Friday, June 15, 2007

Garden Kneelers for Stamping

I mentioned previously that I had found garden kneelers at Taget for a dollar and how they could be used for making homemade rubber stamps. The other day I decided to put theory into practice. The method I had been told about was to use a heat gun to warm up a piece of the kneeler and then press it onto something you would like to make into a stamp. I could not find my heat gun (no big surprise there when I have only used it once in the two years I have owned one) so I decided to try out other things to turn the kneelers into stamps.

First I tried carving with an Exacto knife. I quickly discovered that I am not a carver of any skill what so ever. Since the original method used heat I got out my Versa Tool to see if I could be more successful. Here are the results:

The first stamp was from my Exacto knife experiment. The second stamp is from using the stencil cutting tip and wood burning tip on the Versa Tool. The third image used the cutting blade form the Versa Tool. The pictures seem a little small but I think you get the idea. I have trouble drawing in reverse - that is the outlines should be raised so the background can be removed. I used a pigment ink pad for the ink and 24 hours later the stamps were still damp with the ink.

Here are some other examples. The top stamp used the circle within a circle tip. When using It I discovered that no matter how much fun it is to stamp the kneeler rapidly, a little more care is needed to provide clear impressions. The second stamp used a circular tip... which I think was originally for heat transfers. The third image used the cutting blade again and I think it was the most successful. These stamps could be used with fabric paints to embellish fabric, burn velvet and stamp a variety of paper based products.

The Versa Tool is pretty cool though and I expect I will have fun figuring out other uses of it as I am not a rubber stamp maker. It now comes in four different configurations and heat levels. Mine is somewhat old in that only one heat level was available but I think this experiment opens a lot of doors. The only caution I have for you is that the tip is working at 950 degrees Farenheit and significant ventilation is needed when working with it. I used it with a large heat resistant cutting board below the materials I was working on and put the whole thing on top of the stove under the ventilation fan, which I ran on high while working. Surprisingly, to me at least, no foul smells were generated while heating the kneeler material.

BTW - here is a picture of the kneeler I started out with and used only about 3 inches of one end in these experiments. I also used both sides of the pieces - two stamps in one!

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