Thursday, November 1, 2007

DEMO: Moldable Foam Stamps

I decided to participate in NaBloPoMo 2007 - it's not a new Polish Dance Craze, nor is it a traditional Italian noodle dish. Heck, it's not even a neighborhood in New York. No, it's just my comittment to post on this here blog once a day during the month of November.

It is possible that I will end up resorting to recitations of what I ate during the day, but I am starting with a bang - my first on-line DEMO! A NaBloPoMo Demo! I'll also be putting these up on the website - part of a diabolical long-term plan to offer ideas for quick and easy Creativity Breaks at the rate of one a month.

We'll see.

But now, you get a DEMO! of my new favorite thing - moldable foam. I am making stamps out of anything that doesn't move. Actually, the keyboard might make for a cool effect . . .

1. Start with some Moldable Foam! 3" x 4" of foam. I get mine locally at Collage on Alberta (they sell them singly for $1.00 each , or in packs of 8 for, well, $8). If you're not local, good luck finding them on the manufacturer's website ( or googling Magic Stamp Moldable Foam Stamps.

2. Arrange the items you want to use to make an impression with - here, it's clothespins.
3. Heat the foam with an embossing tool for 30 seconds - keep it moving. And yes, it needs to be something hotter than a hairdryer - sorry!

4. Press the foam firmly into the texture objects for 15 seconds. Release! The impression will stay in the foam until the foam is reheated. Reheat the foam, and the impressions are *mostly* erased. And you can use both sides of the foam . . . yes, you can buy one foamie, make two stamps, then erase and start all over again!!!

5. Ink your stamp. I used a rubber brayer and a water-based printing ink, but use your imagination! Experiment! Basically, you just don't want the ink to dry on the stamp - you can probably use stamp pad ink or fabric paints with some kind of extender . . . you get the idea. (Note: I later used fabric paints . . . I found that it was easier to ink the foam with a foam brayer because the consistency of the fabric paint was different. Still got cool prints!)

6. Print! Just press the inked surface into the paper or fabric using firm, even pressure. Here, I printed on smooth Bristol Board. Very nice impression.

You can make a stamp from almost anything . . . Buttons

Rubber Bands

Even Corn Cobs! In fact, once you get started, it's hard to identify something that WOULDN'T make a cool stamp.

Here are some sample prints that I turned into ATCs. Still very attached to these today, but will be ready to trade some soon, I'm sure! (The ATCs shown above also include homemade stamps made from Friendly Foam glued to bits of acrylic board, an idea I got from Wendy Huhn.)


Ann Marie said...

Very cool! I've seen this stuff on Polymer Clay Express, but didn't realize it was re-usable (so much for my rants about people who don't read). Once it takes the impression, is it tough enough to withstand some pressure? And the edges look nice and sharp - do you think they would hold at a pretty small scale?

Bridget said...

Yes - it holds up. I've used and washed mine several times now, and have done 10 prints or so without seeing any degradation in print quality . . . I'm also washing them in cold water to make sure they hold up.

gl. said...

oh, snifty! some of those look like photocopies of objects because they have shading, not just black and white. i LOVE that these are reusable. can you cut the stamp to make something smaller?

it looks like everything you make will be a reverse, though.

Bridget said...

Yeah - the foam is soft enough that you get more than just black/white - you get some shading . . . I haven't tried cutting the foamies down, but I'm sure you could - though it would probably be easiest with a hot knife.

And yes, it will all reverse . . . making the lettering thing tough!

Bridget said...

Ahh . . .Ann - when you said "small scale" did you mean, "small details" or "small number of reproductions?" I answered the latter question - as for the former, I got some pretty good detail from small objects . . .

Ann Marie said...

Well, both, now that you mention it. I was talking about detail, but I'd be doing small fabric runs, so that's an issue too. I've already ordered some of these to play with!

Bridget said...

Ah! In terms of small details - you can look at the ATC's - each of those is only 2.5" x 3.5" big, and the edges are reasonably crisp - depending on how you ink and stamp. For really super crisp edges, you probably want to actually carve something like a Mastercarve block.

mel m. m. mccarthy said...

Amazing! Thank you so much for sharing it! :0)