This is an easy way to make rubber stamps that you design and that will last for many stampings. The first one I made has lasted for over 500 uses (up to 75 uses in a single day) and is still as clear as the day I made it.
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Step 1: Materials
You will need: thick craft foam and thin craft foam, scissors and/or hobby knife, cutting surface, wooden spools and flat shapes, glue, toothpicks, cotton swabs, and a clamp.
Step 2: Base Pieces
Choose a flat wooden shape and a spool, and cut a piece of the thick craft foam slightly smaller than the wooden shape.
Step 3: Gluing the Base
I used gorilla glue, which expands into the parts it glues, so I think it might expand into the tiny holes in the foam as well as into the wood grain. I think you could use the "foam glue" or even regular white PVA glue like Elmer's.
Gorilla glue is a polyurethane and is activated by water, so you have to get a piece of what you are gluing damp. I dampened my wood square on both sides and applied a thin layer of glue to the thick foam and to the spool using a toothpick.
Step 4: Clamping the Base
Let the glue set for an hour in a clamp. I used an extra wood square to prevent the clamp from creating a permanent dent in the middle of the thick foam, since that is going to be the backing for the actual stamp. While waiting for the glue to set, design and cut out your stamp.
Step 5: Cut the Design
I tried several designs before deciding on which one to use. Cut the design out of the thin foam using scissors or a hobby knife. Try to use up as much of the full stamp shape as possible.
Step 6: Check the Design
Remember that when you attach the design to the base, you will have to put it on "backwards" in order to get a "frontwards" image when using the stamp. Double-check to make sure the design will fit on your base, and make any necessary adjustments with the knife or scissors.
Step 7: Glue the Design to the Base
I used the "foam glue" but again, any white PVA glue like Elmer's should work. Use a toothpick to apply a thin layer of glue to the design and place it on the base. Tweezers might come in handy if you have very small elements of your design to place. DON'T FORGET IT HAS TO BE BACKWARDS!
Step 8: Clamp Again
Clamp the stamp again with an extra wood shape to set the glue. An hour is good, and you can clean up your mess while you wait for the glue to set. Don't clamp it too hard, or the glue will squeeze out from between the thin foam and the thick foam, and your design will end up glued to the extra wood shape instead of staying on your stamp. Also, you could end up with an uneven surface of your design, if the edges of the thin foam get attached to the base in some places but not others.
Step 9: Use Your New Stamp!
Once the glue is set, you can use your stamp! I will be using this one to award 5 points on completed homework assignments from my students!