Hello Campers and Welcome to DIY Stamps!!

One of my passions is Letterboxing. Many of you will remember it from Camp last year! If not, here is a quick overview.

The Nuts and Bolts of Letterboxing:

You have a note book and your own signature stamp. Somewhere hidden (usually in a tupperwear container) is a notebook and stamp. (Get clues from http://www.atlasquest.org/ or http://www.letterboxing.org/ you’ll see there are Letterboxes hidden worldwide!) Once you find the letterbox: you stamp your personal stamp in the book you find and stamp the stamp you find in your book.

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And by far the best stamps are the ones that are handmade!

In this way Letterboxing is much more arts and crafty than traditional geocaching, it mixes hiking and a scavenger hunt with rubber stamp artistry AND it’s much easier than you may think!

IMPORTANT NOTE: This activity is not just for those who Letterbox. Making your own stamps can be used for any variety of crafts – ATC’s, scrap-booking, greeting cards, the list goes on!


For this activity I’m going to show you how to make two different types of stamps.

Things to keep in mind:

  1. You’re working with the mirror image. This gets tricky especially if you’re working with words.
  2. You’re working with negative space. What is not there is just as important as what is
  3. When planning an image to make into a stamp think of it in only two colors. The color of the ink, and the color of the paper.

These things STILL trip me up.


For the first stamp you will need: a bottle of puff paint and a base*.


*The base can be anything you want, as long as it’s flat and the paint adheres to it.

On your base draw what you would like. REMEMBER, draw the MIRROR IMAGE*! (In my example here it doesn’t much matter because either way it would look the same.)



Now trace the lines with the puff paint and let dry.


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(*see here our mirror image of CAMP)

I would suggest doing this several times to build up the ridges or the stamp will not come out right. You can always add more layers if it’s uneven in some places.


(you can see here where the ink is still on the paint not transferred to the paper).

Final Product!



This 2nd stamp is more of the traditional stamp you’re used to. It’s a little harder to make, BUT the results and detail are well worth the effort.

For this stamp you will need: An X-Acto Knife (craft caution: very sharp) and Rubber (I use “Speedball Speedy-Carve” however a rubber eraser will do, just be cautious with your knife as these tend to be firmer than craft rubber) I would consider myself a crafty person but much to my chagrin I am not an artist. I do not have an “eye” for things and can by no means draw. So with the magic of the internet and tracing paper I get by. So, if you’re like me you also need a stencil of some sort of what you want your stamp to be.


Trace outline (or freehand your design – I’m totally jealous if you can do this)


I always shade what I want to carve out to be the negative space so I don’t mess it up.


Carve out what you want with your knife.


Tweezers can help get out pesky pieces.

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Woo!! One for House Organa!


If you would like to become a serious stamp maker I highly suggest investing in a Speedball Lino Cutter. They’re less than 15$ and it makes everything SOO much easier. I find I can make more intricate detail with this tool then I do with the knife.

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This time I traced the design on tracing paper. I filled in everything I wanted to carve out with pencil. When I placed it on the rubber it is the correct mirror image and with the butt of scissors rubbed the tracing on to the rubber. The pencil easily transfers to the rubber.

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Then I carved out all the pencil marks with the Speedball cutter.
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Feel free to ask me questions about DIY stamps or letterboxing! I would love to see your creations! Post them on the forums, twitter, or instagram.