Hand-Carved Stamps Tutorial - Transferring and Carving Your Design

Saturday, February 14, 2015

I've a hand-carved stamp tutorial for you today, showing you how to transfer a design to a block and how to carve a design. So, let's get started. Above are the main materials I use, Speedball Speedy-Cut carving block, lino cutting tools and a scalpel. You'll also need a pencil (2B or 3B), a bone folder, paper and a design.

Sketch or trace your chosen design onto paper or layout paper if you have some. I use a slightly darker pencil 2B or 3B so the design transfers clearly. Place you design face down on the block, remember the design will always be in reverse on the block so it's the right way around when stamped.

Holding the design firmly in place, use a bone folder or similar tool and rub across the back of the design, making sure you rub every part of the design firmly but without tearing the paper!

Still holding the design in place, check one side of the design to see if it has all transferred to the block, if any parts have been missed rub it again.

Once you're happy with the transfer, remove the sheet and you can begin carving. I usually start with the outlines and largest areas first.

Using the lino cutting tool carve slowly and smoothly around the outlines. Basically you're carving everything apart from the pencil lines. When holding the tool, don't dig into the block too much, the tip of the tool should almost be parallel to the block, as shown below.

At this point I would usually cut away any excess parts of the block from the outside of the stamp with a sharp craft knife. You can keep these bits to make other small stamps.

Next I would carve out some of the finer details, in this case around the lettering. If there are any lines that meet at a point, like here in the letter 'V' I would use a scalpel to cut these parts away. First I would cut straight into the block, then carefully carve out these pieces using the scalpel at an angle. Please be careful when using the scalpel, keep your fingers out of the way, that goes for the lino tools tool, always carve away from you.

The scalpel will allow you to achieve much greater detail and finer lines. A must for sharp corners and lettering in particular! Once you've finished carving your stamp, you can ink it up and do some test prints. You'll soon see if you've missed any bits and you can go back and carve these little bits out. The coloured ink on the block makes it much easier to see everything too! I find Memento Luxe inks which are pigment inks work well with the Speedball Speedy-Cut carving blocks.

You'll see how I used my stamp in my next post! I hope you learned something from the tutorial.  Happy Valentine's Day and enjoy the weekend! Thanks for dropping by.


  1. Wow great card Clare, how clever are you making your own stamp!

    Vicki x

  2. thanks Vicki! really appreciate the comment. : )


I really appreciate your comments, thanks!

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.