Whether you're an Etsy seller or just send a lot of packages to loved ones, using a handmade stamp to encourage recycling is a great way to let your recipients know that you care about being earth-friendly.
Step 1. You can create your own message from scratch, or I have made 3 designs that you can print out and use as a template. Choose the one you like the best!
Step 2. Fill in the letters using a pencil (soft graphite works well, but any pencil will do)
Step 3. Create a rubbing of your text onto a sheet of linocut (found at most art supply stores), or an eraser can work as well. With a smooth hard object, put your text against the carving surface and rub the backside of the paper. Hold the paper tight so that it doesn't slide around, and make sure you rub behind the whole surface of the drawing to get all the details.
Step 4. Turn over your sheet and see that your drawing has been magically transferred!
Step 5. The carving tools you need can also be found at an art supply store. The ones shown here are Speedball carvers, and have different sized attachments.
Step 6. Carefully carve around your letters, making sure not to cut inside the transfer area.
Step 7. The space that you do not cut will become the area that holds the ink.
Step 8. Ink your stamp and test it out to make sure you didn't miss any spaces between the letters. Press firmly and evenly over the whole area of the stamp. For easier application, attach your stamp to a scrap of mat board with superglue.
Step 9. Use your new stamp on all your boxes and packages, and give them a few minutes to dry so that the wet stamp doesn't smudge against other mail.
It might help to know that words with straight lines are easier to carve than curvy letters, so if you're feeling frustrated start with something straight and simple. And remember, hand carved stamps are unique and charming, so don't concern yourself with creating a perfect stamp. Your friends and customers won't be able to resist reusing a package with such a simple, sweet message!
By Eliza Wheeler, from www.WheelerStudio.etsy.com