I’m not 100% sure what to call this. They are stamp-like but this process is a bit like printmaking. You decide.
We have a nearby grocery store that sells their less than perfect produce in lots. The produce sits on a foam dish and is wrapped in plastic – much like meat is. These were perfect for saving because they were barely used and clean. You can choose to use the foam from meat if you wash it well and let it sit in the open air to kill any germs. I am a germaphobe so that will never work for me (and if I could avoid buying meat on foam all together my life would be perfect).
I had two pieces of foam. I cut up the first one before I thought about saving this to share. The easiest way to cut the foam is to make a sheet by cutting off the rounded edges. My first one, I used scissors and cut each end off. For the second, I used my exacto knife and cut a flat rectangle out. Either way works. I found using the exacto knife was a little less squeaky and went faster.
Once I had my piece, I squared it up to make it easier to cut it into the size I wanted. My first piece, I cut 3 ATC sized pieces. The other I left whole. I really had no idea of what I wanted to do except that I wanted to play. I only carved the 3 ATC sized pieces so there may be a part 2 to this post coming in the future.
Because I had nothing in mind for this, I googled flower outlines and selected 4 that I liked. I knew I only had 3 pieces to carve but I wanted option in case I discovered this was more difficult than I expected it to be. I will say, simple is better than complicated.
To transfer the design, I taped the paper to the foam and used a fairly sharp pencil to draw along the lines.
I had selected a variety of tools to carve with but I found that the pencil worked the best.
Here is the first one after I was finished with adding the design. The foam does resist some of the lines so nothing you draw will be perfect which is why simple designs are so much better.
My three finished pieces.
I could have used a brayer as one would for printmaking but I didn’t want to have to hunt for my brayer. And it’s never been used for paint so I wasn’t excited to get it dirty. Since the “stamps” are small, I opted for a palate knife in the beginning.
I used the knife to apply paint to the foam.
And stamped. I discovered that my paint dried a lot faster than I expected it to. My first stamping resulted in the paper sticking to the foam.
So I got some water and a paintbrush. The water helped and I soon discovered that I could easily paint on the color. It did get some paint in the carved areas and I was worried that it would be so wet that it would obscure my image but that wasn’t a problem.
The two dark blue images in the center – I actually painted the finished image. The paint doesn’t transfer as dark as I wanted (and the stamp ended up with a dent at the bottom of the stem) so I added more. I liked the end result.
This is fun and I’m thinking that my next set of ATC’s may be printed this way – at least the background. I think this would be fun to do with kids – they can make their own prints or stamps. I’m thinking that to use these for stamping, I should create some sort of handle to make them easier to remove from the paper.