Carve a jumbo foam stamp

5Here is a large foam stamp I carved last year.  This vintage snowmobile has now been printed many times on tee shirts belonging to my boys and several of their friends.  Here it is on the front of an unfinished pair of boxers.  Once you have a great stamp like this carved, you’ll want to use it again and again.

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1/4″ craft foam, preferably white

Exacto knife

Wet stone to sharpen the knife, or new blades

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Recently one of the kids requested a “Fruit of the Spirit” shirt and I figured that was something others might like, so I made a stamp for it.  Here is my sketch.  I designed it with a different font for each characteristic. This is NOT and easy design, and something much simpler would be better to start with.  And, of course, words need to be done in reverse.  Don’t forget that!!  You can reverse your design using a copy machine.

Your design should be gently drawn or traced on the foam, a heavy pencil mark will show up on the finished stamp.  Since I only had black foam on hand, I painted the surface white so I could see my design, it is mostly washed off here.  White foam is much easier to work with!

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You will cut along the edge of your design straight down, then cut in at an angle to remove the part you don’t want printed.

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Sharpen (or replace) your bade frequently, the foam seems to dull it quickly, and trying to cut with a dull blade is miserable!

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Here it is finished.

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The three shirts I’ve printed so far.  The dark brown with white is the best, with greater contrast between shirt and paint color.  The multicolor was printed in white, then using the white as a base coat, the different words were over painted in different colors.

To print-


You need some fabric paint and a brayer.  I roll the paint out on a piece of wax paper with water sprinkled under it to keep it from sliding on the table.  I’m mixing black and red for burgundy, leaving it a little mottled.  Make sure you use plenty of paint; it’s best to do a practice print on a similar scrap to help you judge how thick you should put the paint on.

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Position the stamp and firmly press down all over.  Lift off the stamp and quickly wash out the paint under running water, scrubbing gently with a scrub brush.

That’s it!  The carving is a bit of a process, but having great stamps of your own design on hand is quite nice.  You can print cards or other paper as well as tee shirts or clothing in just minutes.


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