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Whoopee, today we're going to carve rubber stamps. It's actually a lot of fun, so here we go. First of all, we get the keen little sheets of speed ball. It has in it, oh I'll open it up so you can see what is in it. It has, a wonderful instruction book, it has lots and lots of really excellent ideas of how to get your imagery which is sometimes the stumbling block. It has a little piece of tracing paper, you'd think they could have afforded two, but there's one in there, it's the same size as the block. And you just put it over something, let's say I wanted to do Curty I could put this over his face and trace him and then I could actually cut it. And it has a piece of rubber to carve. So I have here an extra one because you can also buy them independently because the one tool really is plenty to, you can carve and carve and carve so you need the extra things. Here are the two tips, I'm sure you can't see it, but this one is U shaped, and this one is V shaped. The U one makes lines, and the V one is more of a gouger to take our big areas because you don't want to spend forever with the little one. So now I'm going to put this sucker on, there we go. It's a little sharp so be careful, it's definitely not for little kids. So here we go, it's nice and tight now, so I have my tools and I have my book which I'll pretend I've read. I'll put my tracing paper away, and I have a piece over here that I, this is what it looks like, and I've cut it into four pieces. I've actually divided it into four pieces, I've only cut one square out. And you can see that that one square is a very large potential stamp, and I drew on a Christmas tree, you know, pretty lame, but it's okay, we'll pretend I'm creative. So now I'm going to take my gouging tool and I'm going to gouge out the background because the background has to be removed. Everything that prints is high, everything that doesn’t print is low. And we're going to take the back out, and you see I'm just scooping it out like this and what you don't want to do is cut all the way through. It takes a bit of energy to do this. I'm just using my lines and I am oops, slowly making the shape. Now here I am, I want to clean up this whole area because none of that is going to show. I could have done a smaller stamp, it would have been a lot faster. I never think ahead. So now I'm going to go to the other side, and you may notice that instead of always moving my tool, sometimes I move my rubber because that helps. So here I'm going to go like this, and you see I'm holding my tool fairly steady, but I'm moving the rubber, that section I have clean up.

And I presume now that Brian will speed up the camera so that what you see is just me working. And you won't pay any attention to how long it really takes. It probably takes 10 or 15 minutes, maybe even a half an hour on an intricate stamp. This one is not. So now I'm going to change the tip of the tool because I need to do a slightly, ouch, a slightly deeper line, and finer. So I have to figure out to get this thing off without cutting myself, and I see the very device I want, perfect. And now I put this one in. And I'm going to make some more delicate lines in there. One of the tricks that I have from my old printmaking days is that if you use your brayer and ink this pad up before you finish, you can start to see what your image looks like and you can make corrections. So I'm going to stop doing some of this now, and use a brayer and ink it up, not because I think it's done, but because I think it's time. And by the way, you may have noticed me cutting, you don't need to trim out everything, I mean gouge out everything, you can just trim off big sections, there's no rule that says you can't. As a matter of fact when you look at regular rubber stamps you'll notice how cut they are. So I'm just making my life a little easier by taking out some of these sections. So now I have enough done to get an idea of how my stamp looks. So here is my stamp pad, and here is my brayer, and this also has a wonderful little book of hints with it, but then this is what the brayer looks like. It's just a really nice quality, this is also speedball. And I'm just going to ink it up, I only need to do the middle right now, that's good enough, and I want to use something underneath it, so here's just a board. And I'm just going to use the brayer to ink up my image and now I can see what needs to be done. And if you look at this carefully, you can see a few high spots that need to be removed, and all the interesting things inside the tree haven't been carved out yet. And that's what I want some of this deep tool for. Now I want to take off some of the ink because I don't want to get it all over my hands, I want it to be just enough so I can see what I'm doing. And I'm just going to put some nice fine lines in here, and I can see my little light pencil lines which really don't have a lot of value, but it helps to have some sort of direction rather than just making it completely free form. And you see again that I am very carefully moving the block as well. And I think it'd be also smart that if you notice I'm gouging away from me. The trick is that if you don't gouge away from yourself you will gouge your hand at some point so that's why I'm doing it that way. These are just the little fine lines that are sort of going to define it as an evergreen. And I'm noticing that there are some high spots here, and I want to get rid of them, and this is kind of a high spot, I could also get rid of that with my scissors which is clearly a lot faster. A tiny high spot there, you know, if your tool isn’t sharp you won’t get a nice crisp line. Make sure your tool is sharp, some people swear by putting their rubber in the freezer because it gives them a slightly harder surface to work on. Now I want to proof it again because I print it, one more little spot right there. So now I'm going to again roll this, I'm going to use a dark color to print with rather than this light color, but this light color will help you proof it. Now I don't know if you can zoom in on that, probably not, but there's a few little errors, or areas I didn't get to. And other than that it's pretty good. And you'll notice that there is sort of crudeness to this, and if you're going to carve stamps you'd better like that look because that's the best part about it, you're not going to get something that looks like an eighteenth century woodcut, you're going to get something that looks like a woodcut that's gutsy and strong. And so now I'm going to clean up this mess and I'm going to show you how to print it.

So here is my little cute Christmas tree, and here is what I'm going to stamp it on. I have this color that I proofed it with, with the brayer, and now I'm going to, I think change to this color, this color is called Platinum and it's really a pretty color. It's sort of metallic and I'm going just do it with the edge of the stamp pad. I'm so used to doing that, but it doesn't have to be, the brayer is so sophisticated, it does probably the most perfect layer of color that you can get. So then you just roll it over like this. Now you might wonder why there is no stamp pad, no block for the stamp, well it's because it doesn't come in this kit, it comes in other kits, but you can put it on anything. Just put tape on it and you can put it on anything. I'm just going to at this point center it just like this and now let's see how it looks, I hate these moments. I hope I have enough ink on it. It's great! See all those little edges that printed? I don't know what to say about that, it's so the mark of a hand carved stamps that I almost suggest you leave them on, but it will take me two seconds to clean them up, but I'm going to leave them on.

Let me show you another trick, I'm going to put some red Christmas balls on this and rather than use a stamp I'm just going to do that. Isn't it wonderful? Life is great! I just love a little creativity on the home front. So there's my wonderfully fun hand carved stamp. Do Something Creative Every Day! And hand carving is really fun, and a lot easier than you think.