How to Make a Hand Carved Name Stamp

by Wendy Copley on April 25, 2012

Hand Carved Name Stamp

When I was a little girl there were very few things that frustrated me more than the racks of little license plates with names on them that are found in the gift shops of touristy destinations. I wanted an awesome license plate fastened to the back of my bike that told the world my name was Wendy more than just about anything. Were there any to be had?

No. No there were not.

Wendy was not a terribly weird name for a little girl in the 70’s, but apparently it was just  strange enough that it usually didn’t make the cut for personalized items. The harder it was to come by customized mugs, pencils and magnets, the more I wanted them. It became something of a family quest to find them but they were rare as hen’s teeth. My anguish was real.

So what did I do when I became a mother? I gave my children even rarer names than my own. While I sometimes came across a Wendy item at a truck stop in Georgia or Nebraska, my poor children — Wyatt and Augie — will likely never be able to buy something with their own name on it off the rack.

To assuage my guilt, I decided to make them their very own name stamps. They’re not terribly fancy, but they’re fun and the kids love them. Here’s how I did it:

Hand Carved Name Stamp- Tools

I started by gathering my materials:

Hand Carved Name Stamp

Begin by cutting a piece of paper just slightly smaller than the width of your carving block.

Hand Carved Name Stamp

Write the word you want to you on your piece of paper, centering it as well as you can. Go over the text with your pencil a couple times so that there’s a relatively thick layer of graphite on the paper.

Hand Carved Name Stamp

Turn the paper over and put the word you’ve drawn face down on the carving block. You will probably be able to see your word through the back of the paper so you can put the image where you want it on the block. Rub your fingernail across the back of the paper a few times to transfer the image to the block.

Hand Carved Name Stamp

When you pull up the paper you’ll be able to see your word written in reverse. This will be your carving guide.

Hand Carved Name Stamp

Insert the smallest carving blade (pictured at the top) into the handle.

Hand Carved Name Stamp

Use the blade to carve out the word you’ve drawn on the block. If you’ve never used a carving tool before, it’s crazy simple. Don’t be intimidated to try it at all. Basically, you put the pointed tip down parallel to the carving block and then gently push it away from you. The blades are sharp so you can use a light hand. They’ll easily glide through the block. Carve out the entire area covered by the pencil. I found it was sized perfectly so I only needed to do one pass with the small blade.

Hand Carved Name Stamp

After you’ve carved your work, draw an oval around it. This will be the edge of the stamp.

Hand Carved Name Stamp

Fit the deep V-shaped blade into the handle.

Hand Carved Name Stamp

Carve a groove around your word following the line you just drew. As you go around the curves go slowly and turn the block so the tool follows the curve rather than rotating the carving tool itself. You’ll have a lot more control that way and your tool will move more smoothly.

Hand Carved Name Stamp

Next, fit the wide square blade into the handle.

Hand Carved Name Stamp

Use this tool to remove some of the extra block around the outside of the oval. This will give you a little breathing room when you cut the edges off the block in the next step.

Hand Carved Name Stamp

Now cut all of the block that isn’t part of your image off. Be careful to cut straight down. Don’t cut any of the block under the image away or your stamp will be unstable.

Hand Carved Name Stamp

Finally, ink up your stamp and test it out on a piece of paper. Often you’ll be able to see little imperfections that weren’t apparent just by looking at the block. Clean up your stamp by carving away any extra bits with the small blade. Be careful not to get too carried away though. I’ve ruined a few stamps by getting a little overzealous “cleaning” them.

If you look at the image above, you can see a few subtle corrections. The bottom stamp was my first test. I wasn’t happy with the “M” so I decided to clean it up a little. You can see in the middle stamp that I introduced a little line on the bottom left side of the letter. The top was my final version after I fixed that.

Have you ever carved your own stamps? Do you think you’d like to give it a try?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

  • I have tried making stamps and I am so bad at it! I wanted desperately to make an autism awareness letterbox and tried to carve a puzzle piece shaped stamp with a heart in the middle. Total failure. 

  • CristiMessersmith

    I know just how you felt! There were plenty of Kristy stamps & stickers etc, but never any Cristi !

  • Gwen

    Oh I know exactly how it felt to not find anything personalized, and the more difficult it was the more we wanted it!!  Love this idea!  Gwen (another name not to be found on the rack!)

  •  Gwen, is your full name Gwendolyn? My full name is Wendolyn (no “G”) so I feel like we’re no-personalization soul sisters!

  •  I think names with lots of variations are really hard because the chances they’ll have *your* variation is so slim. I think those personalized items were thought up by a Jennifer or a Michael!!

  • Love this idea Wendy.
    Kym (yes, another name not found on personalised items)

  • polymathamy

    What kind of ink do you recommend, Wendy?

  •  Pretty much any stamping ink will work great. I like Colorbox inks a lot and just about every kind of ink that Tsukeniko makes too.

  • Sibel

    My parents named me Sibel, which led to a life of people not being able to pronounce my name at all, and I definitely could never find my name on any of this kind of stuff. It was especially a bummer because my brother is named Adam, which was everywhere, and he never even wanted any of it!

  • Inubaka07

    Having a name like yours is nothing try having my name and you can never find any thing with it (except maybe the initial) but never the whole name.  My name is Eileen by the way.

  • Pingback: Letterboxing II & H20 & IcePlay 8/23 « Mudpies & Butterflies()

  • Jessica

    I saw this and had to laugh, Jessica was always sold out and I would see the cardboard out of stock Jessica’s! I guess we can’t win. I will be making some of these, what a neat idea.

  • Pingback: [BLOCKED BY STBV] The Week in Bentos: August 19-23, 2013 | Wendolonia()

Previous post:

Next post: