directly cut out designs instead of trying to carve them out of rubber. These stamps are a nice intro to block printing and are a fun way to personalize cards, gift tags or create some fun art pieces.

Supplies

  • Craft foam sheets or styrofoam
  • Pencils/Pens
  • Scissors/x-acto knife
  • Hot Glue/glue stick
  • Cardboard
  • Paper/cardstock
  • Printmaking ink or acrylic paint
  • Paint brush

OPTIONAL (but highly recommended)

  • Disposable gloves
  • Aprons/smocks

Step 1: Draw Your Design

Draw out your design with a pen or pencil onto one piece of foam. It could be anything you want, but keeping your design fairly simple will make it easier to cut out later on. You can also use your pen or pencil to carve indentations in your shapes.

Be careful that your image is reversible or that you’ve inverted anything like text or letters because your final print will be the reverse of whatever image is on your stamp.

Step 2: Cut Foam

Once you’ve drawn your design on one piece of foam, use scissors to cut it out. Use this piece as a template to trace and cut out the same design on 3-4 more pieces of foam.

Step 3: Glue Together

Stack your foam pieces and glue them together to make a stamp that is several layers thick. This will help when you start adding paint/ink to your stamp to produce a more defined print. After the glue is dry, glue the stack to a square of cardboard that is slightly larger than your stamp.

Step 4: Add Ink and Print

Put ink on your stamp! You can use a paint brush to brush ink or paint onto your stamp so it is evenly covered. Make sure to get an even layer of paint so that your design will stamp out evenly. Too much paint on one part of your stamp will come out globby when you print it. Press together your stamp and paper. Some people prefer to place the paper flat on their work surface, lay the stamp on top and press down, whereas other people prefer to put the stamp flat on the work surface with the inked side facing up and set their paper on top of that. There’s no right or wrong way, as long as you’re satisfied with the results. To clean the stamps, wipe any excess paint off with a paper towel and let it dry before switching to a different color of paint.

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