DIY craft foam stamps

DIY craft foam stamps

I drew the design onto a thin sheet of craft foam, using a pink Sharpie marker. Then, using a combination of scalpel (X-acto knife) and small, sharp scissors, I cut the design out. Patience and very sharp new blades made this part easier. Floating bits, like the flowers inside the paisley shapes, weren’t a problem, because all the loose elements got glued to a rigid base, later on.

homemade foam stamps

I cut a piece of MDF to size, sprayed it with a permanent adhesive (90 High Strength Adhesive, by 3M, in this case) and stuck the foam shapes down. I let the adhesive dry for a couple of hours, and by then I was dying to use my new stamp…

For printing with foam, I like to brush acrylic paints (plus a few drops of retarder, but hardly any water…a damp brush is pretty much all the water that gets into the paint) onto a second piece of foam (I’ve got thicker foam for this…I use those smooth foam camping or yoga mats) and press my stamp onto the paint. I check to make sure that the entire surface of the stamp has paint on it.

Then, because I am too impatient to prepare some nice surfaces for printing (typical!) I grab anything that looks printable—an unpainted hand-bound journal, a sheet of creamy writing paper, my messy personal journal—and stamp my new design around a few times, for some instant gratification and just to work it out of my system. I might play with the impressions afterwards: painting in different colors, outlining with pens, shading with colored pencils, whatever…

Now that I’ve had my ‘play time’ with the stamp, I can start thinking about better ways* to put it to use than just stamping everything in sight, like some demented ‘Cowboy X”. 🙂
MDF cannot be washed in the sink (it goes to hell), so when I want to clean my stamp, I moisten a rag and blot the stamp against this rag a few times, then use the rag to wipe around the sides of the stamp, until the foam looks clean.
* Foam stamps work very well on cotton fabrics, too (wash and iron fabric, first, okay?!) You can use regular acrylic paints if you don’t intend to wash the printed fabric. Otherwise, use fabric paints and heat-set according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

If you’ve got any questions about this post, fire away in the comments section, and I’ll try answer them as best I can. Have fun!