Stamps From Craft Foam.




Introduction: Stamps From Craft Foam.

About: I'm just a poor lonesome cowboy... Not really, I am divorced and live in the cold country of Sweden. I am not much of a author but tries to share what I have done so that others might learn from my mistakes…

Craft foam is a great material for your home made stamps. It can be easily cut and shaped to make stamps. I wanted to make stamps for my wife who is into scrapbooking and it would be nice with custom stamps. I have previously made a small laser cutter and used this as the cutting tool. But I wanted to make this instructable easy for everyone to replicate without any special tools.

Step 1: Gather the Materials.

You don't need a lot of material for this and just some basic tools. If you want you can use a computer to design your pattern and then of course you will need a computer and printer as well.

Craft foam - I use 1/16" thick.
Masonite - Backing of old picture frames can be a good source.
A handle - Ordinary knobs from a cabinet door works well.
Countersunk screw for the knob (optional).

Sharp knife.
Super glue
Pocket laser engraver (Optional) ;)

Step 2: Creating the Cutout.

I like to make my design on the computer using Inkscape. That way I can print the design direct with a computer controlled cutter or print it on paper as a template. A fine pair of scissors or a sharp knife is required to cut out the stamp pattern. Smaller details can be cut using a heated paper clip. Just be careful not to cut or burn yourself.

If you use something like my small laser cutter all you need are to load up some craft foam and press print. Otherwise you can print the shape onto thin paper. The thinner you can find the easier it is to get a good result. Now glue it to your craft foam using a glue stick by putting some glue on the paper and press it down onto the craft foam. With a sharp knife and scissors follow the lines to make your pattern. If you want to make small holes or other pattern that is hard to do with a knife you can heat up a straightened out paper clip over a small candle and gently press it down into the foam. That is how I did the fins on the arrow of this design, only I used a small screwdriver as I didn't find any paper clips. When working with heat like this it is easier to work from the bottom of the foam, this is the side you will have the ink on.

When you are happy with your cutout it is easy to remove the paper. Just drop the whole thing in a glass of water and the glue will dissolve and fall off.

Step 3: Putting It All Together.

Cut out a piece of the Masonite the appropriate size for the stamp. Just a little larger seems to work out best. If it is too large it is easy to dip the corners onto the inkpad and risk getting ink outside of the stamped pattern.

Drill a hole in the center of the Masonite and countersink it carefully. With a countersink screw you can screw on the handle and still have a flat surface for your design. Another method is to skip the screw and just glue the handle onto the Masonite. This is a lot easier but with the risk that the handle breaks of if someone is a bit rough. I glued it as I could not find a counter sunk screw.

Lay out your craft foam design the way you want the stamp to look. Now just put a little glue onto the craft foam and press down the Masonite carefully onto the pattern. Be sure to align the pattern in the center of your handle.

Thats all there is to it.

Step 4: Final Result.

Using a ordinary inkpad you can stamp your design onto all things that needs to be brighten up. If you want you can even make two stamps that fit together and stamp in two colors. Depending on your ink you can make all sort of things, with fabric ink you can stamp clothes and make personal t-shirts, shopping bags or even shoes. When working on fabric make sure you have enough ink on your stamp.

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    10 years ago on Introduction

    I've done some stamps with a 200mW red laser cutter but I did it a bit different. If you use a foam with sticky backing, you can cut more detailed stamps (for example, those with text messages) because you don't have to transfer every little detail onto the backing.

    Also, as a (yet untried) idea - what I'm hoping to do one day is to use sticky-backed foam, make the cuts for the shapes and then use the same laser to melt away those parts that supposed to be removed instead of removing them with an x-acto knife. Problem with removing parts of the stamp with a knife is that the sticky back holds too well. Some of the parts just don't want to go and it is really difficult to deal with smaller parts.

    For this particular technique I'm waiting for a bunch of broken DVD-RW drives I bought on eBay to come in so I can build one of your pocket engravers (although my implementation will include direct drive from EMC2 software via a ready-made $20 3-motor bipolar stepper controller, I'll describe it better when I complete it).  Right now I have the laser mounted on an actual CNC router and it's too heavy a piece of machinery to make it laser off what will basically become a raster image. Your cutter/engraver should be much more agile  and, frankly, considering that it's built from discarded parts, I would not worry much if it breaks after a few hours of use, I'll just replace the motors with ones from another disassembled DVD-RW :)

    Oh, and another thing, Groover, I see you've entered this one into the MakerBot Challenge, just wanted to mention that I've seen a design on the Net that uses discarded CD/DVD drives for a 3D printer! Well, as we're painfully aware, the size limitations are still 1.5" x 1.5" x 1.5" but it should be enough to get someone familiar with 3D printing techniques. You got me hooked onto these little DVD-based projects, makes my head spin when I think about many possibilities to use them ! :)

    I'll be sure to vote for this one, too, hope you win the 3D one as well.



    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    I'm working on a way to engrave raster images. It's not going great at the moment. But it could be used for stamps if I ever get it to work.

    Now you got me thinking of 3D printing... :)

    It shouldn't be to hard to do with an old glue gun with a modified temp control, some kind of controlled feeder and a way to move the Z axis. When the laser normally turns on it could turn on the feeder. Using some kind of plastic straw much like the MakerBot. The more I think of it the more I think it could work. Again, with a very small workspace.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Fantastic! I wonder if our laser cutter will cut this stuff. . .


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    I cut it with a 200mW red laser. If you have a commercial laser cutter you might be able to cut it with low power and high speed.