Make a Stamp With Paper Strips




Make a stamp with paper strips

This idea was inspired by Yulia Brodskaya's beautiful paper quilling artwork, I would like to express my gratitude at the beginning. The basic concept of this idea is arrange paper strips to form a pattern, glue this pattern to a stamp handle, and finally harden it with liquid plastic. Through this way we could create a pretty small stamp with complex pattern, high tech tools or great carving skill are not required.
Figure 01. This stamp is approximately 2 cm wide

1. Paper: Primary material to build stamp's pattern, most paper would work fine
except photo paper or coated paper, because they lack the ability to
absorb liquid, the paper I used was copy machine paper.
2. White Glue: Material to adhere paper strips together.
3. Instant Glue (Cyanoacrylates): This is strengthening material, seep into paper
could make paper stronger.
4. Powder (optional): Powder only needed when stamp's pattern has certain area
need to be filled with putty, this putty can be made by mixing enough
powder with instant glue, the powder I chose was corn starch.
5. Wood: This stamp needs a handle, I used a small piece of wood to do it.
Figure 02. Paper, White glue, Instant glue, Corn starch, Wood

1. Pencil: For drawing stamp's pattern.
2. Knife and ruler: For cutting paper strips.
3. Tweezers: For adjusting strip and glue it to proper position.
4. Sandpaper: For smoothing the stamp, 400-800 grit sandpaper would work fine.
Figure 03. Pencil, Knife, Ruler, Tweezers, Sandpaper


Step 1. Get the reverse image of original design
Grab a pencil, draw our design on the paper, held this paper to a window or somewhere bright, the drawing side face to window and blank side face to us, if there's enough light pass through this paper, we should be able to see reverse image of our drawing, use pencil carefully trace it on the blank side, then we have the reverse image of original design. We could also do the design on computer and print out reversely to get the same result.
Figure 04. Original design

Figure 05. Held to window and trace the image

Figure 06. The reverse image

Step 2. Prepare paper strip
Copy machine paper seems a little bit too thin for this pattern, so I took 2 pieces of paper and adhere them together with white glue, after the glue dry completely, use knife and ruler cut few strips from this double layer copy paper, the width of strip is 1mm.
Figure 07. Paper strips

Step 3. Glue strips to the pattern
Carefully follow the reverse pattern we draw in step 1, cut down correct length of strip as pattern require, use tweezers adjust strip's curve and adhere it onto this pattern with white glue, one by one until the whole pattern is finished.
Figure 08. (A) Measure the length. (B) Cut strip & adjust the curve.
(C) Apply white glue on strip edge. (D) Adhere it onto pattern.

Figure 09. The finished pattern

If there is some area need to be filled, such as the tail tip on this pattern, we could mix corn starch with instant glue make it become "instant putty", this putty could do the filling job.
Figure 10. The "Instant putty"

Figure 11. Filling the tail tip

Step 4. Glue the pattern to the handle
After the pattern dry completely, cut the pattern out and use few drops instant glue adhere it to the stamp handle.
Figure 12. Glue the pattern to the stamp handle

Step 5. Seeping the pattern
Directly drop instant glue on the pattern, let instant glue seep into paper's fiber, then use tissue paper absorb extra instant glue before it solidified, it's better do this on a small area at a time because instant glue dry pretty fast.
Figure 13. Drop instant glue on the pattern

Figure 14. Use tissue paper absorb extra glue

Figure 15. Seeping complete

Step 6. Sanding
After instant glue solidified, try the stamp and see how it work, usually the first time stamping image won't be very clear because not every strip are in the same height, if so, gently sanding stamp's pattern with sandpaper and try it again, repeat this process until you satisfy with the stamping image, then the work is done.
Figure 16. Sanding the pattern

Figure 17. Before (left) and after sanding (right)

Instant glue is actually not best choice for this job, because it solidified pretty fast, may not have enough time seep into paper thoroughly, I chose instant glue in this demonstration simply because it's easier to obtain for most people. If possible, use epoxy resin would be better because it give us more time for seeping and removing extra resin, if the fluidity of your epoxy is not good enough for this job, mix it with some thinner (I usually use ethyl acetate) might be helpful.

It took me 102 minutes to complete this cat pattern (step 3 only), it contains 39 strips, each strip need 2.6 minutes to cut, adjust and glue. Of course some pattern might be easier to make than others, I try few more different designs, get result that one strip need 2.1-3.5 minutes, wish this information could help you determine how long it may take to make your own stamp.
Figure 18. Different patterns and how much time to build them




    • Weaving Challenge

      Weaving Challenge
    • Pie Contest

      Pie Contest
    • Paper Contest

      Paper Contest

    10 Discussions

    Paige Russell

    2 years ago

    These are very beautiful. And you did a great job of the Instrutable. Thanks for sharing!

    1 reply
    flyonionPaige Russell

    Reply 2 years ago

    Thank you, it's an honour to have chance to contribute something.


    2 years ago

    I am curious how these stamps hold up to repeated use. Cyanoacrylate seems brittle and I suspect has poor ink retention. How does it compare in use to trad. "rubber" stamps?

    They look awesome, by the way. Great I'ble!

    1 reply

    Reply 2 years ago

    Thank you for reading this article and your kind words, the endurance of cyanoacrylate stamp under repeated use is still unknown to me, the cat stamp only build few days ago, stamped less than 100 times, the seahorse stamp in Fig.18 is the oldest one, more then one year, but it's seeped with epoxy. My feeling about these plastic stamps is they seems no less strong than wood, I could use tooth brush clean them boldly under water without worrying damage their pattern.

    Compare to rubber stamp, I think carving rubber stamp is easier and faster, rubber has better ink retention, and perform better on uneven surface too, these plastic stamps feel more like stamps made by wood or stone. I guess the primary advantage of this process is we could design very thin lines on the pattern, and we don't have to face the difficulty of carving them, paper itself does the job for us.