Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Sponge Stamps How To and Washi Tape

I've been wanting to make some sponge stamps and finally made them a few days ago. Now I'm going to show you how to make them as well. These stamps are fun and so affordable to make. I got my cheap cellulose sponges at my local dollar store. I ended up buying 5 packs of sponges at $1.00 a piece so the total price for these stamps is $5.00 (assuming you already have the other supplies on hand) and I had extra sponges (more to make shape stamps with!). Not too bad for crafting supplies! In this economy, one has to be creative!

Here are my dollar sponges. 4 came in a pack so I ended up with 20 sponges to play with. The first step is to gather the needed supplies:

1. Sponges (got those covered!), 16 would be plenty of sponges to do an alpha with
2. A die cut Alphabet or you can freehand it
3. An ultra-fine tip Sharpie to trace the letters with
4. Scissors and/or a craft knife

The first thing I did was open the sponges up and let them dry for an hour or two, just so some of the moisture contained in the package dispersed a little. Next, I figured out what size I wanted my alpha on these stamps to be. I made them as large as the sponge would permit and for me that was about 2.5 inches in height and however wide, depending on the letter. I cut out a simple block alpha in all caps on my cricut. Of course, you don't have to use an electronic die cutter, you could also use a large chipboard alpha or just freehand it. Remember, these don't have to be perfect, that's the whole charm of using sponge stamps!

On a side note, the really cool part about die cutting my letters was that I ended up with a really cool alpha mask that I could mist with for other papercrafting projects. Waste not, right?

My next step was to trace my letters onto my sponges. I was able to get two to three letters on each sponge. If you wanted to, you could always make jumbo stamps with one letter per sponge (with the sponge upright), it would just cost a little more.

Once I traced everything, I was able to cut the majority of my letters out with a pair of scissors. I saved the insides and some of the more curved letters to use with my craft knife. The sharp edged letters like M, N, I, H, etc. were much easier to cut than the curved letters but with some finessing, it still worked out well.

 I treated each part of the curve like a sharp edge, if that makes sense. Lots of straight lines one after the other can make cutting around curves much easier. Take care when cutting out the centers, they can be tricky. Letting the foam dry out a little more before getting out your craft knife will help alot, the stiffer the better.

So here are my final stamps. Voila! Remember that these do not have to be perfect. They are your creation and just think of all of the cool scrapbook layouts, cards, etc you can make with these. I already have plans for mine. These took me about 3 hours to make and cost $5.00! Heck Yeah! Now, I'll show you some of the media you can use with them and how they will look.

The black brackets are stamped in regular black dye ink you would use with any stamp. Love that sponge texture shining through! By the way, I made those brackets with one of my extra sponges. The white letters were stamped with some acrylic paint I had leftover from art school. This is where you get that awesome blobby, more solid letter look. The L's in the middle were stamped using mist. This one was tricky, my hands got so messy but the end texture turned out cool, nonetheless. I probably won't be using the mist too often with these but the ink and paint will be great! Feel free to experiment with other materials and let me know how it goes!

On to Washi Tape:

This is a review of the washi tape I just ordered. Now, I used this type of tape all throughout art school for any painting I did, the plain washi tape that is. It is great in place of masking tape for your edges because it is so gentle on the paper , no more torn edges! (so great on watercolor paper). Anyway, I wanted to get some of the patterned washi tape for my scrapbooking, cards and paper crafts so I searched online and found a great retailer. Great prices, great bundle options and really great to deal with.

Here they are, my little beauties. I purchased from My package came quickly in a bubble envelope and the tape itself was wrapped and padded with great care (and with a nice note on my invoice) with, you guessed it, more washi tape. This just made me want to buy more colors and patterns but I have to restrain myself. I do love these basic grid patterns (in blue, brown and green) I got though. Such a cool trend in papercrafting! I will definitely purchase more washi tape from Cute Tape. I can't wait to get playing with these, I'll post when I have done some projects with this awesome product.

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