WARNING: Major Spoiler for certain young family members (who probably don’t read my blog anyway, but just in case, NO PEEKING!)
This is an early Christmas gift in case you want to use the idea. I’ve been using my foam plates for some pretty elaborate fine art projects, but I realized that they make GREAT do-it-yourself stamps, especially for kids. Unlike wood and linoleum, there is no need for carving tools. A ball point pen is all you need, as long as a parent is around to cut the initial shape, or cut out the shape after the pen work is done.
Pictured here is everything you need (click on the image for an enlargement).
Here are the steps.
Cut the foam tray into smaller bits (you can refine the cut later).
Draw with the ball point pen onto the foam, see my flower stamps. It’s that easy. I draw the entire stamp first, and then cut into the ball point pen outline. This gives you a smooth rounded edge on the impression (foam cuts have some ragged edges, that won’t show up if they are squished down with the pen).
Flip your foam over, and stick a pinched piece of masking tape on the back. This gives you a handle for stamping. I also label with pen at this stage, and add a ‘this way up’ arrow if that’s important (see the ‘K’ foam stamp in the middle).
Now you can stamp away. Soft spongy craft store stamp kits work best. Hard ‘office type’ fabric pads don’t work well at all as your stamp is too soft press hard.
For Letters and text, there is an extra step unless you can write backwards in a pleasing way. I design my letters on tracing paper with a soft pencil, then I flip the tracing paper over the foam plate, then gently with the soft part of my finger, rub the back of the tracing paper. This should transfer the graphite pencil onto the back of the foam without inscribing the foam.
Then I inscribe with ball-point pen all around the transferred letter, but NOT on the transferred pencil letter itself. This gives you a positive letter image. You could instead flip the tracing paper onto the foam, and then inscribe the lettered part with your pen. In that case, the foam plate will show a negative image, which is also just fine. The lettering will appear white (or whatever colour your paper is) and the shape of your stamp will be the colour of your ink.
Now stamp away!