Ever wondered how to create ribbon-like decorations along invitations or papers? Wonder no more, because there is a simple solution (I mean other than clipart and fancy image editing) - the rolling stamp.
In this Instructable, I will show you how I made a simple rolling stamp by upcycling an old garden clog. It requires little tools, and I will also do my best to give you some ideas on what else this technique can do for you.
Step 1: Tools and Materials
The main idea here is the technique, not the actual build process, which is why I tried several methods inside this project. So keep in mind that there are almost always ways to get things done with different tools or materials so long as you keep an open mind. Also, this project is somewhat of a proof of concept, and as I have mentioned in the video, you can take things further by adding a handle instead of rolling it on the dowel.
- Shoe (Clog) - this will be your source for stamp material. The soft, rubber-like sole of those shoes works perfectly for that. You can try others shoes as well, as long as the sole is not too hard because your stamps need to be able to conform to the round shape of the roller later on.
- Wood - to make the round roller thing. It should be as thick as you want your stamp ribbon to be wide.
- Hot Glue - to attach the stamps to the wood.
- Dowel - for the roller to roll on.
- Scissors - to cut the clogs into more manageable pieces. Also to shape the individual stamps. Different scissors will perform differently here, and some might not be suited for detail work, while others cannot handle cutting the thick foam. You should experiment a bit to find the best tools possible, and you can use craft knives or hobby knives instead if necessary.
- Craft Knife (alternative) - also to cut and shape. This is not my preferred option, but I am not a fan of craft knives in general. Also, I happen to have a pair of good scissors that can handle all that I have asked of them in this project. In skilled hands, a sharp hobby knife can do just what scissors do.
- Soldering Iron (alternative) - to shape, but not to cut. The hot tip will melt the foam and allow you to shape your stamps. Depending on the shape of that tip, it might even work better than the aforementioned tools here. The downside of the soldering iron is that it will create fumes that might not be the best to breathe in, so only do this in a well-ventilated area.
- Sharpie or Pencil - to sketch the shapes you want.
- Drill Press - to use the hole saw with. You might be able to use the hole saw with a hand drill, but then you would need to clamp the piece of wood in place somehow. I would recommend a drill press for that operation, though.
- Holesaw - to cut a round piece of wood to act as a roller or wheel. There are alternatives to that, like scrollsaw, bandsaw, coping saw, jigsaw or even buying round stock large enough and slicing off a piece, but in my opinion, the hole saw is the best option here because it also gives you a centered hole. If you use any of the other methods you will also need a drill bit for the center.
- Hot Glue Gun - to apply the hot glue.
- Belt Sander (optional) - to flatten the foam. you can also do this using scissors or a knife.
Step 2: Preparing the Footwear
You want the thick material of the sole to make your stamps from, so you need to cut away the other, thinner pieces first. Depending on your style of shoe, you might be able to use this material for stamps, too. Even if not, you can use it to clean up sandpaper as demonstrated in the video.
My shoe came with a textured and shaped underside, so I used the belt sander to flatten my stock. As it turns out, you do not need maximum thickness. Rather, it is more important to have a consistent thickness, so that all your stamps have equal height.
Step 3: Planning the Feet - or Whatever You Want!
I cut the sole into smaller pieces before sketching out the stamps I wanted, but that is not really necessary. So go ahead and sketch the shapes you want into the flattened rubber. I used a pencil which allows for easy corrections but is harder to see. I would recommend you use a sharpie instead.
You can do them all by hand as I did, or use a small template or stencil to keep things consistent. At this point, you should also put some thought into your stamp pattern. Will it be asymmetrical (like feet, left and right), or consist of symmetrical shapes that can all look the same? Or do you want a sequence of unique shapes? Since everything is possible you should decide on what you want now.
Step 4: Cutting It - Out.
You can use either scissors or a craft knife to cut the pieces down to the sketch you made. Personally, I prefer scissors, but that might be due to the fact that my knife is not the sharpest tool in the shed. Cut along the shape, then add a chamfer for a little more realistic depiction.
Another method is to use the soldering iron. It will melt the material of the foam and create some hefty fumes in the process, so only do this with good ventilation in place. It allows for more and finer details, but you will still need scissors to cut off the surplus.
Step 5: The Roller - and Some Thoughts on Size
To make a rolling stamp, something needs to be able to roll. The easiest solution that I found is a round piece of wood on a dowel, and a hole saw gives you just that. There are plenty of other methods using different saws, but in the end, you should always end up with a round piece of wood with a center hole large enough for a piece of dowel.
One thing to keep in mind is the size or diameter of that roller. It depends on what stamps you want to put on it, and also on their size and number. For the feed especially it is important to have an even number of them, otherwise, the footprints will oddly skip one side repeatedly.
You do have some leeway when it comes to placing the stamps. They should be placed evenly to create a seamless ribbon experience. But even more important is this: the roller must never touch the surface it rolls on. Only the stamps should make contact. Plan and space your stamps and the diameter of the roller accordingly.
Step 6: Putting It All Together
Hot melt glue works well to attach the foam stamps to the wooden roller. Apply a generous amount of it to the back of the stamp, then place it against the roller and push down on both ends so that it ends up adhering to the curve of the wood. You probably need to hold it in place for a bit to make sure the glue has cooled down. Take care not to burn yourself in the process, though.
Step 7: Test Drive
To test my rolling stamp, I took a piece of paper, spilled some paint, rolled through it and left row upon row of footprints on it. You can do the same, or you can use an ink pad to get a little more consistent result with less spill and squeeze - even though you might have to roll over the pad a couple of times to get even ink distribution.
And with this, your rolling stamp is done! Congratulations! (Don't forget to post pictures to the comments below!)
Step 8: Endless Possibilities (until You Run Out of Paper)
Feet are just the beginning. You can make flowers, paws, faces or runes. But you can take things a step further. Take one (or more) longer pieces and cover the roll with it completely. This works best by hot-gluing it bit by bit to the wood rather than doing the whole thing at once. Then, use the soldering iron (in a well-ventilated area) and create a continuous pattern, like weaving lines or vines with flowers.
Thanks for stopping by and checking out this Instructable. If you make your own, I would love to see pictures! And leave a comment and let me know what you think (and I would appreciate if you checked out the video version as well).